School leaders warn of financial ruin over funding tied to attendance

Charly Edsitty Image
Friday, December 18, 2020
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With tens of thousands of students missing in classrooms, Houston area educators stated their case to Gov. Abbott to hold off on reverting to attendance figures that may potentially mean less money for schools.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Texas school leaders are warning of a "looming financial disaster" for districts due to plunging attendance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Friday, teachers' union representatives asked Gov. Greg Abbott to order the Texas Education Agency to extend a grace period related to state funding and enrollment.

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School districts receive state funds based on student enrollment and attendance, which continues to be a major concern as students are absent from the classroom and home learning scenarios.

The Texas Education Agency agreed to allow districts across the state to have an 18-week grace period, where funds would continue based on projected student enrollment numbers. That grace period is scheduled to come to an end in January.

District leaders worry the change in funding calculations could result in layoffs and budget cuts on the local level.

For example, Houston ISD could lose a projected $90 million if the grace period isn't extended, according to projections. Aldine ISD could lose as much as $21 million in funds, and Cy-Fair ISD could see a decline of $14 million from the state.

Aldine ISD's superintendent joined representatives from the American Federation of Teachers to expand on the issue in this morning's press conference.

INTERACTIVE: What is enrollment like at your school? Use the map below to search for enrollment numbers at every public school district and how much funding those districts could lose.

On a mobile device? Click here.

On a mobile device? Click here.

INTERACTIVE: Houston ISD enrollment is down 13,000 students. Explore the map below to see how your child's campus is doing. On mobile device? Click here for a full screen experience.

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