Despite declines in student enrollment and attendance, Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Education Agency announced on Thursday that school districts would be “held harmless” and not lose any funding this school year.

Instead, districts will receive state funding dollars in line with projections made prior to the coronavirus shutdowns last year, regardless of the actual expense incurred by each school, so long as they maintain or increase current levels of on-campus attendance.

“As more districts return to in-person instruction, we are ensuring that schools are not financially penalized for declines in attendance due to COVID-19,” said Abbott. “Providing a hold harmless for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year is a crucial part of our state’s commitment to supporting our school systems and teachers and getting more students back in the classroom.”

Lt. Gov Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dade Phelan applauded Abbott’s move.

“My goal is to get all of our students back in the classroom, and this hold harmless funding will ensure our public schools can complete the school year and continue to bring students back to campuses for in-person learning,” said Patrick. 

“I fully support the decision to provide necessary funding and maintain our commitment to Texas schools,” echoed Phelan. 

Schools in Texas have been held harmless since spring 2020, or three consecutive semesters. Attendance in public schools statewide dropped by 150,000 students from January 2019 to January 2021. 

The TEA’s full guidance may be viewed here.

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens