- Alamo Heights Joins the School Funding Lawsuit
- Letter to Parents (English & Spanish)
- Appropriations Committee
- Public Education Committee
- School Finance Articles
- Senate Committee on Education
- Senate Committee on Finance
- School Finance 101
- Unfunded Cost of Transparency in Schools
- Unfunded Mandates in Texas Schools
Budget Crisis in Texas
Currently, the State of Texas is facing a budget deficit of $27 Billion. The House and Senate appropriations bills currently show between $9.3 Billion and $10 Billion being cut to public education. It is estimated that Alamo Heights ISD could be cut by $5 to $7 million or even more, representing 20% or more in cuts. In 2004, AHISD cut $2 million from its budget and they were painful. Going through additional cuts today will compound the impact on children.
The Budget crisis was caused by three things:
- In 2006, the state lowered property taxes (school taxes) by 1/3. The new business margins tax was supposed to make up for the loss in revenue, but it has fallen far short. Even in 2006, the comptroller estimated that the tax swap would result in the huge deficit occurring today. As a result, the state has a “structural deficit” that will not go away in the future unless revenues are increased or services are permanently cut.
- The state used federal stimulus money in 2009 to mandate a pay raise for all teachers in the state. That stimulus money is no longer available, but districts are still required to pay for the raise.
- The current recession has caused lower sales tax revenue.
Important Information about AHISD
- Almost 90% of the AHISD budget goes to payroll. School districts are labor intensive, so cuts in revenue result in loss of staff.
- AHISD is currently one of the leanest districts in the state, according to a recent personnel audit. The district is understaffed administratively by 45% compared to common practice in Texas. Also, the district is understaffed by 30% for all professional, non-teaching staff. AHISD has always put its money in the classroom.
- AHISD teachers are highly experienced and degreed which does cost the district more. Having excellent teachers is not cheap, but the district understands that it is quality teachers who make the difference in the classroom.
- AHISD students are highly competitive at the state and national level. AHHS was named one of the top 5% of schools nationally in college preparation, the result of an outstanding PK-12 program. 96% of graduates from AHISD go to college.
- AHISD has outstanding extracurricular programs in the arts, academics, leadership and athletics. Research consistently shows that student involvement in these activities has a significant benefit on student academic performance and long-term success in life.
- $10 Billion in cuts to education is draconian. The impact of these cuts on public schools in general and AHISD specifically will dramatically impact the quality of education for children and the future of our state. Increasing class sizes significantly, lowering teacher pay, and eliminating remedial and enrichment programs punishes children and schools. Neither children nor schools created this problem.
- School districts need relief from state mandates, especially those that are unfunded. Schools need more flexibility and local control in making decisions about how money is being spent in their unique communities. Today, there are significant strings attached by the state, which inhibit the district’s ability to spend money efficiently.
- If cuts are made, the allocation of those cuts should not disproportionately impact property wealthy schools. AHISD has provided equity funding (called Robin Hood or recapture) in the amount of $264,400,000 since 1994, including more than $24 million this year. That money would have completely funded our district for nine years. Increasing the burden on AHISD by cutting funds disproportionately will directly and dramatically impact our children.
- Any cuts beyond $2-$3 million for AHISD (6%-9% of total budget) will make it difficult for the district to accomplish its mission of providing a world-class education.
School Finance Articles
- Article 1
- Article 2
- HEIGHTSbytes: Superintendent Addresses School Funding on KENS 5
- San Antonio Express-News Article Well-heeled districts file financing lawsuit