Saturday, April 30, 2011

Big Cuts for Public Education Across the Board

When it comes to public education in Texas, the two bills to watch out for in the legislature are HB 400 and SB 12

The bills would give school districts more control over their budgets, allowing them to increase class sizes, cut employee pay and offer more unpaid furlough days for teachers. Legislators feel that these two bills provide the best compromise between administrators and teachers according to an article from Bloomberg Businessweek.

Others aren’t convinced these methods are the best way to address the situation. Lonnie Hollingsworth, an attorney with the Texas Classroom Teachers Association told the Associated Press that eliminating the state mandated minimum salary for teachers “is the equivalent of swatting a fly with a sledgehammer.”

But Texas isn’t the only state faced with huge budget cuts forcing school districts to layoff teachers and increase class sizes. Other states such as California, Florida, Virginia and North Carolina are also struggling to deal with large budget cuts. 

According to an article from the Florida Courier, legislators in Florida are looking at a $1 billion cut to K-12 funding in the state, one of the largest cuts in its history. Virtual classes, teacher furloughs, layoffs, fewer buses and four day school weeks are just a few of the options Florida lawmakers are considering in order to manage the budget shortfall. 

Students from Tallahassee-area schools wait outside Gov. Rick Scott's office to protests cuts in education.
Photo courtesy of Michael Peltier/News Service of Florida.

In North Carolina, the budget proposed by the GOP calls for double-digit percentage spending cuts for public education according to an article from Bloomberg Businessweek.

The fact is that everyone is experiencing budget cuts this session and education will be taking a big hit. Now the only question that remains is whether the legislatures will use the fly swatter or the sledgehammer to do it.

-Kaitlyn Van Gorkom

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