Thumbnail Sketch of Texas Education

Published May 1, 2004

Texas spends more than $30 billion a year in taxpayer funds on education; half of that amount is raised locally. Average per-pupil spending in 2002-03 was just more than $8,000, with the lowest-spending district at $4,358 per student and the highest at $72,000 per student. A little over half of the funding, on average, is used on instruction. The student-teacher ratio is 12.5 to one.

The state categorizes more than half of its students as economically disadvantaged. The average school district is approximately 4,000 students, but given the wide variability of district sizes the median district size is 907 students.

The average district had 68 percent of its students in grades 3-11 pass all Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills tests in the 2002-2003 school year. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, Texas students score slightly above the national average. The state has a slightly higher than average dropout rate.

Measured in 2003 dollars, real current spending per pupil more than tripled over the past 30 years, from $2,197 in 1969-70 to $6,713 in 1999-2000. The rise in spending per pupil far outpaced the growth of income per person in the state. The number of days of income it takes a typical Texan to pay for one student’s public education each year jumped almost 50 percent, from 63 days in 1969-70 to 90 days in 1999-2000.