Texas Progressive Alliance Releases Preliminary Tally of School District Job Cuts, Resignations in Just 60 School Districts
AUSTIN—More than 12,000 Texas public school teachers, librarians, administrators, and support staff have left their school job in the roughly three months since the Texas Legislature released proposed budget figures for the 2012-2013 biennium, according to data released Tuesday by the Texas Progressive Alliance.
“There is no bunk in these numbers,” said Vince Leibowitz, chair of the Alliance, a group of progressive online activists including more than 50 netroots activists, bloggers, and online writers from across Texas. “These numbers are the cold, hard, truth and show precisely how significant an impact the proposed budget is already having on school districts across the state,” Leibowitz said.
More alarming, he noted, is that the more than 12,000 layoffs, firings, and voluntary or forced retirements represent only a fraction of the devastating toll the proposed budget is taking on public education. “These reductions come from a grand total of 60 of the state’s 1,234 school districts, less than five percent of all school districts statewide,” he noted. “Imagine how high this number will be when data is collected for all of these school districts,” he continued.
The Alliance collected the data from publicly available sources including newspapers, television stations, and other media outlets that cover Texas school boards. The data was compiled by members of the Alliance and includes districts from all parts of the state.
The data was released on the heels of an announcement by the Texas Legislative Budget Board that the proposed budget being considered by the Legislature will be the first since at least 1984 that does not adequately fund public school formula funding and makes no allowance for enrollment growth.
“Yesterday, Senator Ogden was quoted as saying that Texas school districts could ‘live with,’ five percent cuts,” said Charles Kuffner, Vice Chair of the Alliance. “Evidently, Senator Ogden and Republicans in the Legislature, Governor Perry, and our state leadership think losing 12,000 public school employees, increasing class sizes, and reducing the quality of instruction are worth living with. We do not,” Kuffner stated.
The Alliance will continue to track school district layoffs through the start of the 2011-2012 school year and today will ask readers of their blog to help them track this critically important number in ISDs across the state.
Founded in 2006, the Texas Progressive Alliance includes more than 50 member online and netroots activists from across Texas. Dedicated to promoting progressive ideals and shaping a better Texas, the Alliance annually names a “Texan of the Year,” publishes a weekly round-up of the best stories from Texas’ progressive blogosphere, and periodically weighs in on matters of public policy in Texas. In 2008, the Alliance was instrumental in bringing the Netroots Nation convention to Texas which featured as guests former Vice President Al Gore, General Wesley Clark, and then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
12,354 Fewer Jobs – The Numbers
Note – As best as possible, the Texas Progressive Alliance attempted to avoid counting projected job loss figures. The numbers below should reflect jobs that have already been cut and positions that have promised not to be fulfilled. In some cases, news reports reported several totals of jobs reduced or positions not filled; in those cases, the Texas Progressive Alliance used the lowest and most certain of the figures.
UPDATE #1: Diboll ISD, 5 more. New total – 12,358. Source – KTRE, 4/27/11
UPDATE #2: Refugio ISD, 14 more. New total – 12,372. Source – Refugio Country Press, 4/25/11
This information should make any Texans furious!!!! This is from mismanagement of the state by the ruling party-The Republicans. To give a cut in property taxes and say that sales tax would make up the difference was insane. The Comptrollers Office told them it would not work before they passed it during the last Legislative session but they ignored the Comptroller who is a member of their own party. The Republican Party would rather give tax cuts and allowances to the rich in Texas and ignore the facts about Texas Education. We have one of the highest drop out rates in the Nation. We spend less on our students.
If this trend continues in Texas, Texas Universities will have to stop accepting Texans as students because they will be so far behind any other students unless they attended a private school. A Good Public Education should be a Mandate from the State not just a worthless phrase passed around to make them sound good. Cut the loop holes in state taxes, stop not collecting taxes from major corporations in Texas, stop giving tax deals to the wealthy, quit siphoning funds from our schools to pay for other projects in Texas and FUND OUR SCHOOLS!!!!!