In September, the Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP) released a report about school funding. The administration has reviewed the claims made by TCRP and analyzed their findings in its report.
As a result, the administration has issued a response to the claims made in TCRP's report.
The following represents the administration’s response.
The district has already addressed many of the ongoing issues. For example, in the late 1990s, in part due to concerns raised about equity in funding for playgrounds and outside equipment, AISD for the first time changed its practices and began to include playground equipment in its educational specifications. In March 2000, the district purchased playscapes for a number of schools across the district, including several in East Austin.
More recently, the district has committed to reviewing its method for allocating funds to schools and exploring the implementation of a student-based funding system that would move away from the current practice of basing campus funding largely on staffing formulas. In addition, AISD had already decided to expand the REACH program, as TCRP recommends, by leveraging a five-year, $63 million federal grant the district was awarded last year to support more teachers at high-needs schools.
While AISD takes the report and the issues it raises seriously, the district has many questions and concerns about its findings and methodology. Specific objections are explained in detail in subsequent sections of this response, but these concerns include:
- the use of initial budgeted data rather than actual data to determine campus expenditures;
- the failure to account for centrally budgeted funds that are used to support campus-level spending; and
- the failure to account for other variables that affect per-pupil spending levels, which would necessitate an analysis that results in per-pupil amounts differentiated by student types, school type and size to understand whether inequities exist.
To continue reading AISD's response, please click here.