The money is waiting for us

As Texas schools reopen next week, some with fewer educators than they employed last spring and most struggling with budgetary problems, it is a good time to remember that the federal government is ready to help ease the pain. The emergency jobs bill that President Obama signed last week includes $830 million for educators’ jobs in Texas.

All Gov. Perry has to do is quit conjuring up politically inspired reasons for opposing the money and apply for it. Maybe he will, particularly if school board members, superintendents, teachers and parents start bombarding his office with phone calls and emails demanding that he do so.

And, if you want some extra incentive for making a call, click on the link at the end of this post. It provides an estimated breakdown of how much each district can expect to receive from the emergency pot. The list, prepared by Moak, Casey & Associates, has been making the rounds and already is posted on TSTA’s Facebook page. If you haven’t already seen it, it is worth a look.

Houston ISD stands to gain an estimated $66.7 million; Dallas ISD, $52.2 million; San Antonio ISD, $21.1 million; and Austin ISD, almost $17.5 million. Even a smaller district, such as San Angelo ISD, would receive an estimated $2.6 million.

The money won’t solve the state’s basic school finance problems. Only the Legislature, the governor and (most likely) some sensible judges can do that. But the money will help school districts pay for educators’ jobs at a particularly crucial time.

The money is fully funded by offsets in other parts of the federal budget. So, it doesn’t add to the federal deficit.

There are a couple of things, however, that the money is not.

First, it is not intended to allow a school district to hire an assistant gofer for the superintendent or a new Director of Innovative Innovation. It is not for the central office. It is for educators’ jobs at the campus level.

And, second, it is not designed to enrich teachers’ unions, despite the ranting of a rightwing columnist I read this week. The money is designed to save educators’ jobs, and it is coming (to Texas, we hope) just in time for a new school year.


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