Villarreal, school advocates urge state leaders to undo cuts

By Robert T. Garrett, Dallas Morning News Reporter

A Democratic lawmaker and other public school advocates on Tuesday urged state leaders next session to use “newly disclosed” billions in revenue that exceeds official state forecasts to start undoing last year’s education cuts.

State GOP leaders are going to have at least $12.5 billion to use to ease harmful cuts in the two-year budget they write next session, said Rep. Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio.

“There are no excuses. We have the money. … Stop sitting on it,” said Villarreal, who was flanked by leaders of teacher groups and education boosters at a Capitol news conference.

“Prepare to reverse the cuts that happened last session,” Villarreal said, citing elimination of about 11,000 teacher positions and full day, pre-kindergarten instruction programs. “Our children have been harmed by them,” he said.

The education groups said their outcry was sparked by last month’s tightfisted request by the Texas Education Agency for funding in the next budget cycle.
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