It’s official: Legislative arm details education cuts

With the campaign season drawing nigh, you can expect a number of incumbent state legislators to continue trying to cover their backsides with denials that they voted last spring to slash funding for the public schools. Now, you no longer have to take TSTA’s word for the fact that they are lying. The House Research Organization, an arm of the Legislature that deals with facts rather than political gamesmanship, has issued its official report, detailing how bad the cuts were.

The report, entitled, “Texas Budget Highlights” (Lowlights would have been better) is linked at the bottom of this post.

Among other things, the report notes that state aid to school districts through funding formulas and holdharmless provisions in the Foundation School Program will be reduced by $4 billion over the next two years. Sound familiar? And, it points out, an additional $1.3 billion has been cut from public education grants outside the Foundation School Program.

Major programs and initiatives NOT funded include:

# new instructional facilities
# teacher mentor programs
# certain dropout prevention programs, including the Texas High School Completion Success Initiative
# prekindergarten grants
# extended school day and extended school year programs
# life skills classes for teen parents
# science labs
# background checks for school personnel
# arts education grant

And, here are some other lowlights:

# A $263 million cut in the Student Success Initiative, a grant program to help students unlikely to meet the new STAAR testing requirements.
# A #104.1 million reduction in general revenue funding for textbooks and other instructional materials
# A $146.5 million cut in spending on the Teacher Retirement System pension fund
# A $120 million reduction in spending on TRSCare, the public education retiree health insurance program. The state’s contribution rate to TRSCare will be cut in half in fiscal 2013. Retirees may see an increase in their health insurance premiums.

This is just the education part of the budget, folks. When the deniers keep denying and they will DON’T BELIEVE THEM!


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