Districts to lose $11 million
Austin---Rep. Joe Deshotel, Beaumont, is informing Southeast Texas school boards of a potential cut in funding in the millions of dollars. House Bill 2 by Rep. David Swinford, Dumas, would result in a severe blow to funding for independent school districts all across Texas by cutting funding for “non-instructional” items.
Non-instructional items include district staff such as principals, assistant principals, social workers, truancy officers, health services, student transportation repair, insurance, bus driver training, food service, co-curricular and extra curricular activities like athletic directors, coaching supplements, band directors, and even janitorial services, insurance, utilities, security and monitoring services.
If cut, local governmental agencies would have to make up the difference or make drastic cuts in their budgets. A report generated by the Comptroller’s office indicates a total reduction of nearly $217 million for non-instructional items in the upcoming year alone.
The expenditures were averaged across the state and resulted in the following losses in state funding for fiscal year 2004-2005 alone:
SOUTHEAST TEXAS ISD
Beaumont Independent School District
2003-2004 - $1,210,215
2004-2005 - $1,210,215
Port Arthur Independent School District
2003-2004 - $2,306,655
2004-2005 - $2,306,655
Bridge City Independent School District
2003-2004 - $335,017
2004-2005 - $335,017
Hardin-Jefferson Independent School District
2003-2004 - $158,635
2004-2005 - $158,635
Hamshire-Fannett Independent School District
2003-2004 - $281,353
2004-2005 - $281,353
Lumberton Independent School District
2003-2004 - $443,568
2004-2005 - $443,568
Nederland Independent School District
2003-2004 - $137,656
2004-2005 - $137,656
Orangefield Independent School District
2003-2004 - $380,459
2004-2005 - $380,459
West Orange Independent School District
2003-2004 - $309,297
2004-2005 - $309,297
2003-2004 - $5,562,855
2004-2005 - $5,562,855
The bill was voted out of the Committee on Government Reform Thursday and is currently pending in the Calendars Committee, the final step before being voted on by the House. These cuts would be devastating to the education system in Southeast Texas. Deshotel is working with Swinford, Chairman for the Committee on Government Reform in effort to minimize the impact.
“I will be urging Chairman Swinford to accept an amendment that would allow a 4 percent variance above the state-wide average expenditure in non-instructional items. Such a variance would reinstate the above listed cuts in state funding. A 3 percent variance would reinstate all but Orangefield ISD which has a 3.9 percent variance,” Deshotel stated.
All school board members and superintendents in the affected districts are strongly encouraged to contact the following members to voice their support for the amendment:
Speaker Tom Craddick
Speaker Office 512-463-1000
Chairman David Swinford
House Government Reform Comm. 512-463-0470, 512-463-1538
Chairman Talmage Helflin
House Appropriations Comm. 512-463-0568, 512-463-1091
If you have any question, please contact Rep. Deshotel or his office at 512-463-0662.
One Plaza Square, Suite 203