Photo by Santi Vedrí on Unsplash

In this research brief, Houston Education Research Consortium researchers examine Houston ISD's general fund budgeting strategy to see how much money schools received and how they were used during the 1999-2000 through 2015-2016 school years. 

Key findings include:

  • Middle schools and high schools had larger total general fund budgets and more per-student spending than elementary schools.
  • Small schools had higher per-student spending than non-small schools, even though their total general fund budgets were not different.
  • Schools with a higher proportion of economically disadvantaged students had larger total general fund budgets while having slightly lower per-student spending. 
  • Enrollment size was the best predictor of key personnel at a school, with larger schools being more likely to have assistant principals, counselors, nurses and librarians.

This brief is the final part of a larger study that addresses four topics — the history of decentralization, the satisfaction and attitudes towards the current model, the impact on students and, finally, the impact on funding equity — related to decentralization in Houston ISD.