Texas Schoolchildren Deserve Honest Accounting

February 28, 2013

Earlier in the session, a fellow colleague and I were having a spirited debate about the state of funding for Public Education. We both agreed that the current data was confusing and that it appeared parties on both sides of the debate may have manipulated the presentation of data to justify their arguments. We both agreed to conduct our own due diligence and research on this issue, and to present our findings. We also agreed that we should use sources that were non-partisan and did not have a legislative agenda.

A long story short, what my staff and I discovered was an data set that had been created specifically by the state’s Legislative Budget Board (LBB). This data expresses the official LBB-reported totals of education spending broken out by state, local, and federal dollars in inflation-adjusted dollars. We combined this with enrollment data from the Texas Education Agency to create the following chart (available online with raw data and sources)

To me, this is the clearest evidence that funding for Texas schoolchildren has been on the decline in recent years. As those of us in the Legislature debate how much (or whether) to restore the previous $5.4 billion cuts in Public Education from 2011, it is my hope that we do so with objective information about what we have already done to Texas schoolchildren, teachers, and parents by shortchanging them on something as vital as their education.

In the House of Representatives, we have already begun the fight to restore the $5.4 billion cut from public education during the previous Legislature. Students and teachers desperately need this funding restored to achieve the higher standards that we have asked of them. I believe that the faster we do the right thing for Texas schoolchildren, the faster we will see a well-educated workforce that will help maintain Texas’ economic leadership.

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