Facts and insights about Texas public schools
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Texas Lags Behind Most States in School Funding

The Great Recession of 2008 was hard on public education. Texas cut education funding that year and has lagged most states in restoring those dollars, according to a new study.

The state initially relied on the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to bolster the public education budget until those funds dried up. In 2011, the Legislature cut public education funding again, this time by $5.3 billion.

In 2015, state funding per student was 16 percent lower than in 2008 when adjusted for inflation, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. Texas’ decline in state funding was the sixth largest during that period, behind Arizona, Florida, Alabama, Idaho, and Georgia. This year, state funding for public education has dropped an additional 1.5 percent when adjusted for inflation.

Decreasing state funds means an increasing reliance on local property tax dollars to educate Texas students. But even with local dollars factored in, Texas’ per-student funding levels still lag 2008 by 4.8 percent. “Austin and most other Central Texas school districts are in danger of crumbling under the burden of serving as a piggy bank for the state of Texas when it comes to funding education. Property taxes are simply too high, and the state’s investment is too small,” said Drew Scheberle, senior vice president for policy and advocacy at the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce.

Read “Study: Texas lags behind most states in school funding” by Julie Chang, Austin American-Statesman.

December 4, 2017