Public school spending per student has increased by 63 percent during the last decade, outpacing both enrollment growth and inflation. With a budget-cutting session of the Texas Legislature approaching, and school districts under pressure to do more with less, a new report by Texas Comptroller Susan Combs could help trim school spending without sacrificing educational quality.
Connecting the Dots: School Spending and Student Progress identifies Texas school districts that achieve strong student performance while keeping spending growth to a minimum. The report and a companion website provide a unique analysis of public education spending and academic results, allowing lawmakers and school districts to compare similar public and charter schools across the state, identify efficiencies and make substantive improvements to get the most value for the dollars spent.
“We all want students to excel academically, and it takes a certain amount of spending to realize that goal, but what is the right amount?” Combs said. “We need to fully understand the relationship between student progress and spending.”
A five star ranking system was used with five stars being the most efficient districts and a one star being the least efficient. Only 43 of the 1,235 school districts and charter schools the Comptroller analyzed received a five-star FAST rating. Eastland and Cisco ISDs each received a 3.5 star rating. Ranger ISD and Rising Star each received 3 stars while Strawn received 2.5, Gordon only received 2 and Gorman 1.5 stars.
Connecting the Dots: School Spending and Student Progress is published in its entirety on the FAST website, www.FASTexas.org. The website includes complete details of school districts’ Smart Practices, all of Combs’ recommended education policy changes and all of the tools users need to compare school districts through the FAST lenses and create detailed, customized reports on school spending and academic achievement.