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Public Education

Article III agencies for public education include the Texas Education Agency (TEA), the Teacher Retirement System, the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC), the Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund Board and the state schools for blind and deaf students.

This article includes two of the state’s eight most expensive individual programs in fiscal 2002:

  • TEA public school payments, which includes the Foundation School Program and all other grants to elementary and secondary schools, and represents the state’s largest single expense in 2002 ($13.1 billion); and
  • state contributions for retired teachers’ pensions ($1.2 billion).

Total expenditures for programs in Article III public education agencies rose from $7.1 billion in fiscal 1990 to $15.6 billion in 2002, an increase of 120.4 percent. In real (1990) dollars, the 2002 total was $11.6 billion, a 63.1 percent increase. Article III public education expenditures accounted for 29 percent of all 2002 spending included in the statewide index.

The review team created 15 separate expenditure indices for public education agencies which employed workload indicators designed to measure demand for particular services. For example, the index for TEA payments to public schools was calculated in terms of cost per enrolled student.

The Article III public education expenditure index was 1.38 in 2002, representing a real increase of 38 percent since 1990.

The largest individual Article III public education indices for 2002 include:

5.58, for “All Other” expenditures of the Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund (all expenditures except for grants and salaries). Expenditures for this index rose from $113,000 in 1996 (the first year of fund operations) to $2 million in 2002, an increase of 488 percent. Real (1990) expenditures rose to $1.4 million, a 414.9 percent increase. Real expenditures per 10,000 Texans rose by 370.7 percent over the 1996-2002 period. This index, however, accounted for only 0.01 percent of all Article III public education spending in 2002. In fiscal 2002, about $1.3 million of this spending was for professional services.

4.30, for “All Other” SBEC spending (all spending except grants). Total expenditures in this index rose from $2.4 million in fiscal 1993 to $14.9 million in 2002, a 512.7 percent increase. Real expenditures reached $11 million (a 387.7 percent rise). The workload measure for this index, Texas’ number of active certified teachers, rose from 282,366 in 1993 to 376,088 in 2002, a 33.2 percent increase. Real expenditures per active certified teacher rose by 266.1 percent. Much of this growth is attributable to the fact that spending from fiscal 2000 through 2002 included contractor test-administration expenses for the first time. Beginning in 2000, SBEC began collecting test administration fees directly and reimbursing the testing contractor; previously, the contractor collected the fees and transmitted the funds to the state less its own fee.

3.90, for Teacher Retirement System retired teacher health insurance expenditures. Total expenditures increased from $44.4 million in fiscal 1990 to $380.3 million in 2002, a 757 percent increase. Real expenditures reached $281.7 million, a 534.8 percent increase. The number of participants rose from 91,005 in fiscal 1990 to 147,973 in 2002, a 62.6 percent increase. Real expenditures per participant rose by 290.4 percent.

3.42, for grant spending by the Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund. Total expenditures rose from $6.1 million in fiscal 1997 (the first year of grant expenditures) to $205.8 million in 2002, an increase of 3,265.2 percent. Real expenditures increased by 2,867.4 percent. The number of grants and loans rose from 316 to 3,248 over the period (927.9 percent). Real grant expenditures per grant or loan rose by 188.7 percent. Expenditures for this index accounted for just 1.3 percent of all Article III public education spending in 2002.

The indices with the largest share of Article III public education expenditures in 2002 were:


the TEA public school payments index, which accounted for 83.5 percent of the total in 2002. This index includes Foundation School Program payments and all other grants to elementary and secondary schools. Total expenditures rose from $6 billion in fiscal 1990 to $13.1 billion in 2002, a 116.9 percent increase; real expenditures reached $9.7 billion, a 60.7 percent increase. Public school enrollment, the index’s workload measure, rose from 3,316,785 to 4,146,653 over the study period. Real expenditures per enrolled student rose by 28.5 percent from 1990 to 2002, for a 2002 index of 1.28.

the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) retirement expenditure index, which accounted for the second-largest share of total expenditures at 7.7 percent of the 2002 total. This index represents the state’s contribution to the TRS pension fund. Total TRS contributions rose from $786 million in fiscal 1990 to $1.2 billion in 2002 (a 52.9 percent increase); real expenditures rose to $890.2 million (13.3 percent). During the study period, the active Pension Trust Fund membership rose from 503,139 to 846,645 (a 68.3 percent increase). Real expenditures per member fell by 32.7 percent, primarily because the state contribution rate fell from 7.7 percent of salaries in 1990 to the current 6 percent.