State Politics

One Texas lawmaker voted against the House school finance plan. Here’s why

Konni Burton and Chris Turner talk about funding Texas education

State Sen. Konni Burton and State Rep. Chris Turner talk about their views on the upcoming legislative effort to change the way schools are funded in Texas.
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State Sen. Konni Burton and State Rep. Chris Turner talk about their views on the upcoming legislative effort to change the way schools are funded in Texas.

Texas House members spent hours Wednesday debating a landmark school finance bill geared to pump billions of new dollars into schools across the state and give teachers and most full-time school employees raises.

In the end, almost all of the House members approved House Bill 3, which was described by House Speaker Dennis Bonnen as “transformative.”

The one exception: state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford.

“My constituents sent me to Austin to get real property tax relief, to end Robin Hood, and put more dollars into the classrooms of HD92,” Stickland told Texas Scorecard, a political website, after the vote.

“Unfortunately, the bill presented in front of us today failed to meet that charge, and I could not in good conscience vote for it, regardless of any political consequences.”

Stickland, a Republican firebrand known for vocally opposing House leadership, told the Star-Telegram last year that he was going to try a new approach this session — and not be the political bomb-thrower he has been in recent years.

The bill approved Wednesday on a 148-1 vote includes an extra $9 billion for Texas schools, boosts the minimum funding per student, reduces the amount many schools pay into the so-called Robin Hood funding plan and more.

The measure now heads to the Texas Senate.

The legislative session ends May 27.

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Anna M. Tinsley grew up in a journalism family and has been a reporter for the Star-Telegram since 2001. She has covered the Texas Legislature and politics for more than two decades and has won multiple awards for political reporting, most recently a third place from APME for deadline writing. She is a Baylor University graduate.

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