House Bill 506 by Rep. Eddie Rodriguez will be heard on the House floor on Wednesday, May 6. Here’s what people should know about this important bill:
- The Texas public school system adds 85K new students every year. In 1991, there were only 3 million students. Now, there are 5.2 million students. 80% of all new students attend fast growth districts.
- In 2006, no ISDs were at the 50-cent facilities debt cap. Now, 35 ISDs are at the cap which means they can’t build any more schools. (17 of those districts are fast growth.)
- 50-cent is an arbitrary number set almost 25 years ago.
What the bill does:
- Applies only to 60 ISDs.
- Applies only to fast growth districts at or above 45 cents.
- Raises the cap by 20% (to 60 cents) with safeguards.
- ISDs MUST score at least a 3 out of 5 stars on the Comptroller’s FAST efficiency report.
- ISDs MUST adopt a capital improvement plan.
- ISDs MUST show that they will save taxpayers money.
- HB 506 does NOT have a fiscal note.
Without this change, fast growth ISDs must:
- Ask for class size waivers, shove more kids into K-4 classes.
- Build more portable buildings with their M&O dollars.
- Take longer to pay off their bonds; and
- Resort to using other funding mechanisms like capital appreciation bonds (CABs).
House Bill 506 was supported by the following organizations during testimony and/or letters of support:
Texas Association of Business
Lewisville Area Chamber of Commerce
Lubbock Chamber of Commerce
Denton Chamber of Commerce
Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce
Texas Association of School Boards
Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership
Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce
Texas Association of Realtors
Texas Association of Community Schools
Texas Association of School Business Officials
Texas Association of School Administrators
Texas Rural Education Association
Find our House Bill 506 One-Pager here.