TEA Publishes Education/Transportation Study Coauthored by Dennis Jansen

Jan 22, 2021
Summary: The report, “A Study on Geographic Education Cost Variations and School District Transportation Costs” by Dennis Jansen, Lori Taylor, Timothy Gronberg, and Caroline Bartlett was recently published by the Texas Education Agency (TEA).
Commissioned by the TEA in accordance with Texas House Bill 3, this report studies the geographic differences in the cost of education that arise from uncontrollable differences in wages and salaries, as well as from cost factors other than wage levels. The authors also investigate differences in the cost of student transportation and offer cost-realignment strategies for the Foundations School Program and Transportation Allotment protocols.
The authors devise new models that take into account both controllable and uncontrollable factors in order to estimate costs more accurately. A new Texas Teacher Cost Index, which uses wage data from the six most recent school years, also controls for teacher characteristics in order to better estimate the cost of hiring a new teacher in different regions of the state. For administrative, non-teaching personnel, a separate cost index is used.
A transportation model identifies the role controllable and uncontrollable cost factors, such as number of miles travelled, labor and fuel costs, the number of student riders and their dispersion, and other environmental factors, in order to determine total district transportation costs. These estimates are then used to determine the efficiency of each district’s transportation expenditures.
The report was submitted to the Texas Legislature as part of the 86th Texas Legislative session.