Texas School Finance Plan Killed by Point of Order, Next Steps

Texas State Representative Wayne Christian released the following statement explaining how the school finance bill, SB 1581, was killed tonight and what the next steps are to make sure our public schools are adequately and equally funded.

Now that a budget agreement has been reached between the House and the Senate this is the last piece of the puzzle, to decided how the money that has been appropriated gets distributed to the schools.  This is not a Republican vs Democrat issue, more so a rural vs suburban vs urban, or rich vs poor issue that cuts across party lines.

Rep. Yvonne Davis called a point of order that killed SB 1581, the school finance vehicle.  A point of order is a technical violation of the House rules that the bill violates.

Now SB 1811 will become the new vehicle for the school finance plan.  SB 1811 has been passed out of the House and Senate and it is going to conference committee for both the chambers to work out the differences between the bills.  The conference committee members will ask their respective chambers to “go outside the bounds” in their conference committee report and add in a school finance plan.  This will require both chambers to vote on this request to go outside the bounds and approve the request.

This limits the input of members of the House and Senate who are not on the conference committee.  The House has not appointed its conference committee members yet, the Senate’s are below.  The House sponsor of SB 1811, Appropriations Chairman Jim Pitts, will appoint the House conference members, he will for sure be one of them.

Senate Conferees: Appointed (05/21/2011) Duncan (Chair) | Deuell | Patrick | West | Williams

It is yet to be determined what school finance plan (Eissler or Hochberg) will be considered and adopted in the conference committee.  Who the House conferees are (Eissler, Hochberg, or both?) will have a big determination on what school finance plan gets taken up.

Once approval is given to go outside the bounds and the conference committee adopts a school finance plan each chamber will vote the bill up or down without the chance to offer any amendments.

Like always, the situation is very fluid and something may have changed by morning, stay tuned for additional updates as the situation develops.