AUSTIN (AP) – The Texas House has approved a budget bill slashing $4 billion from public education. The vote came about an hour after a surprise vote to reject it.

House Republicans, who hold a 101-49 majority, withdrew behind closed doors Tuesday night and emerged with a deal to pass the bill 80-57, sending it to Gov. Rick Perry.

The initial vote threatened to throw the special session into disarray just a day before its expected conclusion. The cuts are needed to balance the state budget. If the bill failed, Perry was certain to call another special session.

The Senate had passed the bill earlier in the day, then adjourned the session and left the Capitol.

Several Republicans from rural counties have said the cuts are too deep for small school districts.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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