84th Legislative Session
The 84th legislative session convened Jan. 13, 2015. School funding experts estimate that after funding all current service needs, the Legislature will still have approximately $11 billion available for the 2016–17 biennium. To spend such an amount would require a vote to suspend the constitutional spending limit.
The state’s current financial condition is in sharp contrast to what it was in 2011, when adjustments made to the Texas school finance formulas forced Austin ISD to absorb nearly $96 million in reductions across the 2012 and 2013 school years. In 2013, the Legislature restored a significant amount of the funds that had been cut in 2011, but AISD's restoration was less than 20 percent. The 84th legislative session will be a critical one for public education and for AISD.
This page is intended to help our community learn
- facts about our students, campuses, budget and programs;
- legislative priorities; and
- how to become and stay informed about legislative matters.
On June 16, 2014, the Austin ISD Board of Trustees adopted Legislative Priorities for the 84th Legislative Session. In addition, the board has developed more detailed legislative priorities that are intended to provide sufficient resources to meet the needs of our students. See Legislative Issues.
Austin ISD is the largest payer of recapture in the state. In 2014, AISD paid more than $128 million—nearly 11 percent of the total collected by the state. The district will pay $175 million in 2015 and a projected $300 million by 2018. The Finance at AISD summary provides additional information about recapture and amounts paid by AISD.
Texas’ school funding formula was developed in 1984 and has not changed significantly in 30 years, including the weights that provide increased funding for students who require extra resources, such as students with disabilities and those enrolled in bilingual education programs. The Funding Weights summary explains two of those weights, which are inadequate to provide the resources needed to serve the district’s ever-increasing population of economically disadvantaged students and English language learners. Similarly, the Cost of Education Index has not been updated since 1991, while the cost of living in Austin has jumped significantly since that time.
As with other Chapter 41 districts, AISD does not receive funding for transportation, which costs more than $26 million per year. As explained in Transportation, one of AISD’s key priorities is to permit Chapter 41 districts to receive the same transportation assistance that all other school districts receive.
AISD is one of only 14 Texas school districts that participates in the Social Security retirement program for all employees. Another 34 districts cover all employees except professional staff. As explained in Social Security Costs, AISD pays more than $33 million per year, money that is not available to spend on students or teacher salaries.
Finally, AISD supports additional funding to assist districts in implementing the new Graduation Pathways established by HB 5, and to provide funding for full-day pre-kindergarten. As detailed in Pre-Kindergarten, full-day pre-K establishes a strong foundation to build academic, social and physical success.