Texas public schools educate 5 million students.
Texas ranks second nationally in total public school enrollment, but 45th in the nation in per-student spending in 2011-2012. Texas schools continue to suffer as a result of 2011 funding cuts of $5.3 billion. This represents a $4 billion reduction in per-student funding for day-to-day operations as well as $1.3 billion in cuts to critical programs.
Where Texas Cuts Hurt Students Most
- In addition to cutting the Foundation School Program that funds general academics for all students, essential grant programs such as pre-kindergarten and support for at-risk students were also cut or eliminated.
- For the first time since WWII, the Texas legislature failed to provide funding to cover the costs of student enrollment growth.
As Texas’ Population Continues to Grow, Demands on Public Schools Rise.
Texas Public Schools Are:
- Growing rapidly, by an average of over 80,000 students per year;
- Educating more economically disadvantaged students, with more than 60% of students coming from low income families (an increase of 45.5% in the past ten years); and
- Expected to achieve higher academic standards through high-stakes testing and accountability, with fewer resources and support programs.
Here’s what the Texas legislature can do to keep public schools strong:
- Implement a school finance system that is logical, fair and appropriately funded.
- Restore $5.3 billion in cuts t o public education from last session.
- Fully fund future student enrollment growth so that districts aren’t penalized by an increase in student enrollment.
- Restore funding for Prekindergarten Early Start Grants that allow school districts to offer full-day Pre-K.
- Restore funding for the School Readiness Certification System, which measures quality Pre-K programs.
- Reward high-performing Pre-K programs with Formula Funding for full-day Pre-K for qualifying 4-year olds. Reward districts receiving a Pre-K Center of Excellence designation for their full-day Pre-K program under the School Readiness Certification System for two years in a row with access to formula funding for voluntary, high-quality full-day Pre-K for all 4-year olds meeting current eligibility requirements.