Monday, February 28, 2011

Possible Alternatives to Widespread Layoffs

Natalie Brown is a teacher in Dallas ISD who may be one of the 3,100 employees laid off in DISD alone due to cuts in the state budget this year. According to an article by the San Antonio Express, those severe budget cuts are predicted to remove $10 billion in funding from public education in Texas.

"The scariest thing is that you realize you can't go to another school district to find a job," Brown said. View her full story from WFAA below.

Video and full text can be found here.

According to Texas law as it is now, school districts have no choice but to lay off employees in order to balance their budgets. However, two bills submitted during this legislative session offer school districts more flexibility over their budgets.

Senate Bill 468, submitted on Feb. 1 by Sen. Florence Shapiro, proposes giving school districts more local control and the elimination of mandates that prohibit reducing teacher salaries.

Sen. Dan Patrick submitted Senate Bill 443 on Jan. 31, which also provides more flexibility and control for school districts. According to an article from the Coppell Gazette, the bill would allow a district-wide average of 21 students per class instead of the current classroom cap of 22-1.

The bills have been referred to the Education Committee for further review. If passed by the Senate, both would become effective Sept. 1 and the removal of salary mandates would impact the 2012-2013 school year.

-Kaitlyn Van Gorkom

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