Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 3237
By: Denny
Public Education


The Texas Constitution of 1876 requires "the Legislature of the State to
establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an
efficient system of public free schools."  The term efficient has been the
subject of decades of legislation and numerous special sessions of the
legislature.  In Edgewood vs.  Kirby, 804 S.W.2d 491, (Tex, 1991), the
Texas Supreme Court held that the "state procedure for financing primary
and secondary education violated the state constitutional requirement that
an 'efficient' system of public schools be created so as to provide for
'general diffusion of knowledge';  although the statute provided for a
guaranteed revenue per student for each cent of local tax effort over a
specified minimum, resulting in a more equitable utilization of state
education dollars, it did not change any boundaries of any school
districts, the wealthiest of which would continue to draw funds from a tax
base roughly 450 times greater than the poorest district, did not change
basic funding allocation with approximately half of all education funds
still coming from local property taxes rather than state revenue, and made
no attempt to equalize access to funds among all districts." 

In response the 74th Legislature created Subtitle I (School Finance and
Fiscal Management), Education Code, setting forth the "policy of this state
that the provision of public education is a state responsibility and that a
thorough and efficient system be provided and substantially financed
through state revenue sources so that each student enrolled in the public
school system shall have access to programs and services that are
appropriate to the student's educational needs and that are 
substantially equal to those available to any similar student,
notwithstanding varying local economic factors. The public school finance
system of this state shall adhere to a standard of neutrality that provides
for substantially equal access to similar revenue per student at similar
tax effort, considering all state and local tax revenues of districts after
acknowledging all legitimate student and district cost differences."  

This policy is carried out through allotments for each student.  A basic
allotment for the purposes of Section 42.101 (Basic Allotment), Education
Code, that, when combined with the guaranteed yield component provided by
Subchapter F (Guaranteed Yield Program), Education Code, represents the
cost per student of a regular education program that meets all mandates of
law and regulation. In order to fairly fund each school, adjustments
designed to reflect the variation in known resource costs and costs of
education beyond the control of school districts are made.  Appropriate
program cost differentials and other funding elements for the programs
authorized under Subchapter C (Special Allotments) are considered in
providing the maximum guaranteed level of qualified state and local funds
per student for the purposes of Subchapter F.  Other considerations
including the enrichment and facilities tax rate under Subchapter F, the
computation of students in weighted average daily attendance under Section
42.302 (Allotment), Education Code,  and the amount to be appropriated for
the school facilities assistance program under Chapter 46 (Instructional
Facilities Allotment), Education Code, help determine the funding for a
school district. 

H.B. 3237 increases the allotment for certain students who are  restricted
to hospital care for a length of time which requires special arrangements
to be made with the school district regarding attendance, who are required
to be self-contained on the regular campus for severe physical or emotional
problems, and who are nonpublic day school students.  This bill also
modifies the allotment for students with disabilities that require other
special arrangements to be made with the school district. 


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does
not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state
officer, department, agency, or institution. 


SECTION 1.  Amends Section 42.151, Education Code, to increase the annual
allotment of a hospital class from 3.0 to 5.0; a self-contained, severe,
regular campus from 3.0 to 4.0; and a nonpublic day school from 1.7 to 5.0.
Requires the funding weight for a special instructional arrangement for
students with disabilities residing in facilities other than state schools
and whose parents or guardians do not reside in the district providing
educational services to be 5.0, rather than 4.0 for those students
receiving education service on a local school district campus.  Requires a
special instructional arrangement for students with disabilities residing
in state schools to be established under the rules of the State Board of
Education with a funding weight of 5.0, rather than 2.8. 

SECTION 2.  Effective date:  September 1, 1999.

SECTION 3.  Emergency clause.