Setting the Record Straight

May 1, 2024

I have ten grandchildren in public schools in Texas Senate District 10.  All are doing very well.  Two have Down Syndrome and I couldn’t be more grateful for the love and support they receive from the staff and other students. 
In 2023, the Texas Legislature demonstrated an unprecedented commitment to support our 5.4 million public school students.  However, leading up to the March primary election we heard repeated claims about state government’s funding of education that are simply not true.
Education is our state’s largest funding priority. In fact, state spending on public education increased by roughly 22% from the last budget to our current budget.  For the current biennium, Texas is spending $41.6 billion on public education, which represents 28% of General Revenue spending. When you include state spending on higher education, that percentage jumps to 46%. This only represents state General Revenue spending on education and does not consider other sources of revenue.
The data is indisputable. According to the most recent Texas Education Agency annual report (linked here), per student annual funding is up 42% since 2011.  During the 2021-2022 school year the average per student allocation was $14,928. This equates to $373,200 for a class of 25 students. 
You may have read (repeatedly) that school districts this year have been hard hit by inflation.  Of this there is no doubt. However, inflation has also impacted every family and every business in Texas.  I wish the Texas Legislature could end inflation, but it’s not caused by our state.  Our Texas economy is among the strongest in the nation.  Inflation rests squarely on the inexplicable polices of the Biden Administration – policies such as hyper deficit spending, a war against abundant fossil fuels and a treacherous open border allowing millions to flood in annually.
One of the best ways to help our schools is to financially support our teachers. Just last fall, the Texas Senate proposed and voted on legislation that allocated over $7 billion in additional funding for public education. That included approximately $4 billion for teacher raises.  However, the legislation died in the House simply due to an overreaction to the issue of private school choice—an option available to families in 32 other states. 
Opponents to private school choice forfeited $7 billion for education simply because $500 million, less than 8%, would have gone to a school choice program.  The remaining $6.5 billion would have increased funding for the basic funding allotment, provided bonuses to teachers, funded additional school security, increased the Teacher Incentive Allotment, and increased appropriations for special needs children.
Regardless of the misleading campaigns, you can rest assured that the Texas Legislature will continue its commitment to finance public education.  The success of our state depends upon a first class education system.  As we move past rhetoric and into the facts, I believe Texas should and will provide additional funding for schools and additional choices for parents and students.  Education should never be one size fits all and it must be among Texas’ top funding priorities.