Help Save Texas Public Schools – Buyout Offered


In this article posted in the Austin Statesman newspaper, continued discussion about the best way to fund the budget shortfall facing Texas public schools for the 2011-2012 school year.

Last week, Shapiro saw a way to fix a much-maligned component of the complex school finance system while also saving more than $5 billion over the next two years: eliminate the so-called target revenue provision.

That provision was part of school finance legislation enacted in 2006 in response to a Texas Supreme Court ruling. Lawmakers reduced local school property tax rates by one-third and dedicated more state money to the schools to replace the local money.

So no school district suffered as the balance of state and local money changed, lawmakers essentially froze the level of per-student revenue at what each school district was getting in 2005-06, the target revenue amount.

But that provision has exacerbated some funding inequities among districts, and Shapiro sees a chance to change that.

“If we have an opportunity at a time like this, I think we should avail ourselves of it,” Shapiro told fellow senators.

Last week, Shapiro saw a way to fix a much-maligned component of the complex school finance system while also saving more than $5 billion over the next two years: eliminate the so-called target revenue provision.

That provision was part of school finance legislation enacted in 2006 in response to a Texas Supreme Court ruling. Lawmakers reduced local school property tax rates by one-third and dedicated more state money to the schools to replace the local money.

So no school district suffered as the balance of state and local money changed, lawmakers essentially froze the level of per-student revenue at what each school district was getting in 2005-06, the target revenue amount.

But that provision has exacerbated some funding inequities among districts, and Shapiro sees a chance to change that.

“If we have an opportunity at a time like this, I think we should avail ourselves of it,” Shapiro told fellow senators.

Until recently, Eissler said he had not expected to make the full $9.8 billion reduction included in the proposed House budget. But now he has to follow through on that legislation, and deciding how to exact those reductions is weighing heavily on him, Eissler said.

The severity of the needed cuts hit him last week when the Texas Education Agency laid off scores of employees, he said.

“Those are real people losing jobs, and that’s depressing,” Eissler said.

Devastating doesn’t even begin to describe the reality of the situation.
Two large Texas cities are offering a buy out to those who indicate now they will resign or retire at the end of the school year. This is an attempt to layoff educators at the end of the school year. Up and down the highways, I have friends who have already been notified they will not have a position next year due to a lack of funding. Having had technology positions that lost their funding, I know first hand how devastating this can be. It takes a toll financially, emotionally, physically, etc. when one finds him/herself in this predicament. Knowing that this could be remedied by using the Rainy Day Fund to cover the financial deficits should be a no brainer. It is time to tell our representatives that their constituents will give the legislators that vote against using the Rainy Day Fund and instead allowing these layoffs to occur.

 

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