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Friday, March 25, 2011

Legislative Priorities in Public Education for Texas Classrooms

Public education in Texas is facing a perfect storm, according to State Senator Florence Shapiro. As Chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee, she is on a mission during this state legislative session - to find cuts outside of those in the classroom in education spending in the budget.

Priorities must be established. The priority is to keep education of children in the classroom at the forefront. In this process, the classroom is the first priority. While some independent school boards are cutting teaching jobs as the first measure of balancing their budgets, that decision is the opposite of what must be done. It is a short-sighted fix that will prove disastrous in later years.

Did you know that there is a one to one ratio between teachers and administrative staff? The cost of these administrative obligations exceed $9 billion. By cutting non-teacher employees a savings of $2 billion on salaries alone. Keep the teaching staff in tact. Keep the classroom size lower. Do away with redundancy and bloated bureaucracy at the administrative level.

The Red Apple Project is a common sense approach to saving the classroom, and keeping teachers without increasing the burden on the taxpayer.

Here are two statistics from the research found by this initiative:

•State-wide, teachers earn an average of $9,000 a year less than “other professional staff,” $22,000 less than school administrators and $38,000 less than central administration staff.

•Superintendents on average take home six-figure salaries, with the highest-paid superintendent, Thomas Carroll of Beaumont ISD (19,000 students), earning $346,778 per year – nearly 2 ½ times more than the Texas governor!

Common sense changes can be found and made within the public school system that will benefit the integrity of the classroom and keep taxes from rising.

2 comments:

Phillip said...

I would like to point out a flaw in your reasoning in regards to the ratio of teachers to non teachers in a district. You mention the "administrators." While there may be SOME waste, you should keep in mind some of the other "non teachers" in this ratio are:

Admin
Bus Drivers
Janitors
Food Service Workers
Maintenance
Instructional Para-professionals
Non-intstructional para-professionals
Counselors
Instructional Coaches
Substitute Teachers
Ground Workers
Security Guards
and more.

I just mean to point out it's not like there is 1 admin for every teacher.

Phillip said...

Please don't misunderstand me. There is room to cut, and I am sure there is waste in many districts. Our district has found ways over the past 4-5 years to cut a total of $130M (including this upcoming year) without laying off a single teacher.