Texas House OKs school finance bill, property tax reform

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Texas House has overwhelmingly approved a sweeping, bipartisan school finance bill that brings an extra $4.5 billion into Texas classrooms in an attempt to overhaul the state's troubled school finance system.

The plan approved on Saturday seeks to increase annual per-student funding by $1,020 to $6,160, give $1.6 billion in teacher raises and send schools another $5 billion for property tax relief.

A previous House version of the bill attempted to pump $6.3 billion into the state's public education system.

The chamber also cleared another measure designed to limit rapid growth of property taxes in Texas. That measure would require voter approval if local governments raise rates 3.5% or more.

The Senate is expected to pass both bills at a later time. Republican leaders have called the bills their top policy priorities.

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