With more than $17 billion in federal funds awaiting distribution to Texas public schools, state leaders have indicated that more information is needed before the funds can be released, and that the Legislature may not be able to address how those funds will be distributed and used before the session ends on May 31.
HB 2021 by Appropriations Committee chair Greg Bonnen would create a new legislative board to consider such issues, which go beyond public education. Nearly $39 billion in federal funds is due to Texas under the COVID relief bills passed by Congress, including not only dollars marked for schools, but funds for health and human services, cities and counties, and other needs. Under a committee substitute for the bill, the board would comprise the lieutenant governor, House speaker, chairs and vice-chairs of the Senate Finance and House Appropriations Committees, and two additional members from each chamber.
Many in the education community are concerned that such a small group would have control over billions of dollars that the federal government intended for public schools. TCTA and other teacher groups are working with members of the Texas Congressional delegation for help in ensuring that the funds are used as intended, and we are urging that the full Texas legislature have input in the process.