No Textbook Funds In Texas Budget Proposals

AUSTIN (AP) – Texas lawmakers dealing with a projected $15 billion shortfall in the next two-year spending period have offered base budget proposals without any bucks for new textbooks.

Before a 2009 Texas curriculum overhaul, children were working with science textbooks most recently updated in 1997, the Austin American-Statesman reported late Monday.

Texas, with 4.6 million public school students, is facing tougher testing. The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness focuses on college readiness and will count toward graduation requirements. A dozen mandatory exams for high school students will be phased in over four years.

The State Board of Education last fall, anticipating a possible state revenue shortfall, asked the Legislature for supplemental science materials accessible online, at a cost of about $60 million. Books would have pushed the cost to $347 million.

Education Commissioner Robert Scott is asking for about $520 million in updated instructional materials for the fall, for online science and new language arts materials based on recently updated standards.

“It’s essential that we have the textbook funding, because if we’re going to implement the new programs, we’ve got to have the instructional materials to make it work,” said state Sen. Florence Shapiro. The legislator from Plano chairs the Senate Education Committee and is head of the Finance Committee’s public education subcommittee.

The state’s education endowment, sometimes known as the textbook fund, is expected to generate about $1.9 billion for public schools in the next two years. The full 15-member State Board of Education, which oversees the fund, last year sent a letter to lawmakers emphasizing the importance of ensuring that a portion of that money be dedicated to course materials.

The request was ignored.

“Was I surprised? No,” said David Bradley, a board member from Beaumont. “Was I disappointed? Yes. But it is just the base budget. This is something that needs to be negotiated and discussed.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • justwannateach

    Fascinating ! Yet we have enough money in Texas to roll out a new “STAR” testing system at a very high price.

    • tiredofthebs

      I totally agree. The district I live in spent 8 million dollars on a new stadium, but doesn’t have enough text books for each student. I think we need a school overhaul in this state.

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  • Misty

    I find it amazing how TX doesn’t have the money for new books but we can spend MILLIONS on a new stadium. Our TX high school stadiums are the size of most colleges and offer as many amenities….ridiculous.

    • Busto

      Misty, Texas has expensive stadiums because short sighted, pro business cultures have brainwashed people to think sports are #1, learning something is #2. In short, It’s a development project for the rich contractors to make easy money….have the public fund construction and pay interest on the debt, back to the contractors pocket. See people don’t trust government but do trust private sector to fund critical public infrastructure and services. I live in Dallas where parents seem only worried about which team their son/daughter will be on, and only pretend education is important.

  • chris

    Hey though, its a good thing we have people like Chris Crock on the radio to gripe about schools buying tablet pc’s and ipads. Progressive means progressive for a reason, its because we find ways to fix problems. There are some idiots out there that still think buying 300 pages of textbooks for 2000 kids is still cheaper in the long run from being able to download the textbook

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  • Michael Kay

    This is the reason why TEXAS is known as STUPID!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Kevin

    Why is the Permanent Fund which is generating $1.9B for 2 years not spending the money as it was intended? With 4.6M students it is enough to spend $200 per student per year.

  • Larry

    As I recall, when we voted for the lottery here in Texas, they promised that 90% of the income would be used for education. Last year the lottery commission (theives) proudly announced they had increased the amount for education to 18%!!! Anyone else see something wrong here?

    • Busto

      What do you expect when people trust the private sector to fund things like education, roads, and healthcare? Why do people think government is all BAD and private companies are GOOD? The government is by the people for the people!! sure there is waste and fraud, but it’s exponential with private enterprises that feed off public services needs that have limited resources or competition.

  • bust

    Texas, or those in Texas that are far right and are proud of it, are giving the public’s welfare away to private companies and schemes like the lottery, toll roads, healthcare, education. I don’t get why so many people are moving here even when 25% of the population doesn’t have health insurance and education is last place. I don’t get it, but I know I need to get out because Texas will soon implode with the its debt, reluctance to make government work for the people, and its bullheaded trust in the rich private sector to manage critical public infrastructure and services.

  • Meg

    This is horrible….and I am sure this is happening in other states. And lawmakers and what not wonder why America is behind in education versus the rest of the world. This is so sad.

  • Craig

    Textbooks should be inexpensive due to all of our printed materials being manufactured in China. Someone is making a lot of money off the backs of the tax payers by charging $900.00 for a text book that was printed for $11.00. Profits over the people is alive and well in Texas.

  • Joy

    They spend wayyy to much money on testing here and I don’t think a child that has gone 12 sometimes 13yrs of school to end up Senior year and have to take a test to pass. Use that money for books and education material. Quit paying all the extracurricular teachers high dollar salary. Where Im front the band director makes well over 100K a year and the althletic coaches make I know over 60K. As far as money going towards the roads as I read in an earlier comment.. It’s not over here in East Dallas.. the roads have tons of pot holes in them

  • Skillet

    Maybe education is last because the Texecutioner also know as Governor Good Hair hasn’t found a way to make his cronies (and himself) rich by “privatizing” education. I have an idea- lets quit spending milllions of dollars on executions (and all of the costly appeals) and spend that money on education. A well educated population as a whole commits fewer crimes and generates more money for the state to function…

    • Joy

      I so totally agree with you 100%. We do spend way too much money on criminals. They have free cable and education and we are out of struggling to pay for cable and education. Insane if you ask me.

  • Tom

    Oh, No! what are we to do? Can our students actually use “old” textbooks for another year? Will they be preminately scarred, or just a little scarred? The world is coming to an end! I can see it now?
    You really want to solve the school money problems? Simply cut out athletics, band and other extra curricular activities and concentrate on teaching!

  • Elizabeth Mercer

    well rounded education includes extra curricular activities. Instead of cutting education funding why not use the rainy day fund? The children are going to pay for the impatience we adults have shown with the economic recovery, why not insure the necessary tools to survive what we had done to them, i.e., critical thinking skills, are not removed through education cuts? Do i blame the short sighted so called leaders who knew this budget debacle was upon us? Yes. Do we need to stop the Perry machine from enriching the Perry family and friends? i think so. Lets insist that the Texas Legislature be responsible but first, let’s pay for our children’s education.

  • Elizabeth Mercer

    BTW, the Legislative body has know about this looming default for at least 5 years. What possible excuse can be used to excuse the silence before the elections?

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