EDUCATION TEXAS-“WADA” A POLITICALLY CHARGED SOCIAL PROGRAM
What I do wish to expand on is how the State of Texas funds education and why the disparity I revealed in the article I posted on April 14, 2011.
To refresh your memory, the 1265 school districts in Texas receive somewhere between $4,000 and $13,000 per student per year. Trying to understand the reasons completely would take the rest of my time on earth. For years each school district received state money based on average daily attendance. If the state forced consolidation of the unnecessary small school districts, and duplication of expenses, there would not be a budget crisis in Texas.
Somewhere in time the Texas Education Agency “T.E.A” and the Texas legislature created and passed a myriad of House and Senate bills that created “WADA”. This was likely promoted by Austin’s progressive lobbyist as another share the wealth adventure. The last try failed miserably. I am sure WADA caused the rapid retirement of several school superintendents with due cause.
“WADA” is Weighted Average Daily Attendance. The word weighted resulted in a nightmare of formulas that I suggest you review yourself. The T.E.A. website has enough information that it was impossible to find the document. I filed a request for public information and in no time was advised how to locate the formula. What I found was a 50 page document that would require hundreds of hours to possibly understand. I am certain that the state had to hire an army of bureaucrats just to answer questions. There is no way to find out how many new business managers had to be hired by the 1265 districts to administer the program.
Some of the terms include; enrichment tax rate, recapture, equalized wealth, compressed tax rate, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, golden pennies, copper pennies, and terms I never encountered in a Graduate degree program and 44 years of business experience.
If there is one State Representative or State Senator that can honestly tell you he completely understands WADA, then ask him to explain it to you. I encourage you to use the following link the T.E.A. provided me and forward it to your Austin legislators.
I will share some features in understandable language of this abysmal abyss. For every pregnant girl you multiply by 2.41. For home bound students you multiply by 5. For students who require speech therapy you multiply by 3. For special education or medically fragile students you multiply by 3. Those needing help with English you multiply by 0.1. For gifted students you multiply by 0.12. There are many more categories included. Just imagine if you had a pregnant student who required home bound help and suffered speech problems you would get average funding multiplied by 10.41. Our local Hemphill Independent School District (HISD) has some 930 students and receive funding for over 1300 if everyone is there every day. I was awed to review their special education and medically fragile program. I will expand on this later.
When you add the other weighted features, it is no wonder the inner-city school districts and the districts in sparsely populated areas like the Big Bend get more money per student. The opportunity for fraud, duplication and misrepresentation is abundant and an army of auditors could not guarantee ethical conduct statewide.
As a business man, I can read this document and shiver with fear in thinking I had to forecast state revenue and produce budgets for a school board to approve. I have been invited to visit the HISD business manager. I hope to make this visit as soon as possible and see the program from the user standpoint.