In the interest of politeness, I am reluctant to use the word, “lie.” But if state leaders continue to deny that they slashed $5.4 billion from the public education budget, which took effect today, their noses soon will stretch from Austin to El Paso. The numbers in the worst public education budget that Texas has seen in Gov. Perry’s lifetime are indefensible.
The article linked below regurgitates a couple of recent untruthful statements by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and a Perry spokeswoman, and they doubtlessly are being repeated with annoying regularity.
“We tightened the belt on administration. We reduced some of the spending for the Texas Education Agency, but we put more money in the classroom, because we know good teachers are the key,” Dewhurst recently told an audience in Houston.
The relevant test here is whether the governor and the Legislature enacted a public education budget that fully funded the state’s school finance requirements, including an anticipated enrollment growth of 170,000 over the next two years. They flunked miserably.
More money in the classroom? Not when teachers are losing their jobs, and class sizes are growing.
For the first time in more than 60 years, the public education budget fails to fund the state’s financial obligations to districts and meet enrollment growth. That failure is a $4 billion shortfall. Additionally, the budget cuts $1.4 billion from education grants for such important programs as fullday, prekindergarten and dropout prevention.
The total is a $5.4 billion cut, all the ridiculous revisionism to the contrary.
Paul Colbert, a school finance guru and former legislator, says state leaders who talk about increasing funding to schools “are being conservative with the truth.”
Colbert is too kind. They are throwing truth out the window.