Facts and insights about Texas public schools
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Commentary: Hold Lawmakers Accountable for School Funding

A new commentary in the Dallas Morning News notes that “Texas has a long history of inadequately funding public education and leaving undue burden on local districts.”

Most people know that the state’s per-pupil contribution to public education funding has dropped since 2008. The commentary by David DeMatthews and David S. Knight, education researchers, put the funding decrease in context. “…in 2008, the state contributed $17.1 billion toward education for about 4.7 million students. However, in 2017, Texas public schools enrolled more than 5.3 million students. The state’s contribution was only $19.3 billion. Despite the 13.7 percent growth in the total student population, the proportion of funding the state contributes declined by 12.6 percent per pupil.”

DeMatthews and Knight say that advocates of the current school funding system suggest that existing law that requires the state to use the expected growth in property taxes to fund public education before factoring in state funding. “Legislators are elected to ensure state laws benefit its citizens, and this law has not protected public schools. At the very least, it ought to be amended,” they write.

“It is time voters demand a new finance system that addresses the significant disparities across districts and regions,” they add. Other funding priorities include the cost to educate more special education students (the remedy to illegal special education caps) and school safety initiatives.

Read “We must hold Texas lawmakers accountable for school funding,” by David DeMatthews and David S. Knight, Dallas Morning News.

October 3, 2018