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Texas Schools Face Budget Shortfalls as Funding Remains Flat, Putting Pressure on Education

Texas Schools Face Budget Shortfalls and Underfunding

Texas schools are grappling with budget shortfalls and underfunding, making it challenging for them to meet the needs of students. Despite a record surplus, per-student funding has remained stagnant since 2019, putting immense pressure on public schools across the state. As a result, many districts are being forced to make significant budget cuts, leading to concerns about the quality of education being provided.

The Impact of Underfunding:
The basic allotment that schools receive in Texas has not increased despite a 22-23% inflation rate since 2019. This has resulted in an enormous strain on public schools, as costs associated with running schools have continued to rise. Heather Sheffield, a lobbyist with the Association of Texas Education Professionals, highlights the issue, stating that schools are now being forced to make significant budget cuts due to the lack of increase in funding. This situation is not unique to a few districts; it affects schools throughout Texas.

Budget Shortfalls in Local Districts:
Several local districts, including HISD, Spring, Spring Branch, Katy, Tomball, and Conroe, have projected budget shortfalls as they work towards finalizing their budgets for the upcoming year. While Fort Bend and Klein ISD do not expect any shortfall, they are exceptions rather than the norm. This situation is alarming as schools are increasingly unable to meet their financial obligations while striving to provide quality education.

Lack of Response from the Governor’s Office:
ABC13 reached out to Gov. Greg Abbott’s office to inquire about complaints regarding underfunding. However, the office has yet to respond to the request for comment. This lack of response raises concerns among educators and stakeholders about the government’s commitment to addressing the funding crisis in Texas schools.

Unmet Legislative Proposals:
In October 2023, during a press conference from the third legislative special session, House Bill 177 was introduced. This bill aimed to give teachers a much-needed $15,000 raise and increase the basic allotment for schools. State Representative Gina Hinojosa, the bill’s author, emphasized the importance of adequately funding education, stating that the Fully Fund Our Future Act would increase funding by $2,787 per child in Texas. Unfortunately, the bill did not receive a hearing or a vote, leaving educators and advocates disheartened.

Superintendent’s Concerns:
Martha Salazar Zamora, the Superintendent of Tomball ISD and the state’s Superintendent of the Year, expressed her concerns about the lack of support for public education. Zamora believes it is crucial for the governor and elected officials to provide the necessary funding to ensure students receive a high-quality education. Writing a deficit budget for the second consecutive year, Zamora fears that without better funding from the legislature, the situation may worsen.

Survey Highlights Funding Issues:
A recent survey conducted by the Texas Association of School Business Officials revealed that 80% of respondents identified budgets and resources as major issues. More than half of the districts surveyed reported a budget deficit, with over 40% expecting significant spending cuts in the coming year. These findings underscore the urgent need for increased funding to address the ongoing challenges faced by Texas schools.

Texas schools continue to face significant budget shortfalls and underfunding, despite a record surplus. The lack of increase in per-student funding since 2019 has put immense pressure on public schools throughout the state, leading to budget cuts and concerns about the quality of education. It is imperative for the government to address these issues and provide adequate funding to ensure that Texas students receive the education they deserve. Stakeholders, educators, and the general public must advocate for change and support initiatives that prioritize funding for public schools.

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