Tribpedia: Public Education

More tax dollars are spent on public education than on any other governmental program in the state. Public elementary and secondary education in Texas is financed by a combination of state, local, and federal revenue, a system that has produced inequities among the state's 1,030 traditional school districts and 207 charter operators.

As of 2010, more than 4 ...

"Rube Goldberg" School Finance System Faces New Test

Cutting $10 billion from the state’s bill for public education could push more than two-dozen school districts from the group that receives state financing into the group that writes checks to the state to even things out between richer and poorer districts. That’s dangerous political territory, but familiar terrain for Texas lawmakers.

Students at Austin Discovery School work on a project at the Texas charter school on Tuesday, February 15th, 2011.
Students at Austin Discovery School work on a project at the Texas charter school on Tuesday, February 15th, 2011.

Texas Charter Schools Eye Permanent School Fund

The single biggest hurdle facing charter schools in Texas, advocates say, is finding adequate facilities. Some lawmakers want to give charters the same backing of the state’s Permanent School Fund for facilities bonds that traditional public schools already have. That would help them secure far better interest rates to buy property and avoid costly rent and interest payments. Among the biggest opponents: the traditional public schools.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 2/14/11

Ramsey, Stiles, Aguilar and Murphy makes sense of the Census data (and Stiles and Murphy interactively map the population change by county), Grissom on possible job cuts for prison chaplains, Ramshaw on whether cash-strapped Texas should be in the cancer business, Philpott on if we should dip into the Rainy Day Fund, Hamilton on the digital age dawning at Abilene Christian University, C. Smith on the concealed carry debate at community colleges, Galbraith on the fallout from the rolling blackouts, Ramsey on Texas vs. Amazon.com and M. Smith on Perry vs. Doggett: The best of our best content from Feb. 14 to 18, 2011.

Texas Battle Over Rainy Day Fund Heating Up

Texas, like many other states, is proposing billions of dollars in cuts to help close a budget gap. But as Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports, one thing Texas has that nobody else does is $9 billion in a piggy bank called the Rainy Day Fund — and lawmakers are divided over whether to crack it open.

Gov. Rick Perry delivering his State of the State address on Feb. 8, 2011
Gov. Rick Perry delivering his State of the State address on Feb. 8, 2011

Can Texas Lege Overrule Perry on Education Money?

 

Gov. Rick Perry has said he can't sign an application to recieve money from the federal government's $10 billion Education Jobs Fund because it requires him to make an assurance he cannot constitutionally make: that the Legislature will not use the money to offset state funding of public education programs. Now that it's in session and setting the 2012-13 budget, can lawmakers overrule the governor and accept the money? The short answer is no. 

Perry, Doggett and Their $830 Million Feud in Texas

Six months after Congress established the $10 billion Education Jobs Fund to help states retain and hire teachers, Texas is one of only two states that has not received its money. Gov. Rick Perry blames a “certain Texas congressman.” U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, the congressman in question, blames Perry. Don't expect their feud to end any time soon.

State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Ft. Worth at the 2010 Texas Democratic convention in Corpus Christi, Tex. on June 26.
State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Ft. Worth at the 2010 Texas Democratic convention in Corpus Christi, Tex. on June 26.

Texas Democrats Blame Republicans for Budget Blues

Texas governors have limited control over what the state budget ultimately looks like. They can veto items in the final budget and, as Gov. Rick Perry did Tuesday, use the bully pulpit of the State of the State address to lay out priorities. Perry's speech was part pep rally, part budget proposal, with a dash of national politics. And, as Ben Philpott of KUT News and the Tribune reports, Democrats weren't charmed.

Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott speaks at the TASA midwinter conference in Austin, Texas February 1st, 2011
Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott speaks at the TASA midwinter conference in Austin, Texas February 1st, 2011

Senators Grill Texas Education Agency Over Cuts

As the Texas Education Agency appeared before members of the upper chamber for the first time since the release of an initial budget that reduced school funding by $9.3 billion, senators called for a "full picture" of the state's spending in public education.

Rep. Rob Eissler (R-The Woodlands) answers an education question at TribLive on February 3, 2011
Rep. Rob Eissler (R-The Woodlands) answers an education question at TribLive on February 3, 2011

A Conversation with Rob Eissler

For our latest TribLive conversation, I sat down with the chairman of the House Public Education Committee to talk about the coming cuts to public ed: how big they're likely to be, the prospect of tens of thousands of teacher and non-instructional-staff layoffs, whether new revenue sources are on the table and more.

State Rep. Rob Eissler, R-The Woodlands, speaks with Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith at TribLive on Feb. 3, 2011.
State Rep. Rob Eissler, R-The Woodlands, speaks with Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith at TribLive on Feb. 3, 2011.

A Conversation with Rob Eissler

For our latest TribLive conversation, I sat down with the chairman of the House Public Education Committee to talk about the coming cuts to public ed: how big they're likely to be, the prospect of tens of thousands of teacher and non-instructional-staff layoffs and whether new revenue sources are on the table.

Marathon Elementary School.
Marathon Elementary School.

In West Texas, a Town's Fate Tied to Its School

With a pre-K through 12 enrollment of just 56 students, Marathon ISD is one of the smallest in the state. But the school’s fate is critical to the survival of the remote West Texas town, and if what is happening here works, it could serve as a model for other rural towns scattered across Texas looking to shield their way of life from the death knell of school closures.

Athletics: Where Budget Balancers Fear to Tread?

With Texas public schools facing cuts of as much as $10 billion in state funding, predictions of the consequences have been dire: teacher layoffs in the six figures, bigger class sizes, fewer instructional days, slashed support for at-risk students. One topic conspicuously absent from the conversation: athletics. Are lawmakers and school boards fearful of treading on the hallowed turf of high school football? Perhaps, but the unhappy answer, at least for gridiron lovers, is that nothing is safe — not even sports in the land of Taj Mahal stadiums.