February 21, 2019/Blog, Media

Texas Democrats’ education plan offers real solutions for Texas students, teachers, and schools

We believe that everyone has a fundamental right to a quality, public education.

It’s that simple. Your zip code should never determine your destiny. Every child should have the opportunity to succeed – not just a select few. A world-class education system is a moral imperative and an economic necessity.

That’s why we’re proud of our Democratic champions in the Texas Legislature who filed multiple education bills today that offer real solutions for Texas students, teachers, and schools.

Our Texas Democratic Education Plan includes full-day pre-kindergarten, increased funding per student, raises for our teachers, a mental health professional in every school, $14.5 billion added to school funding, and $1.7 billion tax cut for homeowners.

For the sake of Texas and the next generation, it’s time to invest. If you support fully-funding our schools, share our plans on Facebook and Twitter to start as many conversations as you can:

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It is time to invest and fully fund our neighborhood schools.

 


The Texas Kids First Plan from our Texas House Democratic Caucus:

Our plan delivers real solutions for Texas students and teachers – and a true,

in-your-pocket tax cut for Texas homeowners.

Classroom Improvements: $8.75 billion in GR (Two-Years)

  • Full day pre-K ($1.6 billion)
  • Increase basic allotment to $5,400 ($2.8 billion)
  • More money for economically disadvantaged students ($2.2 billion)
  • Long-overdue investment in special education students ($1.8 billion)
  • Increase investment in English language learners ($200 million)
  • More money for school facilities, prioritizing pre-K facilities ($150 million)
  • Note: the increased investments should reduce the impact of recapture

Teacher Compensation: $3.78 billion in GR, $1.75 billion in ESF (Two-Years)

  • Pay raises for all teachers and support staff ($2.56 billion)
  • $100/month increase for health care premiums ($1.05 billion)
  • Hold districts harmless for health costs related to pay raises ($174 million)
  • Fully stabilize the Teacher Retirement System ($1.57 billion from ESF)
  • $500 check to teachers for classroom supplies ($180 million from ESF)

Ending Gun Violence in our Schools: $212 million in GR

  • Hire behavioral health professional for every school campus ($212 million)

Double Homestead Exemption to $50,000: $1.7 billion in GR (One-Year)

  • Provides average tax cut of $325 to every Texas homeowner

Texas Kids First Plan: Proposed Policy Changes

Beyond the financial improvements outlined above, there are a number of policy-specific changes House Democrats will pursue in the coming session. A comprehensive list of legislation is attached for additional reference.

Classroom Improvements

  • Strict review of the state’s testing accountability system, and fight outcomes-based funding that directly tied more money for students to test scores
  • Direct increased funds to assist with transportation and technology needs
  • Limited purpose sunset review (not abolishment) of Texas’ special education programs
  • Ensure disciplinary policies and codes of conduct are not subjective and lead to discrimination or prejudice

Teacher Compensation

  • Creation of a “Legacy Fund” that redirects extra money in the Rainy Day Fund into an account that can be invested in the Teachers Retirement System

School Safety

  • Support facilities improvements such as secure doors and better lighting in schools
  • Provide on-campus mental health and reimbursement under Medicaid for eligible kids
  • Allow social workers to collaborate with school administrators and other school professionals in order to enhance students’ learning environments

Doubling the Homestead Exemption

Implemented in Fiscal Year 2021, this proposal would be an additional $1.7 billion cost to the state for the coming two-year budget cycle, and provide Texas homeowners with an average annual tax cut of $325.

The proposal to double the homestead exemption would be in addition to the expectation that if the state increased its share of public education investment, there would be reduced pressure by local governments to raise property taxes.

Below are some projected savings that homeowners in some of the state’s largest school districts could expect from doubling the homestead exemption from $25,000 to $50,000:

School District Projected Tax Savings (Based on 2017)
Statewide Average $325.00
Alief ISD $332.50
Austin ISD $298.00
Brownsville ISD $316.25
Dallas ISD $320.52
El Paso ISD $327.50
Fort Worth ISD $338.00
Harlingen Cons ISD $329.50
Houston ISD $301.68
Leander ISD $377.97
San Antonio ISD $383.15