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Public Education in the 2014-2015 budget

Here is a post we thought was worth sharing discussing the future public education budget!

Repost from http://www.alicetx.com/opinion/article_9866063b-f629-5a46-8696-ff1ce9c48aa3.html

Last Thursday, the House of Representatives passed SB 1, the 2014-2015 Appropriations Bill, by a vote of 135 to 12. The House Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 1 appropriated just under $194 billion over two years for all funding sources. This funding level represents an increase in 2.1 percent over the 2012-2013 appropriations level for the biennium.

Earlier this session, I spoke about Texas Comptroller Susan Combs’ announcement that the state would have $101.4 billion to spend in 2014, which represented an increase of 12.4 percent over 2011 levels. This approved budget for the next biennium would appropriate roughly $194 billion in total spending in the 2014-2015, which encompasses the general revenue funds total of approximately $99 billion. While there are many budget items that deserve comment, I want to focus on how this budget affects public education funding in our state.

The strong economy in our state has enabled us to provide an additional $2.5 billion for public education, a much needed boost to our education system. More specifically, the Foundation School Program (FSP) is appropriated $32.8 billion in General Revenue Funds and General Revenue — Dedicated Funds, a $2.5 billion increase. Apart from the FSP, General Revenue Funds are increased by $192.3 million.

Increases to specific programs include a $230.6 million increase for Instructional Materials Allotment, a $12.6 million increase for Communities in Schools, $8 million increase for the Windham School District, $5 million for Adult Basic Education, $5 million for Texas Advanced Placement Incentives, and an increase of $4 million for Teach for America. These general revenue increases are offset by a decrease of $73.4 million for the funding of state assessments, which could result from the passage of House Bill 5, which reformed the state testing system.

While the 2014-2015 budget does help restore some of the cuts made to public education in our state, more work needs to be done to ensure that resources are in place that effectively promote the educational advancement of our children.


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While dropout rates are on the decline, discrepancies in education persist.

According to Child Trends Data Bank, dropout rates have dramatically declined over 50% over the last decades, from 15% in 1972 to only 7% in 2010, but studies show there are still disparities in educational achievement by race and national origin.

Today, a high school diploma is a minimum requirement for most jobs and absolutely necessary to pursue a college education. Students who dropout will have fewer opportunities for employment because they will not possess the critical skills necessary to thrive in today’s work environment.

The Databank identifies numerous factors that contribute to students dropping out:

  • high rates of absenteeism
  • low levels of school engagement
  • low parental education
  • work or family responsibilities
  • problematic or deviant behavior
  • moving to a new school in the ninth grade
  • attending a school with lower achievement score

Studies suggest that high school dropouts are more likely to live in poverty and commit criminal acts. Their lack of participation in the labor force also takes a large toll- “If the dropouts from the nation’s class of 2011 had graduated, the U.S. economy would benefit by about $154 billion dollars over their lifetimes.” (Child Trends, 2012)

For the full article, visit: http://www.childtrendsdatabank.org/?q=node/300.

Data Source: Child Trends (2012) High School Dropout Rates. Retrieved from www.childtrendsdatabank.org/alphalist?q=node/162.