In June 2019 during the 86th legislative session, Gov. Greg Abbott signed an unprecedented education finance bill called House Bill 3. According to the Texas Education Agency, House Bill 3 supports teachers, focuses on learning, increases funding, and reduces and reforms property taxes to benefit school districts across Texas.
House Bill 3 not only provides essential funding for elements of education already in place, but also creates innovative new practices to improve outcomes and promote equity. HB3 funding gives a necessary educational boost to students who are academically and economically behind their peers and bridges the gap for English language learners.
The Rio Grande Valley has been leading the state in equitable education outcomes for years, and now is at the forefront of HB3 implementation. Five local districts were approved by the Texas Education Agenda in the initial cohorts of the Teacher Incentive Allotment, a program that rewards excellent educators and incentivizes them to work on rural and/or high poverty campuses, and more plan to apply by the next application deadline in Cohort D.
It is especially important to continue support for House Bill 3 in the 87th legislative session in order to help schools catch up and recover from the impacts of disrupted learning in 2020. COVID affected school sessions across the entire world this year. However, not all students, teachers, and schools were impacted to the same level of severity. In the RGV, the disparity between our most vulnerable students and those of greater advantage has become even more apparent.
“Educators across the state are thrilled that HB3 has provided them with the resources necessary to recover from the impact of COVID,” said Bridget Worley, executive director of the Texas Impact Network, which is working alongside RGV Focus to implement House Bill 3 across the Valley. “It’s more important than ever that educators and their supporters make their voices heard during this legislative session to ensure those resources are there for years to come.”
Teachers, parents, and students are relying on legislators of both parties to continue to support funding for the investments already in place. To learn more about HB3 and how it benefits our region, visit TEA.Texas.gov, TIATexas.org, or InvestEdTx.org.