McCown: Texas shouldn’t reduce spending at the expense of its education system

by F. Scott McCown, contributor to
Published: March 27, 2011

Because Gov. Rick Perry and the Texas Legislature are moving to underfund public education by billions, schools are preparing to fire teachers and slash programs. The House is considering shortchanging school funding formulas by almost $8 billion, while the Senate is looking at almost $4 billion. In addition, both are planning to all but eliminate state funding outside the formulas such as pre-kindergarten grants, science lab grants, the Advanced Placement incentive program and the teacher incentive pay program.

If Perry and the House have their way, the state will underfund schools by about 16 percent. The Senate wants to do better, though it is unclear where it will get the money. Perry has drawn a line in the sand — refusing to use the rainy day fund or add any new tax revenue to balance the next budget.

If the Legislature took a balanced approach that included using our savings in the rainy day fund and adding new revenue, it could dramatically minimize the damage. But Perry argues that schools don’t really need the money.

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