from the Austin American Statesman dated 11/1/11:
More cuts to school jobs expected
More than 60 percent of Texas school districts expect further staffing reductions next year as they grapple with state budget reductions, according to a survey by school finance consultant Moak, Casey & Associates.
Almost 9,600 school district jobs — one-third of which were classroom teachers — were eliminated this year by the survey respondents, which serve 39 percent of the state's students. More jobs are expected to be lost next year because schools are relying on some one-time federal money to prop up their budgets this year and some districts will lose additional state aid next year, the school districts report.
The Legislature this year underfunded schools by $4 billion in basic aid and cut $1.3 billion from grant programs that paid for full-day prekindergarten, assisted students struggling to pass state standardized tests and more.
I don't know whether to laugh or cry. We're already struggling this year to stay at the same levels of service and proficiency as in the past and now we may be facing more cuts? As my dad used to say, "You don't need more people; just get bigger sticks." Maybe not politically correct but appropriate for this situation.
I'm seeing classes of 30 in English and English teachers about to drop from trying to keep up with grading. I see our elective teachers without a conference period every other day. And for me, I'm trying to run a library for a school population of 2000 with one assistant.
I should consider myself lucky. I hear of too many other schools where librarians have no help, including our middle schools. I used to be a middle school librarian, and I don't know how in the world those librarians are managing to function. I know they must grudgingly close the doors some days so they can go teach. Which is worse? Not being able to teach a class? Or going to teach but closing the library to do so?
Yet on the flip side, some of our reorganization in our district seems to me to be counter productive. I'm now considered a part of the tech department, and I've been requested to attend functions that pull me out of the library at least three times already this semester. The number of subs needed to cover these meetings could have paid the salary for my assistant. I'm left to wonder--where's the logic in this?
I sometimes wonder if this is the handwriting on the wall--how people see the library and how we function. Or is it part of a bigger picture--the lack of support for education in general? I'm not sure, but I know teachers and librarians are stretched to the limit at this point. Our children deserve better than we are giving them.