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Texas school finance bill cut down by Senate committee

Texas lawmakers have just five days left to pass a bill aimed at addressing Texas' broken school finance system. (CBS Austin)

Texas lawmakers have just five days left to pass a bill aimed at addressing Texas' broken school finance system.

Friday, a Senate Education Committee voted to advance a stripped down version of House Bill 21, authored by Representative Dan Huberty.

Huberty's bill would have injected $1.8 billion into public education, increase per-pupil funding, and help schools who have dyslexia programs.

The Senate's committee substitute only adds $311 million into the system and provides funding for charter schools. It does not increase per-pupil funding to include money for dyslexia programs.

"Y'all have seen the budget," Education Chairman Senator Larry Taylor told other members. "There is not a lot of extra money floating around there and I don't see a lot of extra money coming in in near future."

Taylor said the school system needs to seek out more efficiency and do more with every dollar.

Both versions include a grant for schools that will run out of promised state aid in September.

There are also disagreements between the two chambers on how the bills would be funded.

Public school advocates largely testified Friday in favor of the House's version, but agree something may be better than nothing.

"We are desperately running out of time," one advocate said. "Our kids need this."

The full Senate is expected to approve the Senate version of the bill Saturday. The House is then expected to send the bill to conference committee in an attempt to work out the differences.

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