Schools around Texas once again find themselves in the troughs of the summer budget writing process. Before the bell tolls in September some districts will be tapping reserve funds and making cuts others will try to raise taxes.
School districts, much like our state government, are equipped with excess funds to cover budget gaps. Using those funds correctly by funding onetime expenses like maintenance or asset acquisition is appropriate and what the funds are for.
Some districts worried about spending such funds will instead make cuts. Trimming unnecessary fat from budgets is something that most government entities should be pursuing but schools, thanks to heavy union involvement are in dire need of such cuts.
Recently Empower Texans posted a video highlighting the amount of money schools collect per student. Half of the over $11,000 does not make it to classrooms as it is first sucked up by the fat of central administrations and extracurricular spending.
When the push back from central admin and unions pushes for more money many school districts capitulate. El Paso ISD is one of several school districts that will seek to raise taxes this year. The latest numbers from TEA show EPISD brings in almost $9,500 per pupil and has a fund balance of nearly $50 million. Despite these staggering figures the district is more than happy to ding taxpayers for more.
What’s frustrating is more money does not equate to a better education just poorer citizens. The proper response to budgeting and perceived educational failures is not to throw good money after bad. Texans must demand increased transparency from schools to discover where the money is going and why it is not finding its way to the classroom.