Sunday, February 04, 2007

TEA Becomes Transparent

In a move towards transparency in government the Texas Education Agency has inexplicably put all of its payments since September 1, 2006 online. They’re showing their check register to the public in other words.

If you select Excel spreadsheet it gives you a pivot table in your browser window. I find these things marginally useful so I get rid of that formatting. I am a data wonk so I like my data sortable.

I wanted to know where the big ticket items in their payouts were so I isolated the top 25 school districts that have gotten the most funds. The top 25 districts with the largest payouts take 35% of the state funds. HISD takes the most, but I reasoned that they had the most students.

Giving me an idea.

I looked up the 2005-06 student population of each of these districts and added in that figure, then divided it into the funds. Very telling. Higher end more affluent districts like Dallas, Cy-Fair and Fort Bend are given fewer dollars per student than the lower end districts such as Laredo, La Joya and Brownsville.

I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

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