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2015-02-26 digital edition

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2015-02-26 / School

Superintendent’s Corner

Top Educational Issues for the 84th Legislature Part 3
Chuck Holt, Ed.D
Interim Superintendent

Dr. Chuck Holt, Ed.D, Interim Superintendent of Lexington ISD will be writing a series of five articles concerning the Top Educational Issues for the 84th Legislature. This is the third in that series. Last week he wrote about funding for public schools, as one of the major issues facing the 84th Legislature with regard to eduction. He continues....

Adequacy is a much more complex topic [than school funding]. The legislature has studied adequacy in the past, but were usually unable to agree on a widely accepted definition. Following the severe cuts made by the 82nd legislature, schools now spend less money per pupil than 4 years ago, considering inflation and enrollment growth. Considering also schools now serve more high needs students such as immigrants or impoverished children with increasing accountability standards, it is not a stretch to say that schools are doing more with less. Most schools, therefore, have experienced a decrease in “adequacy of resources”. While the 83rd Legislature did restore about $3 billion of the previous cuts to the state school budget, it really never made up for a loss of $8 billion in real dollars. Texas public schools are now operating on about 5 billion dollars less in real dollars than they did in 2009, according to the best researchers. To be fair, the 82nd Legislature faced a huge budget shortfall and was actually forced to reduce spending, since our state constitution does not allow for deficit budgets. According to some groups, Texas spends less per pupil than any state except Mississippi. This, however, does not in itself speak to quality. Texas also has one of the most rigorous accountability systems in the country and leads the nation in graduation rates, so we are certainly having some success with efforts statewide. Again, the issue is not as simple as some would like to make is sound.

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