Texas will need to spend at least an additional $8 billion per year to ensure its students meet the tough new academic standards imposed by state lawmakers, a top school finance expert testified Monday.
Lynn Moak, a leading education analyst in Texas for nearly 5 decades, told state District Judge John Dietz that nearly half of Texas' ninth-graders — about 150,000 — aren't on track to graduate because they failed at least one of the state's new, more rigorous standardized tests, known as STAAR, last school year.
Moak said paying for programs to help students catch up and ensure others pass — thus meeting the state's existing college and career-readiness goals — would require restoring the two-year, $5.4 billion in cuts to public schools and grant programs passed by the Texas Legislature in 2011. But it would also mean state funding for public education should increase overall by about another $6 billion annually.
That's a staggering $8.7 billion per year in additional funding, though it wasn't clear if Moak was including restoring all cuts to grant programs in his estimates. In 2010-11, Moak said that total spending on school operations in Texas was $43 billion.