Representative Darby Passes Major Amendment on School Finance Legislation That Phases out Small District Penalty
AUSTIN, TX — Today, the Texas House of Representatives passed House Bill 21 by Representative Dan Huberty, a bill to reform the public school finance system. This legislation is a significant improvement to the state funding formulas to increase per-student funding and keep more local school tax dollars from going to Austin. One of the key amendments that were made to the bill was by Representative Drew Darby to phase out the Small District Adjustment penalty.
"All small schools should have the same, cost-based formula. This amendment simply takes the first step in undoing a penalty to small schools," said Rep. Darby. "This issue is critical for my rural schools and for nearly half of the districts in Texas."
This penalty targets districts with less than 1,600 students that are also less than 300 square miles and was implemented over 30 years ago to encourage consolidation of small school districts. This arbitrary mileage standard is not tied to the cost of a teacher salary in rural Texas and should have been phased out long ago. Rep. Darby's amendment ends the penalty over a six-year period starting in the 2018-19 school year.
462 school districts in Texas, including Forsan ISD, Grape Creek ISD, Miles ISD, Olfen ISD, Sands CISD and Veribest ISD in House District 72, will see a benefit to their state funding formula with the phase out of this penalty. See map:
House Bill 21 now goes to the Texas Senate. Learn more about the Small District Adjustment at http://equitycenter.org/resources/sda/.