Thursday, March 10, 2011

Perspective on Public School Funding Problem in Texas

It's amazing to me that there are some people, especially in the communities that will be effected most profoundly, don't know the origin's of Texas' public education funding woes. 
Jim Shutze, Dallas Observer columnist (and thorn in the flesh for many at the Dallas Morning News) outlines both the political and philosophical origins...
"...the warnings of this crisis about to engulf us in our own public school system in Dallas were so uncannily specific. Five years ago when Texas Governor Rick Perry led the way to gut property tax support for schools, then-State Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhornwarned the legislature it was writing "the largest hot check in Texas history.""
"Strayhorn looked at the amount the Republicans were chopping from property taxes. Then she looked at the amount by which proposed new business taxes were clearly inadequate. She predicted the total state budget shortfall would be $23 billion in five years."
"This is five years. The deficit is $27 billion."

"Perry managed to paper it over for two years by engaging in ludicrous hypocrisy over theObama stimulus funds—refusing to dirty his right hand with the money while he palmed the money in the other hand to stave off the inevitable."

"The 2010-2011 Dallas school budget is slated at $1.2 billion. But because the state is at least $27 billion in the hole, it won't come close to meeting the existing formula for state aid to local districts. As a result, the Dallas district faces a shortfall in its own budget of at least $168 million and maybe as much as $253 million, or 21 percent of its total budget."
"At a February 10 briefing, the school board was presented with options including firing 3,100 teachers from a total of 10,704 now employed, the sacking of 800 other support personnel and deep cuts in contracted services and supplies. Superintendent Michael Hinojosa told the board to be prepared for school closings in 2013, especially of "small schools," which some are taking as code for the entire magnet school system."
"Not that the big urban school districts are being singled out. Right now the state plans not to pay districts any new money for new students. Every new student will be a hole in a district's pocket—a savage penalty for growth."
If you don't like what's going on, the remedy is simple - VOTE!

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