AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Senate has approved a state budget with a massive increase in funding for public schools still reeling from the pandemic.
With students returning to campus in the Fall, educators will have an additional $19 billion to meet challenges and overcome deficits caused by the pandemic.
Senate Education Chairman Larry Taylor of Friendswood says the federal pandemic aid is on top of a record $24 billion the state was committed to spend in 2021-2022.
Taylor says in addition to major investments in "high dose" tutoring, special education and high speed broadband access, local districts will get plenty of funding to spend at their own discretion.
"This is a lot of money, but we have a huge problem due to the learning loss that's happened during the Covid-19 slide and all that, we've got some real issues. This is one-time money. This is meant to get our kids caught up and maybe make some enhancements to the buildings," said Taylor.
The education budget is a significant portion of the overall Texas Budget, which is more than $248 billion for the biennium.
With the addition of federal pandemic relief aid, state funding to all Texas public schools is set to increase 40% over the next two years.