Texas is 44th in School Spending – What Does That Mean?
By Alden Nellis
June 3, 2011
I am sure most of you have seen the ads featuring Tommy Lee Jones and other “icons”, which state that Texas is 44th among the states in spending on education. The ads go on to state that is unacceptable.
What does 44th in spending mean? Nothing.
Regardless of the rank in spending, what counts is how we spend – how much education bang we get for the buck.
Just for the record, Texas is actually 37th. That doesn’t sound nearly as bad as 44th, which is probably why they chose the inaccurate 44th for their ads.
I know of no one who think our Texas schools are not in trouble. Our schools are in trouble because, for decades, our Trustees and Administrators have been spending, spending, spending without regard for how much education they get for the dollars spend.
The Texas Legislature recognizes the problem and is taking the right approach to curing it – cutting the budget. They are saying to the school districts, “We are cutting your funds. Where you trim your fat, where to get lean and mean, is up to you.” They are leaving control in local hands instead of dictating everything from the state level.
Local Trustees and Administrators have to step up and give us the same or more education for less money. Simple. All they have to do is forget the luxury of past excesses and move forward from where they are now. Politicians, including Trustees and Adminstrators, are inclined to “fix” all problems by piling on more money. We can have better education for less, but it will take more effort than they are used to.
There is a new organization in the school district, Cleburne Education Foundation, which proposes to help the district with private donations. That is a noble endeavor. My advice to them is to attach some strong strings to their donations to assure they go where intended. If strings are not attached, the donors will be amazed at how quickly the $50 million CISD budget will gobble up their little quarter of a million dollar contribution.