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Budgets Cuts & Bigger Classes Taking Toll On Texas Teachers

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TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – As lawmakers worked to fix the state budget shortfall, one thing they decided was school districts should have flexibility in class sizes.

The result – it’s only the third week of school and already some teachers are worn out, thanks to increased workloads.

With teachers taking buyouts and teaching assistant’s laid off, some classrooms grew in size.

Rena Honea, with the American Federation of Teachers in Dallas, said many teachers are frustrated and exhausted as they try to make up for all that was lost.

“Now the teachers are having to take on more and more, yet they’re not being compensated any additional monies at all or any additional time to get their responsibilities and work done,” she said.

Honea predicts the current work environment will cause some teachers to leave, or at the very least make it difficult to do their job well. Ultimately she feels it will be students who will pay the price.

Many teachers have said the more kids they have in the classroom, the more they have to babysit instead of teach.

“A good teacher with 22 kids in a kindergarten class I think can do a better job than the same teacher in a kindergarten class with 25 or 26 kids,” said Clay Robison, with the Texas State Teachers Association.

According to Clay, across the state there are some 90,000 additional students enrolling in schools every year.

“That’s the equivalent of about creating one Austin Independent School District every year,” Clay said disgusted. “This is the first time, in more than 60 years, that the legislature has deliberately not funded the school finance formulas to meet the enrollment growth.”

The GOP-led legislature said it was important not to raise taxes, so they gave school districts more flexibility with class sizes.

Honea now says teachers are working harder and longer. “If there’s already this level of frustration, and anger, and fear at the third or fourth week of school that makes for a very long school year.”

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