Tribpedia: Public School Funding In Texas

Texas public schools are funded by federal funds, state funds and local school district property taxes. The amount of state and local funds are determined by the Foundation School Program, a state program administered by the Texas Education Agency.

The program is responsible for ensuring that all public school districts receive equal access to funding per student regardless of the ...

Students at Austin ISD's Casis Elementary explore the pond in their newly built outdoor classroom.
Students at Austin ISD's Casis Elementary explore the pond in their newly built outdoor classroom.

Public Schools Turn to Parents' Dollars for Support

Parents are opening their pocketbooks to fund everything from outdoor classrooms to extra teaching positions in public schools when state and district money falls short. And while no one argues that a local community’s involvement in its schools is a negative, the influx of private dollars concerns civil rights advocates who say it only exacerbates the existing inequities in the public school system.

The Search for a Less Unpopular School Tax

As the state and its independent school districts head to court again in October to debate school financing, it's still possible that the issue of a statewide property tax could be revisited. But such a move would require repealing a constitutional prohibition. And there's also a policy debate about replacing the property tax with a higher sales tax.

Weekend Insider: Cruz and the Supreme Court; Schools Explorer

Graduation rates in Texas public schools have been on the rise, particularly in large districts like Houston, Dallas and Austin. Track stats for any public school in Texas with the Tribune’s new Public Schools Explorer.

Aman Batheja, who is on the road to cover the Republican U.S. Senate runoff campaign, talks about Ted Cruz, the former Texas solicitor general. Cruz argued before the U.S. Supreme Court more than any practicing lawyer in Texas or any current member of Congress. His work before the nation's highest judicial body serves as the cornerstone of his U.S. Senate campaign, in which he portrays himself as a “fighter" for the U.S. Constitution.

Find these stories in the weekend editions of The New York Times and at

Texas Schools Foot Big Bill for STAAR Retakes

The school year ended the first week of June for most Texas students, but for many of them, it won’t mean the end of class. A new state requirement that students must retake standardized tests if they do not achieve a minimum score has landed hundreds of thousands in summer school, carrying a hefty price tag for school districts.

Progress Texas Report: Virtual Schools Failing

A report out today from Progress Texas blasts virtual schools for high dropout rates and student-teacher ratios and low academic performance, but conservative the supporters on the program argue that the schools have academic potential and could save Texas money as it faces a likely budget shortfall in the 2013 legislative session.

After Wilmer-Hutchins ISD is Closed, Signs of Rebirth

Plagued by financial and academic troubles, Wilmer-Hutchins ISD was closed by the state six years ago. Now, the area appears to be on the verge of academic transformation, with three new Dallas ISD campuses — among them, a new high school that is drawing interest from students across the district and even beyond its boundaries.

Tribweek Friday, April 6th.
Tribweek Friday, April 6th.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 4/2/12

The first two parts of M. Smith's series on failing school districts (plus Murphy and Seger's interactive on how districts' characteristics relate to ratings), Root on lagging GOP candidates for president trying to shore things up in Texas, Ramshaw on a "fiscal switcheroo" to get federal money for women's health programs, Galbraith talks to a West Texas farmer about crop insurance and climate change and Aguilar on the money behind a lawsuit on long rifle sales: The best of our best content from April 2 to 6, 2012.

Texas School District Lives On, But So Do Its Struggles

North Forest ISD has gotten what amounts to a stay of execution, as the Texas Education Agency has given the district a year to address financial and academic troubles. The district had been marked for closure. But the question of whether North Forest students would be better off attending different schools still lingers.

Weekend Insider: Workers Comp, Houston School Closure

Unlike other states, Texas doesn't require employers to subscribe to its workers compensation program. Walmart, along with other large companies, recently decided to opt-out of workers compensation and hired a company to handle injury claims. Workers' rights advocates say the company plans can be unfair to employees, but businesses argue they serve workers well and help reduce costs.

Houston's North Forest Independent School District has a 30-year history of troubled finances and poor academic performance. Now, with the threat of closure, the community appears to have rallied around its schools. But, the support may be too late.

Find these stories and more in this weekend's editions of the The New York Times and at