Doing More with Less: Correlations Between Texas State Budget Reductions and Economically Disadvantaged Student Achievement in Texas Public Schools

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Educational Administration

Date of Award

Fall 2013


Currently, there are just under 5 million students enrolled in Texas public schools (Texas Education Agency [TEA], 2012b). Of those students, two-thirds are considered economically disadvantaged (TEA, 2012b). This number has steadily increased over the years and is of importance for researchers because of the potential economic impact of continued low achievement. Throughout the years, research has focused on per pupil expenditures and the corresponding affect on student achievement. However, to date, little research has validated a correlation between the two. The purpose of this study was to examine correlations between budget reductions in Chapter 41 and Chapter 42 districts and their impact, if any, on economically disadvantaged student achievement. The study determined whether the number of class size waivers has increased proportionally to the amount of budget reductions and examined the corresponding affect that increased class sizes have on student achievement for economically disadvantaged students in Chapter 41 and Chapter 42 school districts. The backdrop of the study was the 2010-2011 Texas $4 billion cut to the state's education line item. Results can inform future policy makers of how districts manage budgetary cuts and the impact such cuts have on economically disadvantaged students within the state. The results of the study further solidified existing research that no statistically significant (p < .05) differences exist between student achievement and per pupil revenues in grades 3-8 mathematics and reading. However, a more thorough review of the data indicates a statistically significant increase in the number of class size waivers filed in Texas. This increase resulted in economically disadvantaged students in Chapter 42 districts outperforming their peers in Chapter 41 districts, albeit not at a level of statistical significance. More importantly, further research is needed to determine the long-term effects of budget reductions on a growing segment of the Texas population as the economic success of the state is dependent on these students.


Maria Hinojosa

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Administration and Supervision