Comptroller Issues Report on Education Debt in Texas 10/25/2012
CBS 7 News
October 25, 2012
Today in Austin, Texas Comptroller Susan Combs released the third report in a series focused on transparency entitled, "Texas Itís Your Money."
The report provides a snapshot of how much debt public and higher education institutions in Texas are carrying. The report also includes recommendations intended to provide greater transparency regarding education-related public debt in Texas and reduce debt across public and higher education.
Outstanding debt issued by Texas public schools and Texas institutions of higher learning is mounting faster than the general rate of inflation and the growth of enrollment.
Public school districts have the largest outstanding share of local government debt in Texas.
In fiscal 2011, public school debt was $63.6 billion or $13,530 for every student in a school district with debt. Of Texasí 1,024 school districts, 854 have outstanding debt. Debt service payments have increased from 7 percent to 9.8 percent of total school district expenditures, making them the fastest-rising spending category in Texas public education during the past decade.
The debt burden of higher education has risen sharply as well. Since 2002, state university and college enrollment rose by 32 percent, while outstanding debt increased by 246 percent.
Although some public school districts, community and junior colleges, and public colleges and universities provide clear notice of new projects they plan to fund with long-term debt, taxpayers are not always aware of the magnitude of the debt being issued.
This report is the third in a series of reports aimed at helping taxpayers know more about all the ways in which their wallets are impacted.
The fourth report will focus on shining a light on public pensions in Texas.