Raise Your Hand Texas Testifies and Submits Written Testimony to House Subcommittee on Article III

February 27, 2023  

Written Testimony of Will Holleman

Senior Director of Government Relations

Raise Your Hand Texas

Before the Texas House Subcommittee on Article III

House Appropriations    

The Honorable Rep. Gary VanDeaver, Chair 

February 27, 2023

Testimony Before the Texas House Appropriations Subcommittee on Article III

The Texas House Appropriations Subcommittee on Article III met to discuss public education funding on Tuesday, February 27, 2023. This subcommittee makes important budget decisions regarding how schools are funded, including increasing investments in critical areas like teacher pay and recruitment. 

Raise Your Hand Texas’ Senior Director of Government Relations, Will Holleman, testified before the subcommittee to emphasize the importance of raising the state’s basic allotment, the most direct way to increase investments in our educators and students. 

Holeman said the basic allotment should be increased from $6,160 to $7,100. This $1,000 increase accounts for double-digit inflation and would restore school districts to their 2019 purchasing power. He added that the state should adopt an automatic annual inflation adjustment which would provide future flexibility in the school funding formulas to keep pace with ongoing cost pressures, inflation, and teacher salaries. 

Holleman also promoted the importance of investing in the teaching profession, both through a new state scholarship for aspiring teachers and by increasing funding for high-quality mentorship programs, which are proven to retain new teachers in the field. 

See below for Raise Your Hand Texas’ complete written testimony. 

Key Points

  • Raise Your Hand Texas supports increasing investments in our public school students and public education programs. Texas currently ranks in the bottom 10 in the country for per-student funding. 
  • The current basic allotment under the Foundation School Program must be increased from $6,160 to $7,100. This $1,000 increase accounts for double-digit inflation and restores school districts to their 2019 purchasing power.  
  • The state should adopt an automatic annual inflation adjustment to give our school funding formulas enough flexibility in the future to keep pace with ongoing cost pressures, inflation, and teacher salaries. 
  • Adding additional resources for a more robust teacher mentorship program and creating an aspiring teacher scholarship to help attract and retain our teacher workforce must also be a priority. 
  • State investments should be prioritized for the 5.4 million students served in our public schools. Language prohibiting the use of state funds for private schools or vendors should be included as a budget priority in the House version of the state budget. 

Texas trails the national average of per-pupil spending by almost $4,000, placing our state in the bottom 10 in funding our public schools. The effects of underfunding public education are long-lasting, limiting our ability to create a well-rounded workforce that can meet the needs of our growing state. Rather than trail behind, Texas should be a national leader in investing in public education and the future of our state.

Our current school funding formulas are not flexible enough to keep up with the increasing inflationary pressures or ongoing instructional demands. Keeping up with rising costs of fuel, food service, day-to-day classroom supplies, and competitive teacher and staff salaries must be a priority this legislative session. Raise Your Hand Texas supports increasing the current basic allotment of $6,160 to $7,100 to keep up with double-digit inflation and give our schools the same buying power they had in 2019.   

While $15 billion in new school district property tax reductions recommended in the House proposed budget is a laudable goal, we urge members to think about other long-term investments in our state, including the Texans who represent nearly 370,000 teachers and 5.4 million students in our public schools. With the historic revenue estimate, including the $32 billion in beginning balance, we urge the members of this committee to increase the basic allotment and create an automatic inflationary adjustment to the basic allotment that strengthens this essential building block we use to fund our students, and allows it to increase with inflation on an annual basis. 

In addition, Raise Your Hand Texas urges members to focus on the ongoing pressures on our future teacher workforce by providing a new scholarship program and increasing the funding for high-quality mentor programs. Scholarship funds could strengthen the teacher pipeline by supporting high-quality education colleges with proven preparation track records. We support funding for high-quality mentorship programs that focus on the success of new teachers in their first years of teaching, while financially rewarding veteran teachers who participate in these important programs.

Raise Your Hand Texas believes the future of Texas is in our public schools. Our state is a hub for growth and innovation and our public school system should be no exception. This committee is uniquely positioned to make historic investments in our most important Texas investment: our kids. 

related content


subscribe & make
a difference

Subscribe to our e-newsletter for Texas education news, stories, policy insights, and ways to make a difference. We only use this information to send emails relevant to you and will never share this information with third parties.

Address (Required)(Required)
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.