All Points: Money in the bank, but not for school cuts

Posted Sunday, Mar. 31, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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So far, the Legislature does not seem inclined to restore enough funding to make up for the $5.4 billion in school spending cuts initiated two years ago even though money is available.

Are you satisfied with that?

No to privatization

Absolutely not! Our Legislature did this funding cut for austerity purposes. The money is in the treasury and should be used to make up the cuts districts have had to deal with for two years. The failure to fund public education is a move toward privatization of our school system.

-- Kandy Shelton, Alvord

It's a rainy day

There is money available. If this isn't a rainy day, then what is? Our public schools are far from what they should be. Come on, Texas!

-- Anna Randals, Fort Worth

Long-term investment

No, I won't be satisfied if the Legislature fails to restore the funding it took from education, and neither should anyone else.

Somehow, we must learn to take the long view. Sure, the governor can use his several slush funds to entice businesses to move here now, bringing with them jobs requiring minimal skills and paying minimal wages. But, what of the jobs of the future? Will there be a workforce in Texas with the education and skills needed to obtain and succeed in those jobs?

Rather than giving big oil and big gas deductions for the alleged risks they take in drilling, and spending money to arm teachers to gain the NRA's support, we should allocate funds to reduce the number of students in classrooms, offer pre-school education everywhere and pay effective teachers a salary commensurate with the enormous contribution they are making to a preferable future.

-- Paul W. Hartman, Fort Worth

Truth, not hype

A cut. Do it for the children. Two phrases that have been the source of more waste than any to date.

Was it a cut or just $5.4 billion less than they were requesting? Did they spend $5.4 billion less than the last session?

Let's step back and separate the hype from the truth. It will take an honest press to accomplish that task.

-- John Sheppard, Grapevine

$$ not the answer

I spent 29 years teaching in public school classrooms. During that entire time, I have heard mainly Democrat politicians, the latest being Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth, claim that if Texas would only provide "adequate" funding, our public schools would provide the education required by the Texas Constitution.

I have always had a major problem with that view. I have never heard a single dollar amount given based on some defined performance criteria for establishing what "adequate" looks like. "Adequate" to progressive Democrats like Davis simply means "more" than what the Legislature has allocated.

The per-pupil spending numbers they offer as justification are statistically bogus. Just look at Washington, D.C., and New York, as they spend at or near the most per pupil but often score below national averages on performance.

The amount of money spent is not the problem.

-- Michael Sexton, Fort Worth

Local frustration

Members of the Lege cut $5.4 billion in school spending two years ago in order, they said, to avoid running out of money. Yet, we now know there will be $8.8 billion left over at the end of this fiscal year -- enough money to have avoided the cuts to education entirely.

Now, instead of rectifying the disorder they caused, they propose to return a fraction of the money they withheld.

As a local official who must deal with the vagaries of financing from Austin, I find this very frustrating.

-- Ann Sutherland, Fort Worth,

Fort Worth school trustee,

District 6

Fulfill obligations

In 2006, state leadership mandated a property tax cut for local school districts and planned to supplement the lost income with additional state money, funded by a franchise tax the comptroller warned would never generate enough revenue.

By some estimates, half of the deficit in the last session was a result of this bad law. Rather than fixing their mistake, members of the Legislature failed to live up to their obligation and fund enrollment growth in public schools, leaving our districts to scramble to fix the problem the state created.

Now, the state has the money to meet its obligations and fully fund education, and, while Sen. Wendy Davis and Reps. Lon Burnam and Nicole Collier, among others, are fighting to make sure our funding is restored, it seems that the leadership has no intention of doing so.

I say to the leadership, meet your obligations to Texas children and fully fund our schools.

-- Ryan E. Ray, Fort Worth,

Crowley school board member, Place 5

Legislative failure

It is unacceptable that many of my colleagues refuse to fully restore the cuts to public education, especially when we have money sitting in the bank unspent. Not only are we not spending all available funds for the next two years, but we have also so far not approved any money for the current year to set up summer schools for the kids who fail the Legislature-mandated tests while dealing with Legislature-mandated budget cuts.

Sometimes, it seems like we are deliberately setting up public schools to fail, and, after seeing the recent proposals for private school vouchers, it's hard not to come to that conclusion.

Several fellow legislators and I will try to amend the budget to restore hundreds of millions of dollars in education funding. I urge you to see where your representative's priorities really lie.

-- State Rep. Lon Burnam, Fort Worth

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