Calling it a monumental moment in public education history, Gov. Greg Abbott signed $11.6 billion in measures this past week aimed at providing pay raises for teachers, while also lowering property taxes. The education bill – House Bill 3 – will increase per-student base reimbursements by approximately 20%, devoting funds for teacher pay raises and expanding access to full-day pre-K. “One of the biggest positive changes for HISD as a result of HB3 will be compensation increases for our employees,” HISD superintendent Scott Sheppard said. “We strive to reward employees financially for staying with the district and new funding from the state will make it easier for us to reward longevity in the district as well as increase every employee’s compensation for the coming school year.” view article arw

The Texas Legislature found an extra $11.5 billion for public education in the 2020-2021 budget, of which $5 billion will go to property tax relief. While this is good news for Texas schools and homeowners, it raises the question: Where will the money come from? The only way to describe the new budget is that lawmakers robbed Peter to pay Paul. They did nothing about the state’s revenue crisis (although they contemplated a $5 billion sales tax increase). And tax receipts from the state’s booming oil and gas business will not be as big as people think. According to Comptroller Glenn Hegar, total tax receipts will not increase much more than population plus inflation. view article arw

It will be a tough sell for Texas education commissioner Mike Morath to persuade the state Board of Education to update Texas’ sex education curriculum for the 21st century, but it’s good to see he’s trying. The board over the years has been so rooted in the past that it initially dismissed complaints about textbooks that described Mexicans as lazy and slaves from Africa as immigrant workers. That shouldn’t deter Morath; he’s doing the right thing. view article arw

Governor Greg Abbott signed off on several bills this week, and others, did not make the cut during the 86th Texas Legislature Session. So, who where the winners and losers in the 86th Texas Legislature? Many people say taxpayers won. view article arw

As the Legislature kicked off in January, the governor, lieutenant governor, and House speaker held a press conference outlining that school finance reform and property tax relief would be the top priorities of the session, and that they were all on the same page on how to accomplish both.  One good result of this united purpose was that it left little room for any consideration of major distractions that we’ve battled in the past like vouchers and bans on payroll deduction for dues–both non-issues this session.   view article arw

TEMPLE, Texas — House Bill 3, which, in part, increases teacher salaries, is now a law.  "It's to the tune of, depending on whose numbers you look at, it's either $10 billion or $11.5 billion or somewhere in between," Texas Rep. Hugh Shine said.  Belton Independent School District discussed the new law Monday at its monthly board meeting before planning to adopt the new budget and salary schedule in July. view article arw

The effects of the 86th Texas Legislative session remain to be seen as the governor signs and approves the bills. One of the most important, the budget, House Bill 1, was signed Saturday. It sets the state’s spending for the next two years. KCBD spoke to representative Dustin Burrows about what the $250 billion budget means for the South Plains. “This was a very significant investment in public education,” Burrows said. view article arw

Gov. Greg Abbott signed the state’s roughly $250 billion budget Saturday, bringing a session-long effort to address the Legislature’s top priorities — school funding and property taxes — to a close. A spokesman for Abbott confirmed that the governor signed the budget without issuing a single line-item veto, a mechanism that allows him to shrink the budget where he sees fit. The 2020-21 budget, which state lawmakers approved in May, includes a significant boost in spending compared with two years ago. Lawmakers had billions of dollars more to spend thanks to a positive economic forecast and revised revenue estimates from oil and natural gas production taxes. Total spending is up 16% from the budget the Legislature approved in 2017. view article arw

A new state law instructs public school districts and charter networks to teach about tolerance, genocide and the Holocaust at every grade level starting this year, through participation in an annual “Holocaust Remembrance Week.” Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 1828 on Tuesday, mandating “that schools shall include age appropriate instruction determined by the districts” for grades K-12. view article arw

Gov. Greg Abbott, in a break from past practice, signed lawmakers’ budget on Saturday without changing a thing. Though the Texas Constitution lets him selectively erase portions of spending bills, Abbott refrained from using his line-item veto. The Republican governor signed the $250.7 billion, two-year budget, defying some staunch conservatives such as Empower Texans’ Michael Quinn Sullivan who’ve called it bloated. view article arw

Gov. Greg Abbott issued 51 vetoes Saturday ahead of Sunday’s deadline, putting the kibosh on some popular bills that he thought well-intended but either unnecessary, intrusive or fraught with potentially unintended consequences. Among the bills Abbott vetoed: view article arw

Texas’ top political leaders wrapped the 2019 session of the Texas Legislature on Memorial Day with an air of accomplishment. They passed two major pieces of legislation that they had been working toward for years — a finance boost and a bill aimed at slowing the growth of property taxes. But there were some key failures too, most notably a sales tax increase that would have allowed lawmakers to lower property taxes even more.  view article arw

Lake Travis fares well with HB3

June 1708:40 AM

School districts such as Austin and Eanes could be facing budget shortfalls and limited staff compensation next school year following the approval of House Bill 3 earlier this month. But just up the road in Lake Travis, a different story is playing out. Boxes of files containing paperwork for new hires fill the offices of the district’s human resources department. The fast growing school district will open a new middle school campus in August, accounting for more than 30 new staff members, and plans to open a new elementary school in 2020. Under HB 3, adjustments to the recapture payment and a fast growth allotment will allow the Lake Travis school district to avoid a previously estimated $5 million deficit, consider a raise for all its employees and still finish with a balanced budget over the next five years, according to district officials. view article arw

On Tuesday, July 11, Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 684 (HB 684), Sam’s Law, which was authored by State Representative Travis Clardy. HB 684 honors the memory of Samantha Watkins, a Kilgore ISD student who passed away from complications of a seizure in December 2016. Sam's Law will ensure school district employees receive training and education about seizure recognition and first aid. “Sam's Law started off as a conversation between myself and constituent Shari Dudo last summer at a town hall meeting, and now we are in the Governor's office for a signing ceremony,” Rep. Clardy said. view article arw

As some Lubbock taxpayers deal with $24,000 increases to property appraisals, some Texas lawmakers are celebrating the Governor’s approval of a property tax reform bill passed in the 86th Legislative Session. Local property owners like Cheri Strait, Manager of Affordable Moving of Lubbock, welcomes the changes the bill brings. This year she’s seen a rental property appraisal increase from around $59,000 to around $83,000. “That’s a large amount,” Strait said. “We have several of [our properties] that have increased. That was probably the most.” view article arw

One of lawmakers' biggest achievements this year, House Bill 3, a massive overhaul of Texas' school finance system, was signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott, Tuesday, June 11. “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

The landmark school finance reform bill signed by Governor Greg Abbott on Tuesday has been hailed as a big win for public education, but preliminary budget estimates indicate mixed results for school districts in Uvalde County.  As a result, area superintendents are hesitant as they begin to decipher the outcomes. view article arw

We applaud Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, House Speaker Dennis Bonnen and the members of the Texas Legislature for delivering on their promise this session to enact comprehensive and transformative school finance reform. With the successful passage of House Bill 3, Texans should be proud of the finished product. Our state's public education system will see a surge of $6.5 billion directed toward data-driven strategies to improve student outcomes. view article arw

Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 3 into law Tuesday, providing school districts across Texas with a host of changes when it comes to school funding and related matters. But Lewisville ISD officials say it’s also led to many questions. During a work session Wednesday, the district staff went over several aspects of LISD's upcoming budget and how HB 3 plays into it. view article arw

On Tuesday, Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 3, an $11.6 billion school finance bill into law that will help the public school finance system, reduce property taxes and increase teacher pay across Texas. When the announcement came that more funding would be given across the state of Texas, excitement poured in from both teachers and administrators at Longview Independent School District. view article arw

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) announced today that student State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAARÒ) test scores, as well as valuable resources to support student learning, are now available at Parents are encouraged to visit the site to obtain information regarding students’ individual results and utilize developmental tools to support parents in continued learning at home. read more arw

A new law signed by Governor Abbott will benefit students across Texas who deal with epilepsy or seizures of other sorts. Sam’s Law requires Texas public school employees to be trained in seizure recognition and seizure response. “I would just have seizures randomly all the time,” said Makayla Benkula, a high school senior who suffers from epilepsy. “I would go to school and have seizures and my teachers would think I was acting out and I was a behavioral student and I was just being a bad student overall." view article arw

The real end of the Texas Legislature’s work this year comes on Father’s Day, the deadline for Gov. Greg Abbott to decide which bills passed during the 140-day regular session should become law.  He signs the ones he likes, vetoes the bills he doesn’t and lets the rest of them become law without his signature on them.  After that, all that’s left is the storytelling. What will they list as wins and losses? Challengers will talk about incumbents’ failures. Incumbents will crow about their successes. And all of them will be fighting for attention in a presidential election year that promises to shape every race on every ballot in every state. view article arw

Governor Greg Abbott recently signed House Bill 18, a bill aiming to bring more attention to mental health in Texas schools. The bill, filed by Amarillo Representative Four Price, will promote training and education on signs of mental health conditions and substance abuse, strategies for maintaining student-to-student positive relations, conflict resolution, and information about how grief and trauma affect student learning.  KAMR Local 4 News sat down with Rep. Price to explain what the bill will provide. "Not only will it create a framework within which there will be more resources devoted toward better education, better training, enhanced curriculum, better awareness at the teacher and educator level, but also the administrator level and district level," Price said. view article arw

Gov. Greg Abbott triumphantly delivered his top campaign promise to voters Wednesday when he signed into law a bill — detested by city and county leaders — that caps how much local government can collect in property taxes. Abbott was flanked by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, as well as several lawmakers from the House and Senate, as he said the law creates “substantial property tax relief” and “lasting, meaningful, tangible results” for homeowners and businesses. Abbott said the law works in tandem with a landmark school finance bill he signed Tuesdaythat provides $5 billion in state funds to schools to help buy down local school property taxes. That bill, Abbott said, would lower property taxes by an average of 5% the first year and 10% the second year. Some have raised questions about the bill's long-term viability because the Legislature must come back in 2021 to fund further years. view article arw

“A life that touches others goes on forever.” Barbara Watkins doesn’t know who said it first, but it’s a piece of wisdom she cherishes — it’s emblazoned on Samantha Watkins’ tombstone, and it was on the mother’s mind Tuesday as Gov. Greg Abbott put his signature to House Bill 684, Sam’s Law. 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. The law should allow for an average of $4,000 in pay hikes for educators in the state of Texas. “Obviously, it’s [exciting],” said Charles Zemanek, teacher at BQJ Elementary School. “You spend countless hours working, investing in these kids. Nobody in education really gets into it for the money; we invest ourselves into our kids. Sometimes, it is nice when others financially invest themselves in us.” view article arw

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