Reported data on school funding designed to mislead

Pratt on Texas - copyright Pratt on Texas all rights reservedHow many of your local public school districts, districts which have not suffered a decline in enrollment, have fewer employees than were on the payroll a few years ago? How many of you have a local ISD with a total budget that is lower than it was ten years ago? Five years ago?

It’s a serious question to ask because one of the big stories being told is that “school districts have had to cut teachers, staff and student programs, particularly those that serve low-income students,” according to Michael Leachman, an author of yet another study that shows public education to be starved of tax money.

This new study, being touted in the Texas press, is nationwide and claims that per-student state funding in Texas in 2015 “was 16 percent lower than in 2008, when adjusted for inflation.” Note the focus on state funding, not total spending.

The funding formula in Texas decreases the state tax raised portion of per-student funding when the local property tax base increases in value. Inversely, when the local property tax base decreases the state portion of funding goes up.

Texas has a hybrid school funding system whereby funds derived from local property taxes fund local public schools which also receive funding raised through state taxation. The funding formula in Texas decreases the state tax raised portion of per-student funding when the local property tax base increases in value. Inversely, when the local property tax base decreases the state portion of funding goes up.

And herein you’ll discover the untruth of this study from the Washington, DC group that even the Austin American-Statesman calls a “liberal think tank.”

Texas has lead the nation in economic growth since the 2008 deep recession and thus the local tax base, property values, has grown much quicker than other parts of the country. Because of that, the state percentage of per-pupil funding has fallen as designed.

…the only number that matters, that truly measures the issue, is how much money public schools spend.

Democrats and their allies cherry-pick such numbers to fool people into thinking public schools are underfunded when the only number that matters, that truly measures the issue, is how much money public schools spend. When you look at actual ISD spending, you will find it as high or higher than ever.

What do you think?...

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