Facts and insights about Texas public schools
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Don’t Believe the Hype about Inefficient Spending

A new commentary in TribTalk, a publication of the Texas Tribune, claims that the Texas school finance system is on life support, but more state funding for public schools isn’t the cure to the problem.

The commentary contends that schools hire inefficiently. According to data from the Texas Education Agency, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The state’s most recent Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas ratings showed that more than 98 percent of Texas school districts have a superior financial rating, meaning that they provide the “maximum allocation possible for direct instructional purposes.”

The authors argue that the answer is switching from the current system of school finance to one where state money follows the student. In her commentary in the March issue of Texas Lone Star magazine, Karen Strong, TASB’s associate executive director of Communications and Public Relations, debunks the idea that having a taxpayer’s dollars follow their child is a realistic (or more efficient) solution to our school finance problems.

In 2016, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that the Texas’ public school finance system is constitutional, but there is no question that Texas districts are struggling to make do. A recent U.S. News and World Report story ranks Texas 36th nationwide in classroom spending ($2,555 less per student than the national average).

Additional state funding would certainly help take the pressure off of local property taxpayers, who have paid an increasing share of the education tab for more than a decade.

August 17, 2017