Education Advocates Rally as Budget is Finalized
Back in March, several thousand school kids, educators and activists rallied at the Texas Capitol to protest what at the time was $8 billion in cuts to the public education budget. Friday that number dropped to about $4 billion (maybe even less based on new property value numbers says my friend Kate Alexander at the Statesman) when the House and Senate announced a budget agreement.
So when it came rally time today - the crowd was small - very small. I counted about 40 protestors outside the House chamber doors. And I only saw one kid (there may have been more-I just didn't see them).
What they lacked in size they made up for in volume. And they said even with a budget agreement their was still plenty to yell about. Thousands of teachers have either already been told they are being laid off - or will get that notice this summer. And many school districts will also cut educational programs.
There's also the matter of just how the money in the state budget will flow to districts. Lawmakers hope to pass new school funding formulas over the next couple of days. The plans being debated all make different cuts based on the formulas used. One makes across the board 6% cuts. Another would make smaller cuts to some districts and much larger(around 15%) cuts to others.