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Abbott Spent A Year Fighting Against Public Education, Now He Blames Schools For Layoffs

The Texas government failed to increase public school funding despite a record $32 billion surplus last year, and now Gov. Greg Abbott is blaming schools for his budget shortfalls and layoffs.

“If you don’t like the budget cuts at your child’s school — tough! It’s your school’s fault,” Abbott said.

Recently, school districts across the state have struggled financially. Both Cypress-Fairbanks ISD and Houston ISD have announced massive layoffs and cuts to deal with budget shortfalls. Cy-Fair ISD is facing a $138 million deficit and plans to cut about 60 librarian positions for the next school year. 

Cy-Fair parents have blamed Abbott for withholding state funding for public education after his voucher plan failed to pass.

“There’s no need to sugarcoat it, Abbott is sitting on a pile of money because he’s mad that school vouchers didn’t pass,” a Cy-Fair parent said at a board of trustees meeting. “Because of Abbott, we are losing over half of our librarians.”

Last year, the Texas legislature failed to pass an education package that would have provided schools with more state funding because it was tied to a school voucher program. Both Republicans and Democrats opposed the voucher bill, saying it would defund public education even more.

And yet, Abbott has decided to blame the schools.

“You’ll be shocked to hear this, but it’s not me that’s responsible for this,” Abbott said in an interview with the KYFO radio station. “The federal government just sent a boatload of money to our schools, and that increased their budgets dramatically. Some schools were responsible in their budgeting to make sure that would not happen; others not so much. Some school districts, for example, took that money and hired additional people, and now they do not have that money coming into them from the federal government, and as a result, they have to lay off those people, and that’s a consequence of spending the money that way.”

On Monday, Democratic House members signed a letter urging Abbott to call a special session to address the education funding crisis.

“Our public schools are the bedrock of our communities, and it’s imperative we provide them with the resources they need to thrive,” wrote Rep. Jon Rosenthal (D-Houston). “By calling for a special session, Governor Abbott has the opportunity to demonstrate his commitment to fulfilling our constitutional duty to adequately fund public education in Texas.”

Rep. Tom Oliverson (R-Cypress) also signed a letter to the TEA requesting that state surplus funds be used to help Cy-Fair ISD with its budget shortfall.

Cy-Fair ISD is the third largest school district in the state. Houston ISD, the largest school district, is facing a $450 million deficit and has planned massive layoffs. Spring Branch ISD has eliminated 215 positions to address a $35 million deficit.

Written by RA News staff.


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