TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The Texas Education Agency’s elementary and secondary school emergency relief fund will send nearly $1.2 billion to Texas schools. But, those funds won’t be supplemental as some school districts originally thought.
“It looks like that instead of having some supplemental funds, they’re going to be used to plug any budget gaps in the state’s funding of public schools,” said Marty Crawford, Tyler ISD’s superintendent.
After learning his school district wasn’t getting an extra $4,315,535 — but instead, that money was to fill gaps in its budget — Crawford said he wasn’t disappointed, but grateful.
“The state made a promise to us early during the shut down that school funding, we wouldn’t have to worry about that, that we’d finish the fiscal year whole,” said Crawford. “This was the pool of money they’re able to plug that gap because of the economic downturn that already effected school budgets.”
Crawford said the money will be used for the already made and approved fiscal year budget and there shouldn’t be any more or less than needed.
“This fiscal year, the economic downturn as a result of COVID, I don’t think any school systems are going to hurt because of that,” said Crawford. “Now, as we jump into next fiscal year and preparation for the 87th legislature, I think we all have to understand how the economy influences our school system budgets.”
Crawford recalls the more than $5 billion dollars cut from public education back in 2011, as a result of the recession, and said his district is planning for the effects COVID will have on the economy, and in turn, on school districts in the future.
“The COVID downturn didn’t affect the school year, immediately,” said Crawford. But, it will have repercussions in the future, for us.”
Crawford said the state funds will go towards budget items such as the laptops and iPads the district is purchasing in preparation for online learning.