Texas Schools Cope with Draconian Budget Cuts

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This weekend, the New York Times ran an illuminating story about the methods that Texas's school districts are using to cope with the 2011 Legislature's $5.4 billion slash to public education funds.

  • Hutto ISD stopped bus service to students within two miles of the school, which saved $25,000.
  • Keller ISD is now charging families for bus service – this year, between $185 and $355.
  • Dripping Springs ISD cut back heavily on custodial staff. Now, teachers have to clean their own classrooms on the days janitors aren't there. The aim is to save $149,000.

Children at Risk found that districts across Texas eliminated 25,286 positions through retirements, resignations and layoffs, including 10,717 teaching jobs.

“I've been in education 42 years, and I've been a superintendent about 25 of those 42 years, and this is the worst that I've ever had to cut,” said John Folks, superintendent of Northside ISD in San Antonio, which is suing the state for unjustifiably harming Texas schools. Northside ISD had to eliminate 973 positions.

When asked in February whether there should be a special legislative session to address the public education crisis, Rick Perry replied, “How that money's spent is the bigger issue.” No. The bigger and biggest issue is that our schools are unable to provide a decent education for our children because our state government has its sights set on the approval of the 1%, not the success of Texans. The Republican-controlled Legislature cut education to the bone because of their bone-headed refusal to raise revenue, but also because they want Texans to be stupid and compliant. Education hurts that goal. So Republicans hurt Texas.

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About Author

Ben Sherman

Ben Sherman has been a BOR staff writer since 2011. A graduate of the University of Texas, Ben has worked on campaigns, in political consulting, and has written for other news outlets like Think Progress. Ben considers campaign finance reform the fundamental challenge of our time because it distorts almost every other issue in American politics.

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