The expenditures working group of the Texas School Finance Commission presented its recommendations to the entire commission on Tuesday.

The working group recommends eliminating some of the current funding allotments and using the bulk of the savings to fund some targeted programs the group hopes will improve student achievement.

The largest allotment recommended for repeal is the Cost of Education Index, which currently distributes about $3 billion per biennium in an attempt to account for higher costs primarily in urban school districts.

Other allotments to be reallocated include the high school allotment and gifted and talented allotment. Arguments for the reallocation of the G/T allotment include that it is currently capped at funding 5 percent of the student population and almost every school district serves more students than the cap covers. Approximately 7 percent of students are typically identified as gifted and talented. The elimination of the G/T allotment would not eliminate funding, rather it is recommended that it be added to the basic allotment. The group also recommends revision and updates to the transportation allotment.

The working group's recommendations include creating some additional allotments, including but not limited to:

  • dual language programs
  • K-3 economically disadvantaged students, and
  • an increase in the compensatory allotment

The group also recommends the creation of a teacher compensation program that would provide incentives for districts to identify and compensate the “best” teachers. This incentive program would start at $100 million with the objective of growing in the future. Other recommendations include some additional new facilities funding and expanding CTE funding to sixth-eighth grades.

The eliminated allotments would free up about $5.3 billion. After the new programs are taken into account, about $1.7 billion would be available to be put back into the system, possibly as an increase in the basic allotment.

The Texas School Finance Commission is charged with making recommendations to improve the state's school funding system ahead of the 2019 legislative session. Its final report is due by Dec. 31, 2018. Before the report is finalized, commission members will hear from other working groups during meetings this fall. TCTA will continue to follow the commission's work and report on its decisions as they are made.