A record $1.26 billion has been added to the Texas fund that supports K-12 education as a result of rapid growth in the state’s oil and gas business.
The Permanent School Fund now has more than $34 billion in its coffers, though only the interest income can be spent, according to the Associated Press.
The amount collected in fiscal year 2014 surpasses the contributions to the fund in any previous year, a spokesman for the Texas General Land Office told the San Antonio Express-News.
The spokesman, Jim Suydam, attributed the increase to expansion in oil and gas drilling on state lands.
Clay Robinson of the Texas State Teachers Association told the San Antonio Express-News that the additional money will help the state’s public education students, but that the state legislature needed to take further action to ensure adequate and equitable funding for schools across the state.
In August, state District Judge John Dietz ruled that the state’s school financing method was unconstitutional, reaffirming an oral decision he made from the bench in February 2013. Dietz said the state failed to adequately fund and evenly distribute aid between its poorer and wealthier districts.
“The extra money for public education will help,” Robinson told the paper in an email. “But unfortunately, it won’t change the fact that several hundred school districts in Texas will remain underfunded until the legislature comes up with a plan for adequately and fairly funding all Texas schools.”
A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.