Setting the record straight on education funding in Texas

March 06, 2012

Public and higher education funding represents the lion’s share of the state budget. That has been true in the past and is still true even after this past legislative session, though to hear the moaning and groaning from edu-crats, you would not believe it. Well, the moaning continues.

An organization called Save Texas Schools is planning a state-wide march and rally to protest what they call “underfunding and over-testing” in Texas schools.
The North Texas Tea Party has done a great job smoking out the group Save Our Schools and identifying just who the players are – and their findings may surprise you.

This group wanting to save our schools isn’t intent on saving our students – just saving the bureaucrats’ jobs. Their plan is to have teachers and parents protest at the Capitol on March 24.
This is a group created to instill fear in parents that massive teacher layoffs would take place if the legislature didn’t continue to fund public education at the rate we have in the past – according to the Comptroller’s office, that is five times the growth of student population.

The Texas Budget Source has come up with a survey that reveals 3.8% of Texas public school teachers lost their jobs this year. Could be due to their performance, could be due to changing classroom needs and could be due to budget cuts. But thanks, Texas Budget Source, for revealing that the “sky is falling” predictions didn’t happen and that there were no massive layoffs due to education funding.

The survey found that out of more than 159,000 teachers employed in 47 of the districts that responded, about 6,000 classroom teachers lost their jobs after the 2010-11 school year.

However, the Red Apple Project has revealed that only 50% of the school district employees are teachers. And the state-wide number of students per teacher is 14.5 students for each teacher employed, according to the latest Texas Education Agency snapshot which contains data supplied to TEA by the ISD’s.

It might be important to note that teachers earn over $8,000 less than “average professional support staff”, and teachers earn over $22,000 less than average school administrative staff. Central administrative staff salaries average almost $40,000 more than teachers.

Should taxpayers be asked to pay more for public education?

It would appear to most taxpayers that with these numbers, the school districts would be wise to cut out-of-classroom staff and focus more of the available dollars on teachers and students.

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