Cost of School Discipline Scrutinized
State lawmakers met today to talk about discipline policies in Texas public schools, on the heels of a report that found disciplinary programs and school security in Texas don’t come cheap.
The report, by the school monitoring group Texas Appleseed, looked at 11 school districts, urban, suburban and rural. It found that out-of-school suspension, expulsion, alternative schools and policing cost those districts $227 million a year. Kathryn Freeman, a lawyer for Texas Appleseed, says
“I think the goal is, across the board, teachers, administrators, legislatures, we want to see Texas schoolchildren successful in schools,” said Kathryn Freeman, a lawyer for Texas Appleseed. “And if there’s something that we could be doing better to ensure that happens at a lower cost, then we want to be able to do that.”
The Austin school district spends an average of $6.6 million per year on school discipline. Sally Rothenberg, head of the district’s learning support services, says cutting costs is not their main objective.
“The primary focus really is on what do we need to provide the students so that they will be successful and we will reduce the rate of recidivism,” Rothenberg said.
The Senate Education and Criminal Justice committees met today to review school disciplinary practices. And senators from both parties said the state may have gone too far in imposing zero-tolerance policies.