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TEA announces funding for Texas schools to support in-person learning



TX— On Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Education Agency (TEA) announced a “hold harmless” to Texas school systems for the rest of the academic year.

As part of the agreement, funding will be available to school systems in Texas that have seen enrollment and attendance drop thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, as long as they maintain or increase current levels of on-campus attendance.

According to Abbott, districts will be funded on attendance in line with projections made prior to the public health crisis. That will allow schools to retain their teachers for the 2020-21 school year for whom they originally budgeted. A similar “hold harmless” agreement was made for spring semester of the 2019-20 academic year and the rest of the 2020-21 academic year.

“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 Abbott. “Providing a hold harmless for the remainder of the 2020-21 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.”

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said his goal was to “get all of our students back in the classroom.”

“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,” said Patrick. “As always, we are grateful to those teachers across the state who have worked tirelessly during the pandemic to keep our students on track.”

The TEA has issued health guidelines for schools amid the pandemic, including masks, screening practices, improvements in ventilation, the use of rapid COVID-19 tests and improved hygiene procedures. This week it was announced all Texas educators are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Schools in Texas typically receive funding based on the number of students enrolled and daily attendance rates. Since the start of the pandemic, the TEA has provided flexibility to ensure funding for school systems, whether the attendance was in-person or remote. The hold harmless allocates funding above the statutory guaranteed level for students who are not enrolled, or for students who attend (even if remotely) less frequently. For the current second semester, it is being provided as long as on-campus attendance participation rates do not decline or those rates otherwise remain high (at least 80%).