Texas House to vote on House Bill 3

State legislature considering several measures to address school funding


Lucas Barr

Guest contributor William Walker shares his thoughts on what it takes to bring real political change in this country.

With Governor Greg Abbott and Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen making education funding a top priority this session, Frisco ISD as well as teachers and students have been calling for reform. On Wednesday, the Texas House is scheduled to vote on HB 3, a bill that would increase the amount of funds available for schools and limit the current recapture system.

Anything that the state can do to support public education is a positive thing,”

— history teacher Jeff Crowe

“The state’s share of funding over the last 10 to 15 years has declined, and more of that burden has been placed on property taxes and local property tax collections and the county,” history teacher Jeff Crowe said. “Anything that the state can do to support public education is a positive thing.”

HB 3 in its current form would mean the district could see an increase of state funding by $438 per student for a total of $26 million. As explained by district assistant communications director Meghan Cone, this would translate into more money for Frisco and savings for taxpayers.

“The bill would require all school districts to reduce their maintenance and operations (M&O) tax rate by 4 cents,” Cone said via email. “Additionally, districts with a current M&O rate above $1.04, such as FISD, would have their tax rates further compressed, with the state required to replace the loss of local property tax dollars with state funds. This guarantee would provide more state funding for each cent of a district’s tax rate so that school districts would not receive less funding due to the tax compression.”

In addition, homeowners would also see a savings in their yearly tax bill.

“In its current form, HB 3 would result in a total decrease to the Frisco ISD property tax rate of $0.07715 per $100 valuation,” Cone said via email. “That 7.715-cent decrease would drop the total tax rate to $1.36285 compared to the current $1.44. The result would be a savings of more than $300 annually for the average FISD home valued at $422,364, factoring in the homestead exemption. HB 3 would pump billions of new state dollars into public education, while simultaneously decreasing the burden on local taxpayers and addressing systemic problems within the current school funding system.”

Protecting gifted and talented funding within HB 3 is a priority for Humanities teacher Sarah Wiseman, who met with Rep. Matt Shaheen R-Plano to share her position on the topic, also participating in a day of public testimony in Austin.

“I think restructuring education funding is important, because right now the system is really broken,”

— Humanities teacher Sarah Wiseman

“I testified in front of the house public education committee about my thoughts on the matter,” Wiseman said. “Later that week, my representative Matt Shaheen tweeted that, basically everything was going to be okay. Then I tweeted him back, that I thought I could introduce some nuances to this situation, and maybe we can have a phone call. So we arranged a phone call and we chatted. He then worked on putting together an amendment to strengthen the certification language for GT funding.”

Since then, Shaheen has introduced an amendment ensuring that GT would continue to be funded under HB 3.

“I think restructuring education funding is important, because right now the system is really broken,” Wiseman said. “As a public school system, we need a massive infusion of funds in order to balance out all of the recapture that’s been going on for districts. My hope for HB 3 is that it passes but at the passes with an acknowledgement of gifted and talented as a special population and some protections for the funding.”