Wednesday morning, the House Appropriations Committee adopted the recommendations of the Article III subcommittee, which includes the budgets of TEA and TRS.
The full committee supported the work of the subcommittee, which includes two TCTA-initiated riders submitted by Rep. Erin Zweiner. (See more details here.)
Subcommittee chair Terry Wilson reviewed the work of the subcommittee. As does its counterpart in the Senate, this version of the budget for public school maintains the state’s financial commitment to HB 3 by including an additional $4.1 billion for enrollment growth and tax compression. The total funding for the Texas Education Agency, including the foundation school program and other programs that do not flow through the school finance formulas, is $65.2 billion. Funding for the Teacher Retirement System includes additional dollars to continue increased state contributions to the pension fund, and the committee approved extra funding to allow TRS to bring some investments in-house, saving on external management fees.
The committee held a lengthy discussion about federal funds resulting from the two most recent federal COVID-19 relief packages passed in December 2020 and February 2021. State officials are seeking clarification about related federal laws and regulations, and for now those funds are not included in the state budget. Texas should receive more than $17 billion in federal COVID-relief funds designated specifically for education. Click here for more information about these funds.