Texas Ed: Comments on Education from Texas

September 4, 2007

Looking at numbers

Filed under: Education Finance, Texas Education Agency — texased @ 11:38 am

Study finds inequality in Texas education funding – Houston Business Journal:

High schools also tended to receive 18 percent more funding than elementary or middle schools, as did schools with more senior teachers.

So what do you think accounts for the 18% difference? A need to pay teachers more for teaching advanced subjects like physics and calculus? Are there really that many calculus teachers in high schools or are they really paid that much more than other teachers?

Where is that 18% going? Now I’m going to guess that it’s going to improve the “quality” of the high school experience by providing a variety of enrichment activities. Yeah, I think a lot more is being spent on high school athletics than any one cares to admit.

And until the districts and TEA are willing to show otherwise, I think I’m probably on the right track, at least in terms that the TEA and school districts aren’t anxious to reveal their funding breakdown. What in the world am I talking about?

You can go to the TEA website and generate AEIS Reports for Texas school districts. If you look up the Bexar County Northside district, you will find a breakdown of “Actual Expenditures by Function” and “Actual Program Expenditure Information.” The functions include “Cocurricular activities” and the program information includes “Athletics/Related Activities.” These items constitute only 2% or less of the budget, pretty small potatoes. But then why doesn’t the report list the number of students enrolled in Athletics/Related Activities when it does so for a select number of other programs?

Furthermore, when you get to the campus level, these categories go missing completely along with the functions “Student Transportation” and “Food Services” among others. Is this the start of the 18% increase in spending in high schools? We certainly can’t tell from the data since the date aren’t provided.

So why aren’t the categories listed at the campus level? Could it be because the disparities would be that obvious?

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