Lack of Ed. Funding Hurting Children, Advocacy Groups Say

At a Monday press conference, representatives from two children’s education advocacy groups said the lack of education funding in Texas is hurting students.

“When you remove money from the system, but none of the needs are removed, the children hold the bag for that gap. And that’s what’s happening right now,” said Mitchell Savage of Stand for Children.

Mitchell said classroom sizes in Texas have grown, which can impede students from receiving the attention they need.

"When class sizes grow, the effect on children is that they get less of what they need. They get less direct and personal attention, one on one from a teacher. It’s less likely that a teacher can spot problems and red flags the larger the class gets," Savage said.

Savage also said that cuts in funding may save money in the short term, but can cost money in the long term.

"It costs about $44,000 a year to house an inmate, but only $10,000 a year to educate a child. And there’s the return on investment for education," Savage said.

Dr. Bob Sanborn, of Children at Risk, said bigger districts that work with bigger budgets did a better job of preparing for the school cuts in order to lessen the blow in the classroom. Sanborn said school districts like Houston, Austin and Dallas fared better than rural districts.

“I think many of them really prepared for more in budget cuts than the $5.4 billion and were able to do a little bit more,” Sanborn said.

On Monday, a judge ruled the system Texas uses to fund public schools violates the state's constitution by not providing enough money and failing to distribute the money in a fair way. The  landmark decision could force the Legislature to overhaul the way it pays for education.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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