Moments ago, by a vote of 29-2, the Texas Senate passed a budget that fails to restore all of the $5.4 billion cut from public education in the 2011 session. Democratic Senators Wendy Davis and Sylvia Garcia were the lone votes against it.
The chart below shows how this budget will not fully restore the cuts to public education made in the 2011 session. While it does add some funds, it establishes a “new normal” in depressed per-pupil spending that still robs our school children of the funds we now know were available to be spent last session, and are available now in the Rainy Day Fund.
The Texas State Teachers Association immediately issued the following statement on the budget vote:
TSTA: Senate budget neglects Texas school children
Texas State Teachers Association President Rita Haecker said today that she hopes the House does a better job than the Senate in addressing the needs of Texas public schools, educators and students.
“Our state senators should not be congratulating themselves for neglecting the school children of Texas. The budget plan they approved doesn't come close to restoring the $1,062 that the Legislature cut from each student two years ago,” Haecker said.
“Legislators must use all available funds, including the $12 billion Rainy Day Fund, to finish repairing the damage inflicted on the schools in 2011. This money belongs to the taxpayers, and most taxpayers expect lawmakers to spend part of it on their local public schools. There is enough money in the Rainy Day Fund to restore all the education cuts and meet other important state needs without raising another dime from Texas taxpayers,” Haecker added.
A recent bipartisan poll commissioned by TSTA showed that two-thirds of Texas voters believe that restoring the school funding cuts should be a top priority for using the Rainy Day Fund. The support was strong among Republicans, Democrats and independents.
The Senate budget plan would restore only $1.5 billion, about one-fourth, of the $5.4 billion slashed from public school budgets two years ago.