Budget Cuts & Public Education

Budget Cuts:

• School districts were not part of the 5% or 2.5% reductions ordered by leaders in the Texas Capitol during the current two-year budget. To date, no reduction in state funding to public schools has been made. Attributing current layoffs to state funding is disingenuous.

• Talk of teacher layoffs is unwarranted and premature. The state has not passed a final budget and the Governor and Legislature are working to craft a solution that will preserve as many teaching positions as possible.

• School district employment decisions are made at the local level and not at the direction of the state or Texas Legislature.

Education Budgets:

• From 1999-2009, total expenditures on public education increased by 95 percent, while student enrollment grew by only 20 percent. (See: the Financial Allocation Study for Texas at www.fastexas.org)

• Texas school districts currently have more than $10 billion in reserve funds. As of January 2011, Texas ISDs have $2.32 billion in stimulus funds that they have yet to spend – on top of $10 billion in cash reserves. (Per data from the Texas Education Agency)

• Since 1999, there has been a 36 percent increase in the number of public school administrators, while the number of teachers has increased by just 27 percent, and both have increased faster than student enrollment, which has grown by 20%. Districts are spending $10 billion a year to pay the salaries of staff that have very little, if any, contact with students. (See: the Financial Allocation Study for Texas at www.fastexas.org)

• If districts were to reduce the number of non-teaching staff by one-third they would save over $3 billion and if they cut non-teaching staff by half, they could reduce their operating costs by $5 billion. (Per data from the Texas Education Agency)

Bottom Line:

Educational attainment is not a function of spending. If it were, Washington, D.C., which spends more than $17,000 per student– more than any school system in the nation – would have the highest student performance in the country. Yet in 2009, they had the lowest SAT reading and math scores in the nation. (Per the National Education Association; see: www.nea.org/assets/docs/010rankings.pdf)