How Are Texas Public Schools Financed?

Real Estate Agent with DFW FINE PROPERTIES 0506509

"We are now at a point where we must educate

our children in what no one knew yesterday, and

prepare our schools for what no one knows yet."

---Margaret Mead
(12/16/1901 to 11/15/1978)

Was Margaret Mead a Visionary with Special Powers to Predict the Future?

From the moment we learned the word COVID-19, and told to lock-down, we experienced challenging moments. After the lock-downs were over for some cities and states, not all state governors, mayors, schools, teachers, and parents embraced the change to go back to school and many were reluctant out of fear. Subsequently, many children remained absent from the classrooms. Absenteeism, as we would learn, had consequences on state funding due to the effect COVID-19 had on daily attendance.

Texas is one of six states that funds schools based on attendance rates, together with California, Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi and Missouri. These schools are financially based on attendance rates. Because of absenteeism and COVID-19, schools today face numerous financial struggles. Schools based on attendance rates receive per student funding  under the base allotment. Not all schools are suffering but all kids suffer when funding is based on high absenteeism. 

"The solution to adult problems tomorrow depends
on large measure upon how our children grow up today."
---Margaret Mead

Not all authority figures worked on cultivating gratitude to get children back to school. Nor did everyone agree. As a result, many schools and classroom desks remained empty as absenteeism did not improve. The cost for absenteeism hurt school districts. For example, Pflugerville ISD, (public schools in Austin, Round Rock, Hutto, Coupland, and Manor), located approximately 183 to 200 miles south from Dallas Fort Worth, lost approximately $1 Million Dollars during the last 12 weeks of the 2021-22 school year.  

School attendance is calculated by finding the sum of attendance counts throughout the school year, dividing that by number of days that schools are required to open, per the Texas Education Agency (TEA). However, if a student is frequently absent, there are major consequences because they won't be counted at all. Schools earn $6,160 per student. If adjusted for inflation, the figure is increased to $7,100 per student. 


Approximately 433,000 students in Texas were uncounted during the 2020-21 school year and nearly 300,000 were unaccounted in the 2021-2022 school year. The basic allotment is not adjusted for inflation. However, school districts receive funding from local property taxes. Property Owners need to know, just how much they are appreciated for paying property taxes. In Texas, Property Taxes are due by December 31st. Texas school districts, cities and counties rely heavily on property taxes to pay for roads, public schools, firefighters, police, and libraries. For the sake of kids, states, cities, parents, and schools need a safe and healthy environment for children to live up to their full potential without fear. 

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Comments (13)

Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Patricia our neighbor was a schoolteacher during Covid shut down and she saw the kids sleeping on the Zoom classes..... after the restrictions were loosened a bit, she decided to Retire, and I do not blame her. Endre

Dec 05, 2022 11:55 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP

Endre Barath, Jr. - There is a phenomenal cost to best teachers and students willing to learn when the school district is not receiving funding due to absenteeism. A lot is at stake and I don't blame early retirement for teachers either. 

Dec 06, 2022 04:28 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Patricia. Education today is similar to kicking the can down the road unfortunately. We have not learned our lesson yet. Hopefully soon! Enjoy your day.

Dec 06, 2022 04:19 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP

Wayne Martin - When the game of 'kicking the can down the road' is played is there ever a chance to catch up and make scholars out of kids due to absenteeism?  It is a painful lesson to learn now and into the future for quality and skilled future wage earners.

Dec 06, 2022 04:34 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Patricia,

We have taken a drastic departure in the quality of our education and are falling further behind because we refuse to spend our time on basics and learning things instead of concentrating on our "feelings."

Dec 06, 2022 04:32 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP

Dorie Dillard Austin TX - I agree and it is a pity and a crying shame! The damage is done. I don't know of any damage control that can be corrected by what has been done for such a long and extended period of time beyond reason, outside the school classrooms. Can anyone redo the past? It's impossible!

Dec 06, 2022 05:14 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Patricia - school can be very challenging.  Influences from many different aspects of life continue to be tossed about.  For students, teachers and those who support both.  I don't claim to understand the entirety of the education system.  

Dec 06, 2022 04:35 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP

Michael Jacobs - you are not the only one who doesn't 'understand the entirety of the education system.' The consequences don't just impact students, parents, teachers and their school districts, it has a significant effect on property tax owners too. We all still have a lot to learn.  

Dec 06, 2022 05:19 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Wow, I had no idea schools were funded based on absenteeism. Very interesting. Also interesting is how different school districts in different areas reacted to the pandemic. While I hope that doesn't happen again, it probably will, and hopefully schools will figure out how to make sure our children are learning and growing well. They didn't do such a good job last time.

Dec 06, 2022 04:52 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP

Kat Palmiotti - Yes! It's crazy how different school districts reacted during the pandemic. Children aren't the only ones that need to be educated. The 88th Texas Legislature begins next month, in January! Lawmakers need to listen without pointing figures and playing the blame game. They must continue to invest in public schools. Let's hope they get it right. 

Dec 06, 2022 05:22 AM
Joe Jackson
Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty - Columbus, OH
Clintonville and Central Ohio Real Estate Expert

This is an excellent post with great information. Thanks for sharing it.

Have a super fantastic week!
Joe Jackson, Realtor-KWCP

Dec 06, 2022 05:15 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP

Joe Jackson - you're welcome. Thanks for reading and continuing to stay informed.

I hope your week is excellent. 

Dec 06, 2022 05:24 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Good morning, Patricia... here in Charlotte, our property taxes pay for our schools... sadly, in many cases it seems like our money is being wasted.

Dec 06, 2022 05:20 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP

Nina Hollander, Broker - Do you recall that song during the Disco Era called "Burn Baby Burn?" One of the verses was:

"Tumbling like the leaves
Yeah, we are spiraling on the breeze

Almost to the point of no return
Everything will burn, baby burn"

That about sums it up. 

Dec 06, 2022 05:27 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker

Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP don't remember that song, Patricia... but you're right it does about sum it up!

Dec 06, 2022 05:31 AM
Leanne Smith
Dirt Road Real Estate - Golden Valley, AZ
Relocation to NW AZ with elbow room & more freedom

As a former school Board trustee, IN also funded on attendance rates.

The sad fact is Americans spend more on public education via their tax dollars both property, sales and federal than any other modern country with results close to the bottom of the barrel.

Dec 06, 2022 05:57 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP

Leanne Smith - that is a very sad fact indeed! Scraping the 'bottom of the barrel' doesn't amount to much. 

Dec 06, 2022 06:05 AM
Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

It has been a challenging few years for kids in schools.  I can't even imagine how hard it must have been.  It was hard enough for us when the schools were being run without the challenges of COVID.  The school system was declining even then, though.

Dec 06, 2022 06:13 AM
Ray Henson

It was one of the best experiences of my life, Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP.  We would work hard for a few hours, then hit the gym and play racquetball.  

Dec 06, 2022 06:48 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP

Ray Henson - I don't envy parents of school age children. I am thankful my parents sent me to private school and sacrificed so much to pay tuition. I even contributed by cleaning classrooms after school. My sacrifices went towards tuition and not money in my pocket. I sure learned fast how to appreciate a good education. 

Dec 06, 2022 06:19 AM
Ray Henson

When I was going through school (college), I worked as a painter for my dad.  None of that money ever went in my pockets either, but he did help me get through college.  It was my forces savings plan! 😀

Dec 06, 2022 06:31 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP

Ray Henson - hard work pays off!!! I have no regrets either. I could only imagine how great that must have been for you to work with your dad while he taught you the ropes. I believe in parent/child or college age sons & daughter learning working side-by-side. It's the best education a kid could get!

Dec 06, 2022 06:37 AM
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

It's really sad that this country does such a terrible job of properly funding public schools.  Even though I don't have any kids, I would much prefer my tax dollars go towards public education instead of a lot of the other stuff it goes towards.

Dec 06, 2022 06:25 AM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

Interesting system and one profoundly affected by absenteeism as you illustrate very well. We need adults to tackle this problem in a healthy way rather than just implementing new rules.

Dec 06, 2022 06:57 AM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

I may not be learning anything I make sure my children get perfect attendence.

Recalling a World Wide duck flu in my 6th grade no worse than Covid, class attendence was less than 30%.  I was the toughest student contracted it last. Back when almost everyone returned. Two months later we graduated. Except me no one from our class today seems to recall that pandemic .

Dec 07, 2022 08:20 AM
John Pusa
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest - Glendale, CA
Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service

Hello Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP very good detailed report for how are Texas public schools financed.

Dec 10, 2022 03:21 PM