Facts and insights about Texas public schools

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Questions about Charter School Funding

“The playing field is built to give an advantage to charter schools,” says Brian T. Woods, superintendent of the Northside ISD in San Antonio, in a recent editorial in the San Antonio Express-News. An article in the Houston Chronicle also looks at the funding differences between charters and public school districts.

February 8, 2016

How Does Texas Compare to Other States in Education Spending?

In 2012–13, Texas had more than 5 million students and spent an average of $8,261 per student on education. The figures are part of a new report from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) that compiles national- and state-level data on revenues by source and expenditures by function for public elementary and secondary education.

According to the report:

  • Total revenues per pupil decreased by 1.2 percent on a national basis from fiscal year (FY) 2012 to FY 2013, after adjusting for inflation. Texas’s revenues decreased by 2.1 percent.
  • Nationally, expenditures per pupil for public elementary and secondary education were $10,763 in FY 2013. Expenditures per pupil decreased by 0.6 percent on a national basis between FY 2012 and FY 2013. Per pupil expenditures in Texas decreased by 1.1 percent.
  • Current expenditures per pupil ranged from a low of $6,432 in Utah to $20,530 in the District of Columbia. After District of Columbia, expenditures per pupil were next highest in New York ($19,529); New Jersey ($18,523); Alaska ($18,217); Connecticut ($17,321); Vermont ($17,286); Wyoming ($15,815); and Massachusetts ($15,321).

February 5, 2016

Texas Posts Higher Graduation Rates

New figures released by the US Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics show that the Texas Class of 2014 high school graduation rate was 88.3 percent, surpassing the national average of 82.3 percent. In addition, Texas exceeded the average in eight demographic categories.

To view a state-by-state breakdown of graduation rates for the Class of 2014, visit http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/tables/ACGR_RE_and_characteristics_2013-14.asp.

January 21, 2016

More Articles about School Board Service

Last week the Dallas Morning News carried two more articles honoring the work of local school board members: One by Anne Foster, a former Richardson ISD trustee, and one by Ann Casey, a current Lovejoy ISD trustee:

See the articles:



January 19, 2016

Honor the Work of School Trustees

On the occasion of School Board Recognition Month, Bret Begert, who serves as president of the Texas Association of School Boards, wrote an article that has appeared in various publications in recent days. In part, he said:

There are more than 7,000 locally elected school trustees in Texas, which makes them the largest group of elected officials in the state. Even though they receive no pay for their work, they are required to get a certain number of training hours each year. The state and federal requirements, the intricate accountability system, and the funding formulas for schools are a few of the complicated topics trustees must navigate.

A Big Responsibility
School trustees are responsible for the ongoing education of the more than 5.2 million school-aged students in the Lone Star State. Five million seems like an overwhelming number to me, but you can’t stop there. For the last several years, the Texas student population has been growing by 75,000 to 85,000 annually, so the responsibility keeps increasing.

It takes a lot of infrastructure to provide classrooms for that many students. We have more than 8,500 public schools and more than 334,000 teachers statewide.

Saying Thank You
The tremendous effort going on in our schools is largely invisible to most Texans. If you don’t have a student in a Texas public school, you may not know about the hard work of our large and growing student population, the caring and creative instruction by our army of teachers, and the dedicated service of the thousands of school trustees.

He went on to urge readers to visit a public school, appreciate the teachers, and thank the trustees for their generous service.

The whole article can be found at:


January 16, 2016

How Much Do Schools Get from Powerball?

The numbers associated with Powerball sound huge. The jackpot is up to about $1.5 billion. So how much of that goes to Texas public schools?

The lottery distributes:

  • About two-thirds of the money to winners
  • Five percent to retailers who sell tickets
  • About 4 percent to the lottery for administrative costs
  • Less than half a percent to fund veteran assistance programs
  • The remaining 27 percent to public education

Last year the Texas Lottery sent $1.2 billion to the Texas Education Agency. The Texas school system spends $50-52 billion a year. So the lottery covers about one week of operating the more than 8,000 schools.

See the article at:


January 14, 2016

Teacher Out-of-Pocket Expenses Caused by Poor State Funding

The Austin Chronicle covered a story recently that highlighted the fact that teachers routinely fill in the gaps in state funding for their classrooms.

Read it at http://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2015-12-11/out-of-pocket/.

December 22, 2015

Charters Get More Funding than School Districts

The Texas Observer reported recently that many charter schools, which are privately run but depend on state funding, actually get more state funding, not less, than traditional public schools.

The news is based on a study by the education consulting firm Moak, Casey and Associates. The report notes that if school districts were funded like charters, public schools would cost the state more than $4.7 billion a year extra.

See the news article at http://www.texasobserver.org/charter-schools-report-taxpayer-dollars/.

December 20, 2015

New Tool Introduced

The Texas Tribune has introduced the Texas Public Schools Explorer, a new way to help navigate through information on demographics, academic performance, college readiness, and average teacher salaries for each school or district.

Check it out here: http://schools.texastribune.org/.

December 15, 2015

What about Things the Tests Don’t Measure?

NPR reported this week on schools using surveys to improve. School leaders note that students’ states of mind should be weighed alongside test scores and graduation rates when rating schools.

Researchers are becoming increasingly convinced that students’ attitudes about learning, their ability to control themselves and persevere, and their proficiency in working well with others account for more than half the picture in their long-term success.

Read the article here: http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/12/02/457281686/how-schools-are-using-surveys-to-measure-what-tests-can-t.

December 6, 2015