In-Depth: Charter Schools and Public Education Funding

house appropriations sc on article iii

AUSTIN, TX – The House Appropriations Subcommittee (S/C) on Article III held a meeting Wednesday, February 20th to listen to testimony on House Budget recommendations for the Texas Education Agency.
Testifying before the committee were members of the Legislative Budget Board (LBB).
One of the issues highlighted by subcommittee members was state funding of public charter students. While the matter of whether charter schools should be publicly funded was not debated, some subcommittee members examined the role of state funding to charter schools in comparison to the split local/state funding of traditional public schools.
Rep. Mary Gonzalez (D-Clint), for example, said she wanted to try to unpack the effect of state funding of charters schools in the interest of transparency.
“Charter schools are teaching 6% of Texas public school students and yet have 100% state funding per pupil as opposed to 94% of students in traditional public schools have 37% [in 2019] of state share funding per pupil,” Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin) said.
“Any increase in [school district] entitlement is a state cost, barring any increase of property taxes,” Tedd Holladay of LLB said. He added one caveat, “not all school districts receive the same amount of funding per student, nor do all charters receive the same amount of funding per student, generally speaking.”
Rep. Howard said when additional raw dollars were in the budget, a substantially greater amount was distributed to charter schools than traditional school districts.

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