The Texas Education Agency offered the public its first glance of the proposed 2014-15 public education budget when it released its legislative appropriations request early last week, prior to a Sept. 13, 2012, public hearing before Legislative Budget Board (LBB) staff.

During the hearing, LBB staff intently listened to a brief presentation by TEA staff that outlined the request, which would increase public education funding by approximately $4.5 billion over current funding levels. However, it is important to note that the current budget deferred a month of state funding to schools; in other words, funding only 23 months of the biennium. More than $2 billion of the requested "increase" is simply the result of funding all 24 months of the upcoming biennium.

Testifying at the hearing, TCTA staff attorney Paige Williams was quick to point out that the Legislature needs to not only increase funding to pay for student enrollment growth and inflation, but also restore all of the funding cuts made to public education during the 2011 legislative session. 

The TEA appropriations request ostensibly funds only enrollment growth for the upcoming biennium, which is projected at 140,000 students during the biennium.

The LBB, a joint committee of the Texas Legislature that develops budget and policy recommendations for legislative appropriations for all agencies of state government, will analyze and evaluate TEA’s appropriations request before the 83rd legislative session, which begins in January 2013.