Sitting on an elementary school stage before dozens of educators, Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday signed into law a sweeping plan to overhaul how Texas funds public education, investing $11.5 billion to boost educator pay, expand access to full-day pre-K for students and slow the growth of crippling property tax bills for homeowners and businesses. While educators say they are pleased lawmakers prioritized education and worked to elevate the teaching profession, some are skeptical the changes will last. There is no money committed to pay for all those upgrades beyond 2021, when the state estimates that lawmakers will have to come up with more than $13 billion to keep them going. view article arw

Texas Governor Greg Abbott joined 3News at 6 p.m. Wednesday to discuss some of the issues lawmakers tackled during the 86th Texas Legislature. The group recently ended their 140 days of work by passing a number of measures including school safety and human trafficking laws. view article arw

Gov. Greg Abbott has signed into law one of lawmakers' biggest achievements this year, a massive overhaul of Texas' long-beleaguered school finance system.  Abbott put his signature on House Bill 3 during a triumphant ceremony Tuesday at Parmer Lane Elementary School in Austin. The governor was flanked by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, House Speaker Dennis Bonnen and several lawmakers involved in the effort."You could not overstate the magnitude of the law that I'm about to sign because this is a monumental moment in public education history in the state of Texas," Abbott said. "We did something that was considered to be highly improbable, and that is to be able to transform public education in the state of Texas without a court order forcing us to do so. view article arw

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has signed into law teacher raises and a sweeping overhaul of how the state pays to educate more than 5 million students in public schools. Abbott on Tuesday called it a “monumental moment” while signing the bill at an Austin elementary school. It comes near the end of an often rocky decade for Texas schools, which had absorbed steep budget cuts and saw the state’s school finance system declared flawed but constitutional in 2016. view article arw

The Texas Legislature did well by public school children this session, but a permanent — sustainable — fix is still needed. Decades of neglect cannot be corrected in one legislative session, but it was nonetheless encouraging that the Legislature established a base from which to build. view article arw

Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday signed into law the Legislature's prized school funding overhaul — but teachers and school staff standing by to celebrate the news said they still don't know what sized raise they should expect from the new law. "I can't overstate the magnitude of the law I'm about to sign," Abbott said at a bill signing ceremony at Parmer Lane Elementary School in Pflugerville ISD. "This one law does more to advance education in Texas than any law I've seen passed in my adult life in the state of Texas."  view article arw

Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill to create an annual week of education regarding the Holocaust in public schools across Texas. The bill was pushed by four San Antonio women and sponsored by state Sen. Jose Menendez. view article arw

On Tuesday morning, Governor Greg Abbott signed legislation to reform the public school finance system, reduce property taxes and pay teachers more. "This one law does more to advance education in Texas than any law I have seen in my lifetime in the State of Texas," Gov. Abbott said. The governor, lieutenant governor and Speaker of the House were joined by Democrat and Republican lawmakers, superintendents, teachers and stakeholders during the bill signing ceremony at the Parmer Lane Elementary School in Austin at 11 a.m.  view article arw

House Bill 3, as passed by the 86th Legislature, was signed into law today by Governor Abbott. Today you are receiving the first three implementation notices sent to districts. Over the next several months, the agency will be releasing more To the Administrator Addressed (TAA) correspondence with additional information, as it becomes available. All TAA correspondence will be posted to our website at tea.texas.gov/HB3. If you have any general inquiries on HB3 please email HB3info@tea.texas.gov. This letter is to inform you about the salary increases required under HB3. view article arw

House Bill 3, as passed by the 86th Legislature, was signed into law today by Governor Abbott. Today you are receiving the first three implementation notices sent to districts. Over the next several months, the agency will be releasing more To the Administrator Addressed (TAA) correspondence with additional information, as it becomes available. All TAA correspondence will be posted to our website at tea.texas.gov/HB3.  If you have any general inquiries on HB3 please email HB3info@tea.texas.gov. view article arw

Looking back at the most recent legislative session, State Rep. Chris Paddie, R-Marshall, says the major school finance and property tax reforms passed will have a real impact on Texans. “I’m happy to say we left this session checking the boxes on all the major things we said, the most significant and potentially most transformational (being) school finance reform,” Paddie said, noting that such efforts hadn’t been done in decades without a court order. view article arw

GRAYSON COUNTY, Texas Public education is getting a lot of attention at Greg Abbott's desk. The Texas governor is scheduled to sign House Bill 3on Tuesday, an $11.6 billion plan to reform school finance; $5.1 billion of that total is earmarked to lower school district taxes, with the remainder targeted to improve public education and provide teacher pay raises. "We're glad to see additional money for public schools," said Sherman Independent School District Assistant Superintendent Dr. Tyson Bennett. "The legislature has addressed some of the key areas that they talked about addressing when they first got started." view article arw

Texas District 14 State Rep. John Raney spoke recently before several dozen members and guests of the Bryan Rotary Club to deliver his reflections and analysis of the just-completed 86th legislative session. After weeks of deliberations and compromise, the Texas Legislature passed a nearly $251 billion two-year budget on the penultimate day of the session. The budget includes a 16% climb in spending, according to reporting from the Texas Tribune. view article arw

The conservative groups who made a feast of former House Speaker Joe Straus for 10 years have a new target: Straus successor Dennis Bonnen. When longtime U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy died in 2009, an irreverent Texas political consultant predicted the people who raise money for the two major political parties would miss the famous Massachusetts Democrat. Democrats loved him and touted him as a champion in their appeals, while Republicans hated him and touted him as a formidable opponent in theirs, the consultant said. “There goes the first paragraph of everyone’s fundraising letter.” view article arw

Occupied with reining in rising property taxes and overhauling the school finance system, state lawmakers left Austin last month without substantively addressing other long-standing issues: the high number of uninsured Texas residents and problems that still plague the child foster care system. Advocates were encouraged that bills addressing shortcomings in state social services, including those that would have expanded Medicaid, received public committee hearings at the beginning of the legislative session — something previous Legislatures had been loath to do. But dozens of bills — including those that would have extended Medicaid coverage for new mothers, prepared older teenagers to make the transition out of foster care, and instituted trauma-informed care across the child welfare system — died in large part because they carried hefty price tags. view article arw

Starting as early as the fall, Texas school districts will have access to more mental health resources and money to better secure schools. Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday signed into law three bills meant to address school safety, drafted in response to last year’s Santa Fe High School shooting that left 10 people dead. The bills would give districts about $10 per student to pay for safety measures. “Just over a year has passed since 10 innocent people were killed in a tragic shooting at Santa Fe High School. We can never erase the pain that this tragedy has caused, but we can act to make our schools safer,” Abbott said during a news conference before signing into law Senate Bill 11 and House Bills 18 and 1387. view article arw

State Sen. Bryan Hughes acknowledges disappointment that the recently ended legislative session didn’t tackle red-meat conservative topics, but he was delighted overall that lawmakers accomplished the trio of bipartisan goals they set for themselves when the 140-day session started. “It all got done,” the Mineola Republican told the Longview News-Journal editorial board this past week. view article arw

The tone of the 86th Legislative Session was very different from the 85th session. There is no doubt that elections have consequences and the voters were not happy with the issues that were made a priority in 2017. Our teacher groups were very active and engaged leading up to the 2018 elections, and their advocacy made a difference. We also had Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas Coast shortly after the 2017 session, causing major flooding from which many of our communities are still recovering. This brought us together and proved that we needed to be prepared for disasters in the future. We were then struck by another tragedy, the Santa Fe school shooting, which made us realize that we had safety challenges in our schools that had to be immediately addressed. view article arw

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The day before Woodrow Wilson High School’s graduating seniors received their diplomas, they received some startling news.  “Everybody’s asking, ‘What’s going on?’” recalls parent Jennifer Woods.  Woods’ daughter was ranked 38th in her class, putting her in the top 9 percent, but the district was suddenly recalculating its rankings. view article arw

Back in February, the Austin Independent School District gave preliminary approval for a major overhaul to its sexual education curriculum, formally called "Human Sexuality and Responsibility."  Long the subject of intense debate, the district held multiple public sessions over the course of a few years, and opted to implement the changes despite the pushback from worried parents and teachers.  "Do you want instructors whose personal values may be at odds with yours to encourage your kids to question what they've been taught at home, and in church?" asked former AISD teacher Caryl Ayala, who is also the co-founder of the group "Concerned Parents of Austin." view article arw

AUSTIN, Texas — With the 2019 Texas legislative session over, Governor Greg Abbott is focused on either approving or vetoing the bills sent to his desk.  A bill he vetoed Wednesday was Senate Bill 1804 (SB 1804).   It was a decision the Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) didn't expect.  "I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the disappointment," TCFV CEO Gloria Terry said. view article arw

A mini-documentary series chronicling the cast of characters passing bills in the Texas Capitol.  Members of the Texas House and Senate wasted little time touting the never-ending "kumbaya" feeling that enabled them to reform school finance and property taxes. For those who covered the Capitol, a substantive, successful session meant a "boring" one. view article arw

The bills would, among other things, strengthen mental health initiatives available to children, abolish the cap on how many school marshals can carry guns on public school campuses and allot money to school districts that can go toward “hardening” their campuses.Capping off a yearslong effort to prevent another school shooting like the Santa Fe High tragedy, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a series of bills into law Thursday that would, among other things, strengthen mental health initiatives available to children and allot money to school districts that can go toward “hardening” their campuses. view article arw

An attempt to raise the sales tax to pay for state leaders' ambitious goals failed, raising questions about long-term effects of the property tax limitations in the school finance bill.  2019 may have been the perfect year for lawmakers to pass an ambitious and expensive school finance reform and property tax reduction plan. Now Texas politicians face questions about whether doing so — without raising taxes elsewhere — will be sustainable in less auspicious times. view article arw

Amarillo ISD has released a copy of Renee McCown's resignation letter from the AISD Board of Trustees. As MyHighPlains.com first reported on Monday, an item was placed on the district's notice of a special meeting to accept a board resignation from McCown at the meeting scheduled for June 6. view article arw

Three years in the making, and with final approval scheduled for later this month, Austin ISD's revamped sex education curriculum suddenly finds itself on life support. That's because Senate Bill 22 cleared both the Texas Senate and the House of Representatives on the final weekend of the legislative session — and it's now sitting on Governor Greg Abbott's desk awaiting his signature.  view article arw

Several superintendents of Rio Grande Valley school districts are welcoming an increase in state funding as a result of school finance reforms adopted by the Texas Legislature, despite details not being fully fleshed out. House Bill 3, which has passed both chambers and awaits the governor’s signature, will increase the state’s allotment to local districts per student by about 20%, or $1,000, from $5,140 to $6,160. It also finances free full-day pre-K programs for 4-year-olds using state funds, which will lower property tax rates by about 8 cents per $100 valuation in 2020, and provides pay bumps for teachers and staff. view article arw

I write this in the wake of the recent 140-day biennial session of the Texas Legislature. Having had the honor of representing the 1st Senate District in the 71st Session — when the collapse of the price of oil had created record deficits and given rise to creation of the “rainy day fund” legislation I co-sponsored — I feel as though I can share a unique perspective upon the outcome of the session. There are several essential functions of state government: education, transportation and infrastructure, a health-care safety net and economic development. view article arw

The bustle in the Texas Capitol’s halls hasn’t completely subsided, but the business suits have been replaced by the shorts and T-shirts of summer tourists. Legislative season is mostly over. The political season is about to start. Gov. Greg Abbott has until Father’s Day — June 16 — to decide which bills to sign, which ones to veto and which ones will become law without his signature. He’ll go through the budget and scratch out the line items he doesn’t like. view article arw

Now that the 86th Texas legislative session has ended, public schools will see changes in how they are funded. House Bill 3 decreases property taxes in school districts and increases public funding to schools, according to the Texas Tribune. Specifically, teachers will see pay increases, schools will get more money per student and full-day prekindergarten will be funded for low-income families. view article arw

The 86th Texas Legislature gave Bell County a mixed bag of results. There were some wins — such as the measure allowing the Commissioners Court to appoint truancy judges. And there were some losses — with a groundwater study bill dying in the Texas Senate. With the Legislature out until 2021 — or until Gov. Greg Abbott calls a special session — here’s how some Bell County-related bills fared in the lawmaking process this year. view article arw

Monday was “sine die,” the last day of Texas’s 86th Legislative session — the finish line of the biennial, 140-day mad dash to do the people’s work. On behalf of the University of Texas System, we want to thank Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, House Speaker Dennis Bonnen and all the legislators who helped make the session such a success for public higher education. view article arw

On Monday, the 86th Legislative Session convened Sine Die, marking the end of another successful legislative session for Texas. The Legislature came together once again and passed integral legislation that will benefit all Texans, and help our State to continue to move forward with one of the strongest economies in the country. I am also grateful to Lt. Governor Patrick for entrusting me to serve as Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee for the fourth time. view article arw

The bustle in the Texas Capitol’s halls hasn’t completely subsided, but the business suits have been replaced by the shorts and T-shirts of summer tourists. Legislative season is mostly over. The political season is about to start. Gov. Greg Abbott has until Father’s Day — June 16 — to decide which bills to sign, which ones to veto and which ones will become law without his signature. He’ll go through the budget and scratch out the line items he doesn’t like. view article arw

Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to sign House Bill 3, an overhaul to the public school finance system, into law sometime in the coming days. House Bill 3 unanimously passed both the House and the Senate late Sunday night. It promises to generate an additional $11 billion for Texas schools, shift a greater burden for of the overall costs to the state and away from the individual districts and result in raises to many of the state’s teachers, counselors, librarians and school nurses. view article arw