Texas Politics

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

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.