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The House Public Education Committee sent a letter March 8, 2022, to Commissioner of Education Mike Morath expressing concern over ADA funding that has been dramatically impacted due to COVID. The letter acknowledges the significant impact on school district budgets and tough decisions facing school districts if the state does not provide an additional attendance adjustment for the 2021-22 school year. The letter states that school districts have considerable incentives under the current school finance and accountability systems to find missing students and return them to school as soon as possible.

The correspondence to the agency notes that TEA is working on a proposal to address the matter. The letter from the committee suggests several parameters they support in providing relief to school districts, which include:

  • Enrollment numbers for the purposes of calculating ADA should be based upon fall PEIMS snapshot data as of October 29, 2021;
  • ADA should be based upon the average for school districts using the 2018-19 numbers, with the understanding it is not a statewide average, but an average for that specific school district; and
  • School districts will get funded based upon current enrollment and the average ADA from the 2018-19 for the 2021-22 school year only.

The letter also acknowledges that not every school district in the state has been equally impacted by attendance declines but those that are grappling with low attendance rates are having to use either one-time ESSER II funds, which are supposed to be for learning loss, or laying off instructional staff to consolidate classrooms in the middle of the school year.

TASA staff will continue to monitor the issue and want to remind school districts that there’s a regularly scheduled commissioner call with superintendents this Thursday at 3 p.m.

See the full letter.