Sad days for Texas education, public services

This practice is reverberating around the country. As good as  Texas is, as well as it weathered the recession, public services are not immune to budget cuts.

The Texas Education Agency is laying off 178 employees this week as part of budget cuts ordered by the state Legislature. via KBTX  Texas Education Agency to Lay Off 178 Employees.

The Texas Legislature had to cut something, unfortunately education was a big looser when the budget was finalized.

Media is reporting many local job cuts. College Station is cutting 27 positions. Bryan is cutting 20 jobs. Texas A&M already cut more than 150 jobs and more may be on the way.

“This Legislature will go down in the history books as the worst for public education in a generation,” said Rep. Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio. “Now it’s time for legislators to go home and explain to their communities why they voted for or against these historic education cuts. via The Three Way Attack on Texas Public Education; Part One: Fiscal Responsibility « Education in Texas.

Extra $1.2B found for Texas budget

No surprises – yet – but hearing that education is the highest expense is not good news for a college town.

Lawmakers battling the multibillion-dollar shortfall have agreed on all major parts of the budget except education. House and Senate negotiators are working to craft a compromise version of each chamber’s proposal. So far, they’ve agreed to all parts of the budget except the portion that funds public and higher education, Texas’ biggest expense. Source: Extra $1.2B found for Texas budget | Bryan/College Station, Texas – The Eagle.

That extra money comes from increases in sales tax collections, oil production tax, and motor vehicle sales tax. I also think property taxes are helping. The city pushed mine up 20%! I plan to protest, but I need to do it soon. The deadline to protest is June 1.

Most of the higher revenue estimate comes from a dramatic rise in sales tax receipts over the last year. The high price of oil also has helped fill the state coffers. Source: Extra $1.2B found for Texas budget | Bryan/College Station, Texas – The Eagle.

Budget cuts for Texas’ universities

In 2009 I said the recession isn’t over. I guess it needs to be said again – for future reference: history repeats itself! This is the third time I’ve gone through a recession or slow-down or bubble-burst in the 15 years that I’ve lived in Texas. In the public sector, especially higher education, I think the recession doesn’t really hit until 2 years after the worst of it hits the rest of the world. If we say the recession started in 2008, it was at its worst in 2009, then higher education can expect the worst (at least in Texas) in 2010-11. It’s no coincidence that the Texas legislature is deciding the biennial budget for 2010-11, and universities are facing huge budget cuts – some as much as $14 Million each year. The worst is still to come.

Texas A&M may have to cut $28 million out of its budget over two years. Source: Texas A&M looking for funds to cut after state mandate | The Eagle.

What does it mean to be the worst for an institute of higher education? It means the legislature cuts state monies going to the university systems. In Texas there are at least 6 major university systems: University of Houston System, University of North Texas System, University of Texas System, Texas A&M University System, Texas State University System, Texas Tech University System.

Texas A&M-College Station is in the early stages of identifying potential cuts. Officials have asked departments to prioritize projects in case the state doesn’t provide all the requested funding. Source: Texas universities to cut back after endowments hit | Dallas Morning News.