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Texas House, Senate at stalemate over school finance reform

A debate about how to fix Texas' public school finance system continues with just nine days left to work out a compromise. (CBS Austin)

A debate about how to fix Texas' public school finance system continues with just nine days left to work out a compromise.

Tuesday, State Sen. Larry Taylor, District 11 (R-Friendswood), said the House bill is not a long-term solution and called it a "Band-Aid."

House Bill 21, authored by State Rep. Dan Huberty, District 127 (R-Houston), would pump $1.8 billion into Texas public schools by deferring payments.

"The Supreme Court did not say we needed to spend more money," said Taylor. "They said we needed to reform our flawed system."

Huberty said he recognizes his bill is not a permanent solution, but calls it a "first step."

The Senate wants to form a commission that will study school finance and come up with recommendations to overhaul the system. Senate Bill 16, authored by Sen. Larry Taylor, has not been brought to the House floor for a vote.

Huberty said the state has studied school finance enough and does not believe another commission is necessary. He said he would consider it, however, with one exception.

"We are not going to just pass a commission bill unless House Bill 21 passes," said Huberty. "It's just matter of fact."

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has called the House's plan a Ponzi scheme and accused members of possibly working towards a state income tax.

"I think it sort of betrays the seriousness of the issue to continue to throw grenades like that, which are unnecessary," said HB 21 co-author, State Rep. Diego Bernal, District 123 (D-San Antonio). "We are willing to have the conversation, but it has to be a real one, not a political one."

Huberty said not passing a school finance bill this special session would be a "huge disappointment" for kids in the public school system.

Huberty's bill would also increase funding for schools with programs for students with dyslexia and students learning English as a second language.

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