Texas Public Schools Require More Funding to Serve Hispanics, Expert Testifies

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A rapidly growing Hispanic enrollment will require the state and school districts to spend more money because so many of the students come from poor families, a population expert testified Tuesday.

Former state demographer Steve Murdock, the first witness called in the Texas school finance trial, said that while white enrollment in schools is down 10.2 percent over the last decade, the Hispanic student population is up 50.3 percent. Hispanics now make up nearly 53 percent of children in the state’s schools.

By 2050, he noted, the student population will be 64 percent Hispanic and just 15.5 percent white.

At the same time, he said, the number of students from low-income families has jumped sharply, a reflection of the fact that 26.8 percent of Hispanics in Texas — and 27.7 percent in Dallas — live below the poverty level. Among whites, 9.5 percent in Texas and 8.9 percent in Dallas live below the poverty level.

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