Our esteemed Comptroller recently addressed Llano citizens and made several comments regarding public education which simply cannot go unchallenged. I will deal with the most important issues. Public school spending has increased. This is not true. In the previous biennium, Texas received $3 billion in a one-time federal stimulus funding. That money was supposed to be used for education expenditures over and above the state appropriation. Now that the money is gone, it’s equivalent to a $3 billion cut in education funding. To compensate for this, the legislature increased its appropriation $1.8 billion for the current biennium. This is the increase politicians talk about when saying there is a huge increase in educational funding. The fact remains that there was a substantial decrease in public school funding. In Llano ISD, the decrease amounts to over $1 million per year. In addition, no funding was provided for the 170,000 additional students entering Texas schools during the biennium. Since Llano ISD has a rather constant enrollment and the total does not increase, part of the money to pay for those additional students comes out of our pockets.
According to the Comptroller, administrators are increasing faster than teachers. Her conclusion is based on faulty numbers. According to the state’s numbers, the percentage of administrators has decreased slightly since the 1980’s. The increase in administrators has been thrown out by numerous politicians as a problem and results from a report that changed the definition of administrators. According to many of our elected officials, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and teacher aides (many of whom serve in the classroom) are now considered administrators. They were not considered administrators in the 1980’s.
The bottom line is this. No amount of political speeches or campaign rhetoric is going to provide money for our students or to pay teachers. Llano ISD is facing a continuing reduction in funding, and that reduction will result in severe problems in the near future unless it is corrected.
President, Llano ISD Board of Trustees