Passage of HB 1081 Marks First-Ever Increase in New Instructional Facilities Allotment
AUSTIN, TEXAS (May 24, 2017)–Fast Growth School Coalition (FGSC) applauds the Texas Legislature on the passage of House Bill 1081 that provides for an increase to the New Instructional Facilities Allotment (NIFA) that helps public school districts keep pace with the demand for new school facilities in districts across the state.
“At a time when Texas public schools and local communities are facing declining support from the State, the passage of House Bill 1081 is progress and a critical win for fast growth school districts,” said Dr. Guy Sconzo, Executive Director of Fast Growth School Coalition.
HB 1081 will increase the New Instructional Facilities Allotment (NIFA) from $250 per student to $1,000 per student, helping fast growing school districts meet the demands for new facilities to serve their rapidly increasing student populations. Notably, HB 1081 does not cost state taxpayers additional money because the program is subject to the state’s two-year budget.
“We’re grateful for the leadership of House Public Education Chairman Dan Huberty, Rep. Diana Arevalo and Sen. Kirk Watson for making an increase in new instructional facilities funding a priority this session,” said Dr. Sconzo. “We ask Gov. Greg Abbott to sign this bill into law.”
Capital expenditure costs of opening new campuses are commonly addressed through local bond funds, but their associated operating costs (maintenance and operations costs) are not addressed through the normal formula adjustments for new public school students. NIFA was created to close that gap.
While the NIFA was created in 1999 to assist with operating costs of opening new school facilities, it was defunded in 2011 and then reinstated in 2015. Along the way, NIFA allotments never changed in spite of rising operating costs and increasing demands for new facilities to meet the influx of students in fast growth districts.
“We’ve been traveling down a road of grossly diminishing state support for public school facilities funding, from a peak of 45 percent in 2000-2001 to now a meager 7 percent. Local taxpayers are being forced to shoulder an ever increasing share of the burden as state support declined, making today’s passage of HB 1081 some much-needed and welcome relief for public schools and local communities,” said Dr. Sconzo.
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Media contact: Jennifer Harris, 512-773-7168 or jharris (at) jwhcommunications (dot) com.
The Fast Growth School Coalition (FGSC) is a grassroots organization of school districts interested in finding legislative solutions that help districts cope with the financial and structural demands of their rapidly expanding populations. Learn more online at www.fastgrowthtexas.org or follow on Twitter, @FastGrowthTexas.