CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Education Agency announced funding will be available to schools in Texas who are experiencing a decrease in attendance after the pandemic forced schools to teach virtually.
The adjusted state funding will also be based on students attending school remotely, and will apply to the first four reporting periods of the current school year.
Currently, schools in Texas are funded based on the number of students enrolled and the average daily attendance rate.
West Oso ISD Superintendent Conrado Garcia said enrollment at West Oso schools is up, but the average daily attendance rate is down. He said attendance was at about 96% before the pandemic and now sits at around 88%. He said that is affecting the funding West Oso schools get from the state.
Garcia said if the state goes back to funding schools based solely on current enrollment and attendance, then West Oso ISD could cut budgets.
“The extremes, and again I say extremes would be to freeze employment. If you have a vacancy, you may not be able to full it right then and there,” he said.
Abbott said the funding will help schools retain teachers.
Nancy Vera, the president of the Corpus Christi chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, said the funding is going to be beneficial to schools, but still believes overall teacher pay should increase.
“It’s not unusual for a teacher to put in 12 hours a day, everyday, and they’re not compensated for that like they should be, like other professionals,” Vera said.
However, some schools districts are not facing attendance and enrollment declines.
Ingleside ISD Superintendent Troy Mircovich said they are one of those school districts. He said because they invited students back on campus earlier than other school districts, parents were motivated to send their kids back to school.
“We were already notifying parents that if their students weren’t being successful, it was going to be mandated that they were going to be back at the campus and so once we started doing that, that’s when everybody pretty much came back,” Mircovich said.