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Texas schools adapt to changes

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

Did you know that Texas has 5.1 million students in school? That's the equivalent of the population of Colorado!
According to the Texas Education Agency's Snapshot 2014, our schools continue to deal with changes as enrollment increases. Ethnic diversity is one area of change. TEA reports that in 2014 enrollment numbers included 51.8 percent Hispanic, 29.4 percent Anglo, 12.7 percent African American and 3.7 percent Asian.
The state has 1,227 school districts. That number includes 202 charter schools. Some school districts have fewer students than the graduating classes of our largest schools. There are 429 districts with 500 or fewer students. Occasional attempts to merge smaller districts have generally met with defeat due to strong community ties and identification with the local schools.
According to TEA, the largest school district in the state, Houston ISD, has 210,716 students. The next three are Dallas ISD, with 159,487; Cypress-Fairbanks ISD in Harris County, with 111,173; and Northside ISD in Bexar County, with 101,549.
Texas classifies 60.2 percent of students in our public schools as economically disadvantaged and 17.5 percent are English language learners.
Texas school districts employ the equivalent of 656,000 full time employees with 51 percent of those being teachers, 9.4 percent educational aides, 13.2 percent administrative employees and 26.3 percent auxiliary staff.
Texas' average teacher salary is $49,692, average administrative salary is $72,764, and average administrative salary at the central offices is $94,630. Our average teacher has 11.2 years of experience and almost a quarter of our teachers have advanced degrees. About one teacher in six quits every year.
The number of students per teacher in public schools is 15.4 percent. Our schools spend an average of $8,327 per year per student, which includes instructional expenditures that make up about half of that expense.
Bandera ISD
How does Bandera ISD compare to these state-wide statistics?
BISD has a total student population of 2,369. Anglos make up 66.2 percent of the total, Hispanics make up 30.6 percent and African Americans make up .5 percent.
A little over 51 percent of our students are classified as economically disadvantaged.
English language learners make up 3.8 percent of enrollees and 9.7 percent are in special education programs.
Average teacher salary in the BISD is $50,188; average administrative salary is $72,259, and average central administrative salary is $87,977.
The number of students per teacher averages 14.5.
Our teachers have an average of 14.3 years of experience, and 24.6 percent have advanced degrees. The teacher turnover rate is 14.5 percent.
The district spends an average of $8,654 per student per year.
Medina ISD
Looking at Medina ISD, we find 69.6 percent of their students are Anglo, 26.3 percent are Hispanic, and 1.5 percent are African American in a total population of 270 students.
Almost 56 percent of Medina's students are economically disadvantaged. Seven percent of Medina's students are English Language learners and 10.7 percent benefit from special education programs.
Average teacher salary in MISD is $40,487, average administrative salary is $80,732, and average central office administrative salary is $73,024.
The school averages 7.9 students per teacher.
Medina's teachers average 13.6 years of experience and the turnover rate was a rather high 36 percent according to the 2014 Snapshot.
The district spends an average of $14,941 per student per year. That seemingly high figure is an "economy of scale," explained MISD Superintendent Penny White. "We have fewer students, but we offer a full curriculum and our extra curricular programs." White also did not anticipate seeing as high a teacher turnover rate for the 2015 year.