Protecting Public School Funding is the Right Thing To Do
By Veronica Garcia
Director of Policy
With the election night come and gone, we now have in place the state lawmakers who will make important decisions impacting Texas’ students during next year’s legislative session. As our elected officials engage in the work of the 87th Texas Legislative Session, we urge them to preserve last year’s landmark legislation, House Bill 3 (HB 3), that strategically invested significant dollars into public education. HB 3 has various components that drive toward equity and the improvement of academic student outcomes.
Compensatory Education Allotment
To begin with, the Texas Legislature greatly increased funding for students who need greater resources through the Compensatory Education Allotment. This additional funding is even more critical now as the global pandemic continues to upend the lives of our communities. We know that the students who will experience the greatest learning loss during this time of COVID-19 are those students with the greatest needs, and in Houston more than 80% of our student population come from economically disadvantaged homes.
Early Education Allotment
Our youngest learners also received a boost in HB 3 funding through the Early Education Allotment. Across Houston, only 37% of students are reading on grade level by the time they reach third grade. For economically disadvantaged students, this falls to an abysmal 33% and Black students fair worse at 28%. Aimed at improving these student outcomes, the Early Education Allotment directs critical funding to students in Pre-K through third grade.
College, Career, Military Readiness Bonus
At the other end of the spectrum, the College, Career, Military Readiness Bonus (CCMR Bonus) provides districts with a carrot to go above and beyond in preparing our students for a successful postsecondary transition after they graduate. School districts are rewarded for this achievement with additional funding to invest toward improving CCMR student outcomes. Both districts and students will benefit greatly from the CCMR Bonus – and with the increase in students’ readiness for postsecondary success – our economy will benefit as well.
Teacher Incentive Allotment
An element of HB 3 that will go far toward improving teacher recruitment and retention is the Teacher Incentive Allotment (TIA). Through TIA, highly effective teachers will have their hard work financially rewarded with additional dollars. Experienced, effective teachers won’t have to move into administration for the opportunity to increase their salaries, they will be able to stay in the classroom, doing the work that they love. Additionally, TIA incentivizes the placement of TIA teachers at school campuses where they are most needed, creating a win-win situation for both teachers and students.
Prioritizing our Youngest Texans
Given the impact of COVID-19 on our communities and our students, HB 3 holds even greater weight and impact on driving positive student outcomes. We realize the possibility that the Texas Legislature will have to make difficult budgetary decisions next year. Nevertheless, we implore them to protect their wise investment in our youngest Texans who are the future of our great state.