Texas slashes public school budget: Cutting through the rhetoric and confusion

By Scott Niven
Scott Niven is a CPA and has been Superintendent of the Red Oak ISD since 2007. 

(Written in partnership with Friends of Texas Public Schools) 

The 82nd Legislative Session ended over 3 months ago, yet many are still attempting to understand what happened.  On one side, school groups are planning lawsuits to challenge the funding system, which includes a $5.4 billion cut to state funding of our public schools, while on the other side there are those saying the state actually increased public education funding.  So, which is the truth?

The reality is that the 82nd Texas Legislature will long be remembered as the first Texas Legislature to lower funding for public education in more than 60 years. To understand what happened we must compare both the legislative appropriations and the school finance funding formula in the 81st and 82nd legislative sessions.  The source of the financial information used in this article is from the Legislative Budget Board – Summary of Conference Committee Report on House Bill, as well as discussions with Joe Wysnoski at Moak, Casey, and Associates.

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