Thursday night, Texas’ top three leaders, Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, announced a budget deal that includes school finance reform and steps to slow the growth of property taxes.
Julie Chang, a reporter for the Austin American-Statesman, says the plan includes $4.5 billion for education, $5 billion for property tax relief and $2 billion to increase teacher pay. She says some of the money would come from general state revenue, while some would come from savings associated with fixing the school finance system.
“There’s also another avenue that they’re taking that’s really unpopular among superintendents, especially in districts that have high property tax growth, which is basically relying on current property values to calculate state funding for school districts, instead of prior-year values that school districts are using now,” Chang says.
The change would affect fast-growing districts like Austin, where property values are increasing quickly.
The House and Senate compromised in order to increase teacher pay. In the final bill, teachers, librarians, counselors and nurses with at least five years’ experience would receive an additional $4,000 in their “compensation package.”
Under the compromise bill, property tax rates would also go down, and revenue collected by school districts would be capped.
“What you’ll see over the next two years is a decrease of about 8 cents per $100 valuation on your property tax rate in 2020,” Chang says. “That’s an average. And then, in 2021, you’ll see 13 cents per $100 valuation cut in your property tax rates, on average.”
Written by Shelly Brisbin.