education funding | KERA News

education funding

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

The Texas House on Friday passed a package of bills that would put $1.8 billion into public schools and help out struggling small, rural school districts.

The Texas Tribune

While small numbers of Texas voters believe spending on public and higher education is too high, pluralities think the state is not spending enough, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT News

The legislative session just ended. After 140 days of proposals, politicking and press conferences, we’re catching up on what actually passed and how it will change Texas.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment of Texas’s 85th Legislature was the demise of a bill that would have added more than half a billion dollars in funding for the state’s public schools.

Why Is The State’s Share Of Public School Funding Shrinking?

May 1, 2017
Sally Beauvais / Marfa Public Radio

Every year, the state of Texas and local school districts pay more and more for public education. Together, they’ll spend a projected $46 billion on Texas schools in 2017. That money comes from two main places: the state government and local property taxes. But that burden isn’t shared equally.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

The Senate Finance Committee tentatively decided to defund Gov. Greg Abbott’s pre-kindergarten grant program, a month after the House filed a proposed budget doing the same.

Abbott, Patrick Disagree On Special Session For School Funding

Oct 31, 2016
Marjorie Kamys Cotera / The Texas Tribune

Days after Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick suggested that Gov. Greg Abbott call a 30-day special session to overhaul the state's school funding system, Abbott said Monday that no such special session was needed.

Oil Patch Schools Facing Budget Nightmare

Jul 19, 2016
Robin Jerstad / Texas Tribune

In December 2014, the week Pam Seipp became interim superintendent of Runge schools, the tiny South Texas district held a symbolic groundbreaking for schools and sports facilities to be paid for by a $22 million bond that local voters overwhelmingly approved just as oil prices began to slip.

Seipp’s main responsibility since then? “The bearer of bad news,” she says.

Shutterstock

Tuesday's Republican sweep added a new layer of conservatism to state government in Texas.

KERA’s Shelley Kofler talked with Ross Ramsey with The Texas Tribune about how that might play out at the Texas Legislature.

Bob Daemmrich / Texas Tribune

As early voting begins today, the candidates for lieutenant governor are competing for one of the most powerful positions on the ballot. The winner of the race will control the Texas Senate and bills considered in that chamber.  Here’s a look at how the contenders -- Republican Dan Patrick and Democrat Leticia Van de Putte -- differ on one of the state’s most important issues: education.

KERA, the Dallas Morning News, NBC5 and Telemundo 39 recently asked Texans to identify the issues they're most concerned about. For five days this week we're combining forces to look at where Republican Greg Abbott and Democrat Wendy Davis stand on those issues. We began looking at the candidates' views on education, followed by the border, healthcare, the economy and infrastructure.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Early education is a hot topic these days and it’s about to get hotter. Texas lawmakers cut some pre-Kindergarten funding in 2011. A paper out Tuesday examines how that’s affected school districts. Some of them valued pre-Kindergarten so much they sacrificed other programs to keep it.

Bob Daemmrich / Texas Tribune

In a precursor to their only head to head debate scheduled a week from today, Lt. Governor candidates Dan Patrick, and Leticia Van de Putte appeared on the same stage at different times. Each of them sat for a Q&A session with Evan Smith at the Texas Tribune’s annual festival in Austin.

Mark Graham/Cooper Neil / The Texas Tribune

The candidates for governor are back on the campaign trail after mixing it up in their first debate Friday night. On Saturday Democrat Wendy Davis sat for an hour-long interview in Austin. Republican Greg Abbott stayed in the Rio Grande Valley, hoping to attract Latino votes.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

School districts throughout the state are applauding a court ruling that may eventually lead to an overhaul of the way Texas pays for schools.

On Thursday State District Judge John Dietz again declared the state’s school funding system unconstitutional.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

A judge who declared the Texas school funding system unconstitutional will hear more evidence Tuesday before entering his final, written ruling. 

Texas Tribune

Media coverage of the race for governor has focused on a likely battle between Democrat Wendy Davis and Republican Greg Abbott.  But another Republican, Former State GOP Party Chair Tom Pauken, says Abbott’s reluctance to answer questions gives him an opportunity to be heard. 

KERA’s Shelley Kofler talked with Pauken, 59, about his primary opponent, education and his uphill campaign.

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

Texas schools will begin this year with more state money than last year, but most are getting less than they did in 2011, before state lawmakers dramatically cut the education budget.

Funding still varies dramatically from district to district, which is one of the reasons a state judge in February found Texas’ school finance system unconstitutional for the second time in a decade.

As part of KERA’s American Graduate Initiative KERA took a look at the funding gap and how it’s affecting kids in a district that is often at the end of the receiving line.

Todd Dwyer / Texas Tribune

With only two weeks left, Gov. Rick Perry has added funding for transportation to the special session which until now has been devoted solely to redistricting.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

Many Texas lawmakers said their top priority for the legislative session that just ended was to improve public education.  So what did they accomplish?

As part of KERA’s American Graduate initiative, three North Texas legislators came to our studios to talk education: Rep. Helen Giddings, a Dallas Democrat; Rep. Diane Patrick, an Arlington Republican, and Rep. Jason Villalba, a Dallas Republican.

Bickel & Brewer Storefront is suing the Grand Prairie Independent School District claiming its at-large election system violates the Voting Rights Act and denies Latino voters fair representation.

Office of Rep. Chris Turner

Gov. Rick Perry has said there’s no way he’ll sign legislation that expands access to Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, what he calls Obamacare.  But one North Texas Democrat believes that issue is still alive and kicking in the legislature.  And Rep. Chris Turner of Grand Prairie says there’s also some good news about money for public schools.

In today’s “Capitol Closeup” he tells KERA’s Shelley Kofler why he’s feeling optimistic.

Texas House of Representatives

State Rep.Dan Branch says he’ll decide whether to run for attorney general at the end of the legislative session in May.

Right now the six-term lawmaker has his hands full as Chairman of the House Higher Education Committee.

In today’s “Capitol Closeup,” the Dallas Republican talks to KERA’s Shelley Kofler about changes he’s proposing for colleges and universities, and one proposal that would hit where it hurts if they don’t produce better results.

University of Texas

Texas public college and university enrollment rose by 22.5 percent between 2007 and 2012, but state funding fell.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

School districts and their lawyers hope a state judge’s ruling will force Texas to spend more money on public education.

Sara Robberson / Special to KERA

District Judge John Dietz has ruled the Texas school finance system, which serves over 5 million public schoolchildren, is unconstitutional. 

“The court declares the school finance system  is not adequately funded and therefore fails to make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of the system,” Dietz said Monday, explaining one of the reasons he ruled against the state. 

KERA News

An Austin judge is expected to announce Monday whether Texas’ school finance system is constitutional or must be overhauled.  It’s a decision that could lead to greater funding of public schools.

house.state.tx.us

State Rep. Lon Burnam, a Fort Worth Democrat, says he knows how lawmakers should spend surplus money left in this year’s budget. He's filed a bill to restore all of the $5.4 billion cut from public schools in the last session.

School Lawsuit Starts

Oct 23, 2012
Seth Sawyers / Flickr Creative Commons

Yesterday in Austin, for the sixth time in four decades, school districts were in court suing the state over education funding. Many are in North Texas. 

Dallas, TX – Texas school districts say they're struggling after lawmakers cut more than $4 billion from the education budget earlier this year. Some, like Cedar Hill, tried making up the loss with a tax. Hundreds of other districts are now preparing to sue the state like they did a decade ago, to restore funding. KERA's Bill Zeeble reports.

Dallas, TX – A survey by one teachers group is providing a look at how state budget cuts may be affecting Texas school districts. KERA's Shelley Kofler says the survey comes as lawsuits challenging school funding take shape.

The online survey from the Texas American Federation of Teachers isn't scientific, but it's a glimpse into what has happened in schools since the state legislature reduced their funding by more than four billion dollars.