HISD to lose millions if Gov. Perry approves budget

May 28, 2011 9:26:08 PM PDT
Under the proposed budget approved Saturday by the Texas Legislature, the Houston Independent School District would lose out on nearly $200 million over the next two years.

The district has been making cuts to deal with the lack of funding, but administrators, parents and teachers are speaking out about this budget decision.

They all say that school districts like HISD are in some serious trouble.

"I think that it's a lot of politics and the kids are suffering," parent Taryn Phillips said.

HISD could stand to lose more than $78 million dollars in state funding next school year, and the estimates hit the district even harder in 2013 with $126 million in cuts approved by the Senate and House.

"Of course our economy needs a lot of help right now, but still you got to think about the children, and think about, 'Is it worth cutting back on that or other things?'" parent Julia Smith said.

After learning about its budget reduction estimates from the state, HISD released a statement.

"Schools in Houston and elsewhere will still suffer significantly in years to come," the statement read.

"The substantial reduction in state funding will undoubtedly have an impact in our students' education," it continued.

Gayle Fallon with the Houston Federation of Teachers agrees.

"Parents are not going to like what school looks like next year because they're going to have kids coming back to very large classes," Fallon said.

Fallon predicts the state's budget estimates may lead to unsafe and understaffed schools.

She says one of the only solutions could be an unpopular one if the school board lessens the burden by raising taxes.

"As a taxpayer in Houston, I'm not thrilled with a tax increase, but I'd rather pay the money now than pay it into the criminal justice system when we turn out an illiterate generation that can't get a job," Fallon said.

Parents, HISD administrators and the teachers union all say they will be waiting and watching to see what lawmakers ultimately decide.

The district has already laid off employees, cut programs and closed schools to make up part of the expected budget gap, but trustees believe their only option could be a roughly 4 cent tax rate hike.

The district's current tax rate is 1-15 per $100 valuation.

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