Gov. Greg Abbott said in his inaugural address on January 17 that “per-student funding for schools is at an all-time high.” However, the Governor’s claim does not fully tell the fiscal reality facing school districts across the state as they work to educate more than 5 million students.
When discussing the amount of money that Texas invests in students, it is also worth noting that:
- When adjusted for inflation, investments in public education are on the decline. According to Figure 154 in the Fiscal Size-Up released by the Legislative Budget Board in May 2022, total education spending in constant dollars (calculated with compounded state population and inflation growth) is lower in 2023 than it has been since 2014.
- According to an Education Week report released in late 2020, Texas ranks 40th in cost-adjusted per-pupil funding level by state. The report states that Texas spends $12,649 per pupil, which is $2,798 below the national average.
- Inflation is up 14.5 percent since the 2019 enactment of House Bill 3, which was the last meaningful state increase in Texas education funding, according to Comptroller Hegar’s Biennial Revenue Estimate.
The Texas School Alliance believes that now is the time for legislators to make investments in public education that reflect the true cost of educating students. We encourage educators and elected officials to continue to engage with each other regarding the importance of investing in the future workforce of this state.