Texas Democrats on the , can you visualize $9.8 billion in education cuts?

Posted in 82nd Legislature, Around The State, Bad Government Republicans, Education, Public Schools, Take Action, Williamson County at 3:56 pm by wcnews

The Texas House Democratic Campaign Committee released a radio ad on education this week, Texas HDCC Fights Back Against Republican Cuts To Public Schools.

“Not too long ago, Rick Perry and the politicians in control scammed Texas taxpayers by building a permanent funding gap into our state budget. They knew at the time that they were planting a ticking time bomb into the budget. And this year, it exploded. Now, Texas is in the deepest budget hole seen in recent memory, with up to $27 billion less to take care of the essentials, like public schools.

Now these same politicians want to clean up their mess by eliminating 100,000 public school teachers and workers, packing 35 or more unruly kids into classrooms, and even kicking 100,000 kids out of Pre-K. We hope this ad encourages parents and communities to fight back against these devastating cuts that threaten to harm the future of countless Texas children.”

It’s the ‘ol GOP/Reagan starve-the-beast ploy. Run up deficits, or in this case a sh0rtfall, so high that the only way to fix it is to cut spending on education, health care, and social services in general.

Tip to BOR, Education: Tell It Like It Is.

This might just be one of the worst legislative sessions for public education in the history of legislative sessions. And it’s not quite campaign season, but voters should know about it. The GOP, in its managing of the budget, is definitely not pro-school.

Also Kuff has the particulars on a education funding bill “that would create a totally equalized school funding system with no rich or poor school districts”. It was filed this week by state Rep. Scott Hochberg (D-Houston). Kuff’s post also has the latest on the GOP’s education scheme, Hochberg’s “Let’s get real” bill.

Rep. Scott Hochberg has filed a school finance bill that he himself wouldn’t vote for. It’s to make sure everyone realizes what the proposed cuts to public education really mean.


The story also notes that the Senate Education Committee laid out two bills to give school districts “flexibility” in dealing with whatever lack of funds they are given. These are committee chair Sen. Florenence Shapiro’s SB3, which would among other things allow for furloughs and teacher pay cuts, and Sen. Dan Patrick’s SB443, which would raise the class size limit for grade K through 4. Abby Rapoport has a good summary of the discussion about those bills. This bit, about SB443, is the key:

The latter change is pretty straight forward. The state currently allows schools with an “exemplary” rating to forgo a variety of requirements. Since exemplary schools have the highest rank, the logic goes, they don’t need to be told how to provide an education. Patrick would let “recognized” campuses—the second tier in the ranking system—have the same privileges.

According the Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis, that would mean around 70 percent of campuses would be exempt from a whole lot of the state regulations. She questioned witnesses, and Patrick himself, with unveiled skepticism, arguing the bills were “using the budget crisis for purposes of changing policy.” Much like [Sen. Royce] West, she argued the only reason the Senate would consider such a rule change would be to help the districts save money in anticipation of inevitably deep cuts to education.

In other words, the Republican way to deal with education funding shortfalls is to lower our standards. That’s pretty much all there is to it.

What Hochberg is doing is putting a face on the education cuts. Here’s what his plan, based on HB 1 filed by GOP Appropriations chair Jim Pitts, would mean for the ISD’s in Williamson County.

Cuts Per ISD Per Student Cut
FLORENCE ISD 1,642,230.73 -1,137.93
GEORGETOWN ISD 20,913,209.98 -1,652.26
GRANGER ISD 796,491.92 -1,269.33
HUTTO ISD 8,061,941.71 -1,081.30
JARRELL ISD 3,271,434.03 -2,257.66
2,614,467.58 -761.18
ROUND ROCK ISD 68,402,255.41 -1,334.98
TAYLOR ISD 1,759,867.46 -428.88
THRALL ISD 1,056,480.57 -1,080.28
LEANDER ISD 57,518,597.81 -1,442.77
COUPLAND ISD 466,804.15 -2,154.42

Here’s a previous post, It’s a job killing budget – 190K statewide, 8,000 in Williamson County just in education, on the number of jobs that will be lost by ISD in Williamson County. That’s makes it pretty clear what’s going to happen. There’s more on Hochber’s bill here, What $9.8 Billion in Texas School Cuts Looks Like.

“We’ll be laying out a budget that cuts $9.8 billion out of the schools,” Hochberg said. “But that’s a number that doesn’t mean anything to a legislator unless they know that means you’re taking between $500 and $2,500 dollars” per weighted student out of their local district.

Hochberg’s bill, though, won’t likely make it to the House floor (odds are on Public Education Committee Chairman Rob Eissler’s), and he freely admits he doesn’t like his own legislation.

“Given the drastic effects on many district as a results of the budget cuts, I truly hope this bill is a starting line, not a finish line,” Hochberg said. “This is not a bill I would like to vote for as currently drawn.”

There is an alternative. But as long as the weatlhy and corporations in Texas are able to get away without paying their fair share in taxes, cuts are the only option.

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