Texas Schools Are In A Big Bind with Low Attendance and Funding
It looks as though there are over 150,000 fewer Texas students attending school statewide this year, 2020-2021, in comparison to the 2019-2020 school year, and Texas funds schools based on attendance, whether students are learning in classrooms or virtually from home.
In a riveting investigation hosted by ABC13 and reported by Ted Orberg, " There are nearly 159,000 fewer students enrolled in Texas public schools this year, leaving districts at risk of losing more than $872 million.
159,000 fewer students equates to an $872 million dollar funding loss for Texas.
These staggering numbers are creating a scramble to recover funding, not to mention finding ways to get students to return to school in Texas.
As expected, the pandemic has been a major factor in lower attendance, as some teachers and administrators have gone door to door hearing that some students moved to other states as their parents seek new job opportunities, higher pay, or lower rent.
Today the teachers' union representatives asked Gov. Greg Abbott to order the Texas Education Agency, known as TEA to extend a 'grace period related' to state funding as well as enrollment.
"Under current guidelines, the TEA has a "hold harmless" period where district funding won't be impacted by low attendance. They're allowed to use their previous attendance rate for planning purposes, but that grace period ends on Dec. 31, and districts facing deep cuts are worried," the article offers.
The report is also interactive giving viewers an opportunity to see which districts in Texas are in danger of losing funding, which includes VISD that you can view here. It's important to note the interactive tool offers that," this is funding at risk IF enrollment doesn't pick up."
The Texas Tribune also offers, " As COVID-19 cases surge economic instability persists for some Texans and many teachers worry these students may not ever return. "
We hope that as we break for the Christmas holidays our COVID rates lower and students return for the new year and second semester.
LOOK: Just some of the photos that capture the historic year that was 2020