POSTED: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - 5:26pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - 8:04pm
The cuts to public education in Texas will be drastic, some say devastating.
But some say they could be reduced if the state would tap the state’s Rainy Day Fund.
The fund was raided earlier in the session to balance this year’s budget.
So why not the next two year spending plan? That’s the question teachers would like answered.
With districts facing teacher layoffs and larger classes, and the first reduction in state education funding since World War II, the Texas Branch of the American Federation of Teachers held a press conference in front of Hogg Middle School.
”For the first time, there is a glimmer of hope that the legislature will do what Senator Kevin Eltife called a no braine,” says Louis Malfaro of Texas A-F-T. “And use some of the state’s rainy day fun to mitigate the drastic cuts that are coming to public schools.”
The cuts in TISD will total 5.4% next year and 7.5% the year after.
Teacher Jill Hackler of Chapel Hill says Larger Class sizes are more problematic than when the Baby Boomers sat in classes of 32 and more back in the 50’s and 60’s.
“What used to be taught in second grade is now taught in first or even kindergarten,” she told KETK. “The demands on the children and what they know at a much earlier age are so much more.”
Carol Foley is a mother with two children at Rice Elementary.
“How is it going to be possible for the teachers to continue to meet every child where they are,” Foley said. “I mean that’s the wonderful thing about public education is that every child is met where they are. That’s the goal. That’s the idea.”
Hackler thinks the resistance to using the rainy day fund is politics more than anything else.
“I think it is. I think it is,” she told us. “But if they would just visit our schools and see the children that we’re working with, the number. They said earlier, the 22-1 ratio, and they want to raise it to 25. As an educator, I’d love to see it go down to 18.”
There is a bill acceptable to the House that would not touch the current fund but allow any future money coming into the fund to go to schools.
It’s a silly distinction, but one that is important to teachers. And they want Senator Eltife on board.