NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

The Texas Taxpayer Savings Grant Program

July 5, 2011

The Texas Taxpayer Savings Grant Program is designed to reduce the amount of general revenue spent on public education by reducing enrollment in and the associated costs of the state's public K-12 schools.  The program works by reimbursing parents and legal guardians for "the amount of actual tuition costs or 60 percent of the state average per pupil spending maintenance and operations expenditures, whichever is less," should they choose to enroll their child in a private school, rather than a Texas public school, says Talmadge Heflin, director of the Center for Fiscal Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

  • Students eligible for the program must be either entering kindergarten for the first time in Texas or have been enrolled in a Texas public school the previous year.
  • This will allow the program to generate savings, rather than add a cost burden to Texas taxpayers by using state money to fund students already enrolled in private schools.
  • The savings generated from the Texas Taxpayer Savings Grant Program stem from reductions in maintenance and operations (M&O) per pupil spending on students participating in the program.
  • Currently, Texas spends $8,572 on average for M&O per student.
  • Assuming that every student received the maximum grant of 60 percent of their M&O cost ($5,143), Texas would save $3,429 per participating student.

The amount of savings generated by the Texas Taxpayer Savings Grant Program depends on a number of factors, the most significant of which is student participation.  Per a study by the Heartland Institute, the grants should generate around $2 billion in savings over the 2012-2013 biennium, says Heflin.

Source: Talmadge Heflin, "The Texas Taxpayer Savings Grant Program," Texas Public Policy Foundation, June 2011.

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