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 ...

31 Days, 31 Ways: Thousands of Texas Teachers Losing Jobs

Bryan McClintock, a special education teacher from Frisco, worked in the Little Elm School District until he was laid off last spring. The Texas Legislature slashed public education funding by $4 billion during the 2011 special session, leading districts statewide to cut down on personnel costs.
Bryan McClintock, a special education teacher from Frisco, worked in the Little Elm School District until he was laid off last spring. The Texas Legislature slashed public education funding by $4 billion during the 2011 special session, leading districts statewide to cut down on personnel costs.

Throughout August, The Texas Tribune will feature 31 ways Texans' lives will change come Sept. 1, the date most bills passed by the Legislature — including the dramatically reduced budget — take effect. DAY 1: Thousands of Texas teachers will not have jobs to return to in the fall, the result of a school finance plan that cut $4 billion from districts statewide.

TribWeek: In Case You Missed It

Aaronson examines the Texas jobs "miracle," Root on how Rick Perry built his financial portfolio, Tan and Wiseman on Perry vs. Ron Paul, Philpott on how budget cuts will affect a mental health provider, yours truly on a House freshman who was less than impressed with his first legislative experience, M. Smith on public schools charging for things that used to be free, Hamilton on a new call to reinvent higher education, Grissom on a rare stay of execution, Galbraith on the end of a Panhandle wind program, Aguilar on the increase of legal immigration into the U.S. and Texas: The best of our best content from July 25 to 29, 2011.

Barbara Cargill, State Board of Education.
Barbara Cargill, State Board of Education.

Cargill: Peacemaker or Culture Warrior?

Supporters say the new chairwoman of the State Board of Education is a mild-tempered, fair leader who is well suited to oversee the fractious board. Her critics say she is a culture warrior who injects her religious and political agenda into classrooms.

Sophomore student Miguel Nava works on a science experiment at the San Juan Idea Public Schools Tuesday morning in San Juan, Texas November 23, 2010.
Sophomore student Miguel Nava works on a science experiment at the San Juan Idea Public Schools Tuesday morning in San Juan, Texas November 23, 2010.

Judgment Day

There's a day in July that school districts eye with a mixture of anticipation and dread. This year, it's on the 29th, when the Texas Education Agency will publicly release the accountability ratings for the state's more than 1,000 districts.

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

A Battered Texas Education Agency Faces Competing Demands

Even as it is coping with deep reductions to its own budget, the Texas Education Agency faces criticism from school districts and lawmakers, although not necessarily for the same reasons — vivid evidence of the pressure on the TEA.

Texas teachers from Save Texas Schools crowd the hallway outside the House chamber protesting budget cuts on Saturday, May 21, 2011.
Texas teachers from Save Texas Schools crowd the hallway outside the House chamber protesting budget cuts on Saturday, May 21, 2011.

And Then There Were Taxes

A week has passed since school districts bracing for the worst at last got what they've been waiting for throughout the legislative session: finality.

A boy waves an American flag at an immigration rally held in Dallas on May Day.
A boy waves an American flag at an immigration rally held in Dallas on May Day.

The Brief: July 1, 2011

Since most Texas counties have fireworks bans in effect this July 4 weekend, what better way to celebrate than recalling the legislative fireworks of recent weeks and imagining those still to come on the campaign trail?

Tourists enter the empty Senate chamber Wednesday morning as the Texas Senate adjourned sine die the day before, leaving the House with unfinished business on June 29, 2011.
Tourists enter the empty Senate chamber Wednesday morning as the Texas Senate adjourned sine die the day before, leaving the House with unfinished business on June 29, 2011.

How Will It Play?

Lawmakers have officially made their exit from the Pink Building, leaving two bills that will bring major changes to Texas school districts awaiting the governor's signature. Lawmakers, meanwhile, are wondering whether and how the two measures will play in next year's elections.

House Speaker Joe Straus (l), R-San Antonio, adjourns the House of Representatives sine die on June 29, 2011.
House Speaker Joe Straus (l), R-San Antonio, adjourns the House of Representatives sine die on June 29, 2011.

Sine Die Report: What Survived, What Died

The Trib's been keeping track of the key issues throughout the special session. From budget measures to school finance, health care and airport groping, here's our final rundown of bills that passed, and the ones that died. 

State Rep. Donna Howard (l), D-Austin and State Rep. Jim Pitts (r), R-Waxahachie, go over budget figures in the House on Saturday afternoon May 28, 2011.
State Rep. Donna Howard (l), D-Austin and State Rep. Jim Pitts (r), R-Waxahachie, go over budget figures in the House on Saturday afternoon May 28, 2011.

Measure Providing Extra Money For Schools Dies

An amendment from Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, that would have directed surplus money from the Rainy Day Fund to pay for enrollment growth in public schools has perished in conference committee.