Tribpedia: School Finance

School finance describes the method in which Texas public schools are funded. Public elementary and secondary education in Texas is financed by a combination of state and local revenue.

The local source of operating revenue for school districts is the property tax. This is what leads to wide disparities in education spending, as some districts with expensive commercial property have ...

Education: The Other Infrastructure Problem

The state's biggest education deficit is in its fastest-growing population. If that persists, Hispanics will have problems operating at full potential in the Texas of the future. That’s trouble for them, trouble for future employers looking for help and trouble for the next generation of well-trained, working taxpayers who will have to carry that group.

In Dilley ISD, southwest of San Antonio, business manager Elpidio Mata and Superintendent Nobert Rodriguez have seen property values balloon to about $275 million from $130 million two years ago.
In Dilley ISD, southwest of San Antonio, business manager Elpidio Mata and Superintendent Nobert Rodriguez have seen property values balloon to about $275 million from $130 million two years ago.

Oil, Gas Boom Makes School Districts Rich but Uneasy

Booming oil and gas production in the Eagle Ford Shale play has made property values soar — a sudden, surprising and sometimes stressful boon to some of the state's poorest school districts. Some districts that used to get money from the state and soon will be sending money to Austin for distribution to areas that aren't as well off.

Pre-kindergarten students at Escobar Elementary School wait outside their classroom before going to music class.
Pre-kindergarten students at Escobar Elementary School wait outside their classroom before going to music class.

For Some Texas Schools, Demographic Future is Now

In 2011, the state hit two landmarks. Hispanics became the majority of public school students. And to cope with a budget deficit, the Legislature did not finance enrollment growth in the state’s schools — something that had not happened since the modernization of the school system in 1949. Both underscore the challenges ahead as a dramatic demographic shift arrives in the state’s public school classrooms.

Because of the complexity of school finance, it’s tempting to turn to per-student spending to understand how well — or how poorly — a district is spending its money. But that approach has its perils.
Because of the complexity of school finance, it’s tempting to turn to per-student spending to understand how well — or how poorly — a district is spending its money. But that approach has its perils.

Comparing Texas School District Expenses Has Challenges

The way the state distributes money to school districts, and how much, will be center stage when the school finance trial begins this fall. Because of the complexity of school finance, it’s tempting to turn to per-student spending to understand how well — or how poorly — a district is spending its money. But that approach has its perils.

Weekend Insider: Pocket Prairies, School Spending

Today on the Texas Tribune Weekend Insider:

A group of conservationists is introducing Houstonians to native plants that covered the area before it became the sprawling cement landscape it is today. "Pocket prairies" are being planted on small tracts of land throughout the city. But now a pristine 53-acres of prairie, where they have been collecting rare seeds, is scheduled to become a subdivision. The group is trying to raise a quarter-million dollars before November 1st to prevent the development.

Morgan Smith examines three Texas school districts that spend the most money per student and the three districts that spend the least. With schools suing the state over education funding, she asks just how much it costs to educate a child in Texas. 

Read these stories and more this weekend at TexasTribune.org.

Texas School Finance Lawsuit Cheat Sheet

Texas' latest round of school finance litigation adds some new players to the courtroom, with interests that are more varied than ever before. We've created a cheat sheet to help you keep all six lawsuits — and the plaintiffs' basic arguments — straight.

Teacher Silvia Corado works with students in her pre-kindergarten class as they learn syllables and word identification, part of the Summer Bilingual Academy at Wilson Elementary School in San Antonio.
Teacher Silvia Corado works with students in her pre-kindergarten class as they learn syllables and word identification, part of the Summer Bilingual Academy at Wilson Elementary School in San Antonio.

San Antonio May Seek Tax to Support Full-Day Pre-K

After the Legislature cut more than $200 million in grants that supported full-day public pre-kindergarten in the state, San Antonio is contemplating an eighth-of-a-cent sales tax increase to fund full-day pre-K programs for primarily low-income children in the city. 

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.

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.

Eanes ISD school bus mechanic Chase Roberts washes the dirt off the advertising on Eanes ISD school buses in Westlake, Texas Tuesday February 14, 2012.
Eanes ISD school bus mechanic Chase Roberts washes the dirt off the advertising on Eanes ISD school buses in Westlake, Texas Tuesday February 14, 2012.

Texas Schools Look to Advertising to Fill Budget Gaps

Texas school districts are getting into the advertising game as they look for ways to make ends meet after major state budget cuts. But with few guidelines about what kinds of ads are appropriate for football fields and school buses, some researchers question whether schools fully grasp the consequences of creeping commercialism.