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KBTX | Bryan & College Station, TX | News, Weather, Sports

Local Districts Take a Look at House Bill 2

By: Lindsay Liepman
By: Lindsay Liepman

The Texas legislature is one step closer to creating a solution to school finance.

House Bill 2 will be the topic of debate in the house of representatives next week, but does it hold all the answers to the funding crisis?

Texas classrooms are being shaped at the capital, and a new bill will implement sweeping changes to education and how it's funded.

"What we're hearing and reading, it doesn't appear the plan will help us all that much," says Bryan I.S.D. Public Information Officer Sandy Farris.

Farris says Bryan I.S.D. does not fully support House Bill 2.

Some H-B 2's changes include measuring students improvement instead of just test scores...creating end-of-course exams for High school students...and connecting teacher pay raises to performance.

The last proposal is the one Bryan administrators don't like.

"Those are not necessarily well received by teachers and it can leave some teachers out of the loop," says Farris.

But House Bill 2 is not set in stone, it's made it through only one committee and next week it will be debated.

"It's a good thing that it's still in progress. What happened today will probably be different on Monday," says Farris.

State Representative Fred Brown agrees. He says an even bigger subject of debate is House Bill 3 which funds House Bill 2.

The bill would slash property taxes by one-third. But to make up that shortfall, law makers say they've found ''new money.''

That includes a tax on services, an across the board sales tax increase and a dollar more per pack on cigarettes.

But the majority of the shortfall would come from a payroll tax, that is meant to replace the franchise tax.

Employers would pay a 1.1 percent tax on salaries under 80 thousand dollars per employee.

Brown says it's a plan most educators aren't happy with.

"Most of the schools both Bryan and College Station, we've heard from their superintendents and they're not happy, they don't think there's enough money. So there will be a lot of debate on HB 3," says Brown.

And to the relief of educators, Brown says hundreds of amendments will be added before a final draft is sent to the senate.

This Tuesday night at 7 p.m., College Station I.S.D. is holding a public meeting about House Bill 2.

Superintendent Steve Johnson is going to explain the bill and how it could effect the district.


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