Is the Lone Star State Is the Perfect New Home Base for You and Your Family?
When searching for the perfect home for you and your family, a few primary factors come immediately to mind: rising home prices, viability of the local job market, safety of the overall area, and most likely the school system.
In early April, when debate began on House Bill 3 passing through the Texas Legislature, a bill which initially included $6.3 billion for schools and $2.7 billion in tax relief funding for various programs that would benefit the community, Governor Greg Abbott subtly publicized that education funding is an emergency item when making an appearance on the House floor. House Public Education Chairman Dan Huberty heard the message loud and clear. In his response he expressed, “We are changing the entirety of the system…we are targeting where those resources need to go and it’s very specific.” The apparent great efforts made by the legislature, the Governor and the overall community to appropriately fund public schools is a comforting sign to potential homeowners with children to factor into their moving decisions. If you have skimmed past the Lone Star state when pondering where to settle down with your family, now is the opportune time to revisit the prospect of buying a home in the Great State of Texas.
The passing of the final negotiated version of House Bill 3, which the Texas House passed on a vote of 139 to 0 and the Senate followed with a passing vote of 30-0, is a huge step for their educational system. After a strenuous stretch of negotiations over weeks, lawmakers have finalized a deal on how to cut school district taxes while increasing public education funding. In addition to the now $6.5 billion for public schools, the billions of dollars in tax relief funding has the residents cheering. The previously mentioned $2.7 billion in tax cuts is now settled at $5.1 billion which will go towards funding programs such as special needs, vocational technology, free full-day pre-kindergarten, and increasing teacher salaries. State Representative Chris Turner approved one of the first amendments of setting a minimum pay increase for all school employees at $1,800; this includes full-time teachers, nurses, counselors, and librarians, vocations which help local communities thrive.
The House and the Senate butted heads a bit in the course of the bill’s negotiations. The House was aiming to raise the base funding per student from $5,140 to $6,030, while the Senate wanted to raise the funding to $5,880. Much to the resident’s favor, the two chambers settled on an even higher funding per student; $6,160. Public education funding hadn’t previously been bumped up since 2010, when base funding per student increased by 45%. This new increase shows promise for the decades to come.
Governor Abbott, a huge advocate of HB3, shared a statement after the bill passed both chambers, “In my inaugural address I said that this will be the session we enact historical school finance reform by putting more money into the classroom, paying our teachers more, reducing recapture and cutting property taxes…tonight, without a court order, the legislature did just that by passing one of the most transformative educational bills in recent Texas history.” The passion and dedication from the majority of the council, especially stemming from the Governor to adequately fund public schools, directly demonstrates the sense of community the Lone Star State holds and the devotion towards the state’s youth. The previous legislative session in 2017 failed, but that didn’t stop anyone from trying again.
The reform bill was controversial between the Senate and the House initially, so they constructed a school finance panel of educators, businesspeople, and lawmakers to reconstruct the system. Along with the many mentioned advantages this bill will bring to the public school system, HB3 will also increase funding used towards educating low-income students, dual language programs, improved dyslexia programs, and the money needed for school districts to develop merit pay programs for teachers. These improved programs are long overdue and will allow the communities’ youth to evolve, as well as support the school employees that make it all possible. As Huberty said, “We are truly transforming public school finance in Texas, and all of you have been a large part of that.”
Not only is House Bill 3 taking Texas’ educational system in the right direction, but the efforts towards school safety are active as well. Senate Bill 11, a school safety bill that involves schools teaching lessons on domestic violence prevention, substance abuse, and coping mechanisms, in addition to requiring specific training for school resource officers and providing state money for campus security means and mental health initiatives, has been sent to the governor’s office as of May 26th. Just having passed the one year anniversary of the deadly shooting at Santa Fe High School, the House and Senate are making all efforts to keep schools safe, as students are still actively scared for their safety. As the House sponsor of the bill, state Representative Greg Bonnen, so eloquently says, “This legislation is inspired by the students, faculty and staff at Santa Fe High School.” Other states should be taking notes from Texas, as every school employee should be prepared and equipped to respond to emergencies of all sorts and successfully determine the most productive way to intervene before any violence occurs.
When taking your initial step towards homeownership, consider the Great State of Texas as a home base for you and your family. You’ll appreciate the good food and supportive neighbors, while your kids will thank you for the outstanding education. Texas has made it clear how important the state’s youth is to the general public, after all they are the future. The Lone Star state is assembled of a powerful community that will continue to fight for what they believe in. People say don’t mess with Texas for a reason.