The conference committee on HB 1525 released its report outlining the compromises it reached between the House and Senate versions of the bill. We’ve highlighted some of the key provisions below, as well as prepared a full side-by-side compared to current law.
- Career and Technical Education: As expected, the conference committee report made no changes to the House and Senate language regarding CTE, and the bill still provides a significant boost to the CTE allotment for small and mid-sized districts. Also, only P-TECH/New Tech enrollment counts will now generate the $50 advanced CTE funding.
- Fast Growth Allotment: The conference committee report includes House language that limits access to the fast growth allotment to districts with enrollment growth of more than 250 over the preceding 6 years. This provision is intended to drive more funding to larger districts that see higher nominal growth (i.e. growth in terms of counts) instead of smaller districts that may see higher rates of growth (i.e. growth in terms of percentages).
The bill retains language similar to the Senate’s version that established a tiered system of weights, with higher weights assigned to districts with faster enrollment growth. The conference committee report does make some tweaks to the exact weights, however.
The allotment itself is still capped at $270 million for the 2021-22 school year, with districts’ allotments being proportionally reduced if the statewide total exceeds the cap (the cap ultimately increases to $320 million by 2024-25).
There is also a hold-harmless provision for the 2021-22 school year. Districts will receive a fast growth allotment equal to at least what what they received in 2019-20. This provision is capped at $40 million.
- Gifted and Talented Allotment: The conference committee report keeps the Senate’s language restoring the gifted and talented allotment with a weight of 0.07 (pre-HB 3 weight was 0.12) and a cap of 5 percent of district ADA. The budget currently includes $100 million per year for this allotment. Districts would see a proportional reduction in their allotment if the statewide amount exceeds that appropriation.
- Outcomes-Based Bonus: The conference committee report does not include the outcomes-based bonus adopted by the Senate.
- Resource Campuses: The conference committee report incudes the Senate language that mirrors HB 220. That bill allows for low-performing campuses to receive a designation as “resource campuses” and generate funding as if they were charter campuses. When fully implemented, TEA expects this will result in $56 million per year of additional funding to low-performing campuses.
- Formula Transition Grant: The Formula Transition Grant remains capped at $400 million per year. Districts would see a proportional reduction in their allotment if the statewide amount exceeds that appropriation.
- Swap and Drop: The conference committee report includes the House and Senate proposals to prohibit districts from levying an M&O tax with the intent to create a surplus to be used to pay debt service. TEA is given authority to withhold state aid from non-compliant districts. The bill does include the Senate’s language specifying that only tax rates adopted after effective date are subject to this provision.
- Grant Programs: The conference committee report keeps the Senate language that created several grant programs that are largely paid out of the state’s discretionary funding under ESSER. However, the version of the budget that is heading to Gov. Abbott’s desk pays for some of these programs with a $620 million reduction to the Technology and Instructional Materials Allotment.
- Stimulus Spending Limits: The conference committee report does not include the Senate’s initial proposal to require that districts save 40 percent of their ESSER III entitlement until the 2024-25 school year. Sen. Taylor had previously removed that from the bill after receiving new guidance from the federal government (see A-6 on pg. 15).
- Maintenance of Equity/Effort: The bill keeps the Senate amendment clarifying that any maintenance of equity/effort adjustment will only come as an increase to districts’ funding. State budget writers expect that schools would receive an additional $396 million of additional funding over the next biennium under this provision.