Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Education Agency (TEA) announced today that school districts in Texas may be eligible for an adjustment in operational minutes requirements for certain attendance reporting periods during the 2021-2022 academic school year.
This means funding will be made available to school systems in Texas that have experienced attendance rate declines because of the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, given an emphasis on in-person instruction. This adjustment would apply to the first four reporting periods of the current school year.
“Providing this adjustment to the 2021-22 school year will ensure school systems have the funding they need to retain the best and brightest teachers and provide quality education to all public school students across Texas,” said Governor Abbott. “We have made tremendous strides to return more of our students back to the classroom, and will continue in our efforts to do so.”
“I support this adjustment in order to help our schools navigate this school year and continue to educate all students,” said Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick. “My primary focus has and will continue to be ensuring that every Texas student receives a high-quality education, and this adjusted funding will help our schools continue that mission.”
“I thank the Governor and Commissioner Morath for continuing to step up to the plate and prioritize our schools and students still navigating the lingering impacts related to the pandemic,” said House Speaker Dade Phelan. “I’m proud that the Texas House has always prioritized the needs of our students, and I applaud our teachers and administrators for working around the clock to make sure Texas schools are open and safe. This was the logical thing to do to continue to support our school districts and students.”
“In recent years, the Texas Legislature has taken steps both to significantly increase funding for Texas public schools, and also to focus the structure of the finance system firmly on the needs of our students,” said Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath. “This adjustment further accounts for COVID-19-related learning disruptions, and is yet another way we’re prioritizing the needs of our state’s teachers and students.”
In normal times, schools are funded based on the number of students enrolled and the daily attendance on campus. TEA has continued to prioritize flexibility to ensure essential funding support for school systems, by providing full funding based on daily attendance, whether the attendance was in-person or remote.
For the current academic year, this operational minute adjustment will result in the exclusion of operational minutes during those instructional days that schools have low percentage attendance rates, to ensure school districts have the financial resources to provide a high quality education to all students in Texas. It does not hold a district harmless for losses of ADA due to enrollment declines.