AUSTIN, Texas - Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Education Agency say that funding will be made available to Texas school systems to help support in-person instruction for the rest of the current school year.
The "hold harmless" will be made available to school systems that have seen enrollment and attendance drop due to COVID-19, as long as current levels of on-campus attendance are maintained or increased.
Districts will be funded on attendance in line with projections made prior to the public health crisis, says the governor's office. This will ensure that school systems in Texas can retain their teachers for the 2020-21 school year for whom they originally budgeted.
"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 in a release. "Providing a hold harmless for the remainder of the 2020-2021 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."
This final semester of hold harmless means Texas districts have been held harmless for three consecutive semesters — Spring Semester of the 2019-20 academic year and the entirety of the 2020-21 academic year.
The hold harmless allocates funding above the statutory guaranteed level of funding for students who are not enrolled, or for students who attend, even if remotely, less frequently, says the governor's office. For the current spring semester, funding is being provided as long as on-campus attendance participation rates do not decline or those rates otherwise remain high at at least 80 percent.
TEA has published documents online that note the baseline on-campus attendance participation rates of every Texas school system in fall 2020.