New Report Finds Texas One of Worst Funded States for Public Education 

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Jan. 24, 2024 

CONTACT:  Nicole Hill,

Governor Abbott is pushing further defunding of public schools with money from the richest man in Pennsylvania while Texas public schools rank 41st in the nation for fiscal health. 

AUSTIN, Texas – In a new report, researchers at the Albert Shanker Institute, University of Miami, and Rutgers University highlight public school funding inequity across the country, and Texas is shown to be one of the worst states. With fiscal health at an all-time low, Gov. Greg Abbott’s deeply unpopular efforts to funnel public taxpayer dollars into for-profit schools brings attention to his own hypocrisy. 

The report highlights how 60% of the nation’s students in chronically underfunded districts are in just 10 states, Texas being one of them. These states, however, serve only about 30% of the nation’s students. In its state school finance profile, Texas is measured as a medium-level fiscal effort state, spending only 3.45% of its profound economic capacity on its K-12 public schools.  

Additionally, when accounting for the actual per-pupil spending in each state compared to the amount needed to achieve the modest goal of U.S. average test scores, Texas comes in 44th place. Just over 91% of Texas public school students are attending inadequately funded schools. Data also shows a downward trend of adequate spending from 2011 to 2021, a period the Texas American Federation of Teachers and Every Texan dubbed “The Lost Decade” in their 2022 report.  

“Just recently, Governor Abbott accepted a $6 million donation from school voucher supporter and Pennsylvania billionaire Jeff Yass,” said Zeph Capo, president of Texas AFT. “With public school funding in Texas this low, you have to wonder why the governor continues to push for a scheme that siphons desperately needed financing from the public schools that are cornerstones of our community and major employers in many parts of Texas.  

“In pushing for his voucher scheme, Governor Abbott has claimed Texas can send taxpayer dollars to private schools while still fully funding public schools” Capo continued. “This report shows what we already know: Texas public schools have never been fully funded under this governor’s watch. So instead of paying back his wealthy out-of-state donors with our taxpayer dollars, the governor should focus on giving public schools, teachers, and young Texans who are the future of our state what they need to thrive — something our state leaders failed to do in five sessions last year.” 


The Texas American Federation of Teachers represents 66,000 teachers, paraprofessionals, support personnel, and higher-education employees across the state. Texas AFT is affiliated with the 1.7-million-member American Federation of Teachers and the AFL-CIO. 

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