All public school students deserve safe and secure school facilities designed for teaching and learning, but students in public charter schools are being left behind.
Texas public charter schools receive an average of $966 less than ISDs in per-pupil funding. Unequal facilities funding drives the difference:
Most facilities funding for ISDs is from local property taxes, but public charter schools do not and cannot levy property taxes.
In 2017, HB 21 (85-1) provided public charter schools with facilities funding for the very first time, using a carefully crafted formula:
Calculated using the average tax rate levied by districts to pay for bond debt issued to fund facilities construction.
Restricted to allowable uses including facility purchase, lease, maintenance, and property taxes.
Restricted to schools rated “acceptable” under state accountability.
HOWEVER, the law also arbitrarily capped total facilities funding for all public charter schools at $60 million. The cap limits public charter schools to just one-fifth of the facilities funding provided under the formula.
Meanwhile, the Producer Price Index for Final Demand Construction has increased 50% since 2017, deeply eroding schools’ ability to build, renovate, and secure facilities. Public charter schools now receive just $87 per student in facilities funding, adjusted for this inflation.
Use the formula in statute to ensure fair facilities funding for public charter schools.
The Legislature wisely enacted a facilities formula that provides equity for public charter schools and ISDs. That doesn’t have to change.
It’s time to eliminate the arbitrary cap that prevents equitable facilities funding across public schools.