AUSTIN, TX — Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Education Agency (TEA) announced that the state will provide a "hold harmless" to Texas school systems for the rest of the 2020-2021 academic school year.
Under the "hold harmless," funding will still be made available to school systems that have seen declines in enrollment and attendance due to COVID-19. However, they must "maintain or increase current levels of on-campus attendance."
Pre-pandemic, schools were funded based on students enrolled and daily, on-campus attendance. This year, the TEA decided to provide full funding based on daily attendance, whether that be in-person or remote.
According to the release, districts will be funded on attendance based on projections made prior to the pandemic so districts can retain their teachers.
Texas schools have been held harmless for three consecutive semesters. It began the spring semester of the 2019-2020 academic year and has run through the entirety of the 2020-2021 academic year.
For this current second semester, funding will be provided "as long as on-campus attendance participation rates do not decline or those rates otherwise remain high (at least 80 percent)."
"As more districts return to in-person instruction, we are ensuring that schools are not financially penalized for declines in attendance due to COVID-19," said Governor Abbott. "Providing a hold harmless for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year is a crucial part of our state's commitment to supporting our school systems and teachers and getting more students back in the classroom."
"My goal is to get all of our students back in the classroom and this hold harmless funding will ensure our public schools can complete the school year and continue to bring students back to campuses for in-person learning. As always, we are grateful to those teachers across the state who have worked tirelessly during the pandemic to keep our students on track," said Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick.
Schools must continue to follow public health guidance issued by the TEA.
To read the full release, click here.