Education

Education

Area schools spend less per student than the state average when compared to a state report released Monday.

Less money across the state is being spent per student in public schools during the current school year than it did in 2017-18, according to the latest National Education Association analysis of school finance data. Based on figures obtained from the Texas Education Agency, NEA determined that Texas is spending an average of $10,712 per student in average daily attendance (ADA) for 2018-19.

This is $71 less per student than the average $10,783 spent in the previous school year and more than $2,900 below the national average of $13,658, according to a Texas State Teachers Association news release.

In Temple Independent School District, Superintendent Bobby Ott said this decrease in spending is part of a larger trend, but there is hope for more state support during this legislative session.

“Additional funding should be sustainable,” Ott said. “Texas is not a state known for lagging behind their peer states, and support for funding public schools should be treated with at least the same competitiveness as other state supported systems.”

Belton Independent School District Superintendent Susan Kincannon also encourages the state Legislature to increase school funding.

“It’s time for the Texas Legislature to update funding formulas and increase the state’s share of school funding with flexibility,” she said.

As of Aug 31, the Killeen Independent School District reports total expenditures per student is $9,942, according to the district website. That’s less than the 2017 school year, when Killeen ISD reported spending $10,651 per student.

In Copperas Cove ISD, total amount spent per student is $10,061, according to Wendy Sledd Monday, the CCISD spokeswoman. That figure does not include Impact Aid, free and reduced lunch, facilities maintenance and technology, according to Sledd.

Moreover, the average teacher salary in Texas increased from $53,334 in 2017-18 to $54,155 in 2018-19, NEA reported, but still trailed the national average of $61,700 by more than $7,000.

“The hole that Texas leaders have been digging for our children’s future keeps getting deeper,” said Noel Candelaria, president of the Texas State Teachers Association, in the release. “These figures mean overcrowded classrooms, high teacher turnover and a growing threat to the Texas economy.”

In Killeen ISD, average teacher salary is $52,720 per year, said Chief Communication Officer Terry Abbott Monday.

In CCISD, Sledd said Monday the average teacher salary is $48,952.66.

Clay Robison, TSTA spokesman, said these figures are updated by the NEA spring of each year. In a nutshell, the organization collected daily maintenance and operations spending and divided by each Texas district’s average daily attendance.