Spring Branch Speaks has issued the following update on House Bill 1 (the House Appropriations Bill):
UPDATE - House Bill 1
Unfortunately, the Texas House of Representatives passed HB 1 on Sunday. This version of the 2011-2013 State budget includes steep cuts for education. As the process continues, members of the House and the Senate must now work together to negotiate a budget both can agree on. Then, the Governor must sign on as well.
Texas already spends less on our students than 43 other states 1. Cuts in education will not only decrease the effectiveness of our schools, but surely hinder our students when compared nationally. To make matters worse for SBISD, many of the current projections have Spring Branch ISD shouldering a greater than average share of the cuts, all while our district contributes more than average to the state's education fund through local tax that the state "recaptures" with Robin Hood and other complicated education funding rules.
The lawmakers know they are on thin ice with many of their constituents. Representative Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, said "Some of the cuts, especially in public education, are going to be devastating...we're all going to be just overcome with the phone calls that we're going to get from people in our districts to encourage us to take a closer look." 2
Cuts hit home.
The reality of what these state budget cuts will do to our neighborhood schools is becoming clear. In a press release today, SBISD began to outline how the slashed education budget will impact our kids. As stated in the release, "[t]hese cuts...will have a significant impact on the ability of SBISD to provide a quality education for our students."
SBISD will eliminate 350 positions (about 7 percent of employees). Attrition only accounts for a small percentage of these employees, unfortunately. And SBISD was clear - these cuts are not efficiencies but solely in reaction to the budget cuts.
The time to get passionate is NOW - We cannot allow our law makers to continue along this path of faulty education funding. So let's give them what they expect: call your Representative and tell them that education funding included in the current version of HB 1 is unacceptable. Tell them you expect the House to do right by their future taxpaying residents and preserve schools funding.
As the debate continues, and as the lawmakers appoint a Committee to negotiate a budget that the House and Senate can approve, we must continue to pressure our lawmakers to protect the future of Texas. We will continue to update you and request specific action.
NOTE on HB 275 - using Rainy Day funds for this year's budget...
Thanks to your efforts before Spring Break, the House of Representatives has passed HB 275 utilizing some of the Rainy Day Fund to cover the short fall in this year's budget. Thank you for all of your work contacting the Appropriations Committee regarding this bill.
1 McNulty, Sheila. "Texans learn harsh realities of cutbacks." Financial Times. 10 Mar. 2011, U.S.A. ed.: 2. Print.
2 "Final compromise likely will fall in the middle." The Houston Chronicle. 4 Apr., 2011. p. A 1,5. Print.
Parent-organized community outreach with SBISD in mind.
(Forward this email to your family and friends - ask them to join, too: www.SpringBranchSpeaks.com)
David Davenport Pam Goodson
Darci Hubbard Susan Kellner
Valerie Paul Chris Vierra