Under the pressure of $5.3 billion in statewide public education budget cuts, Texas school districts are again over- crowding classrooms and eliminating teachers. This next school year (2012-2013) is the second year of financial cuts to Texas school districts and as you have been previously informed, Rockdale ISD is not immune to these cuts.
Students suffer as they’re forced into larger classrooms and as schools delete captivating classes like choir, technology applications, or journalism. But the even greater consequence may be the damage this does beyond the classroom.
The school funding cuts came about because the Texas Legislature balanced the budget without raising taxes or tapping the Rainy Day Fund. But now Texas has to a pay a different tax: the strugglingschools tax and unfortunately, this cost may last for decades.
It is the cost that students pay when a poor education inhibits their future earning power. It is the cost that parents pay when they have to send children to tutors. It is the cost that businesses pay when they can’t find educated workers. And it is the cost that cities pay when struggling schools make it difficult to attract quality businesses from out of state. These are taxes that will stifle Texas’ economic growth.
Public schools that fill classrooms to over capacity, eliminate interesting classes and overall make the school day a challenging experience are not selling points for employers trying to attract workers—and their families— to Texas. It’s hard to put our best face forward when headlines warn about cuts to Texas public schools.
Being pro- business doesn’t end at taxes and regulations. It also means creating places where smart, ambitious workers will want to move and businesses will be able to prosper. A key part of that is top-flight public education.
Education is by far the most effective anti-poverty program ever created, there is great merit to the fact that as a society there is an eventual tax associated with cutting education funds. One need not go over the reality of the issue, the fact that the world economy is essentially a knowledge based economy, and in the future, those nations without sufficient knowledge resources will not be able to compete.
What can you do as a Rockdale citizen? First, please complete our budget survey that is online at www.rockdaleisd.net. Second, get to know the candidates and what they support or don’t support in the upcoming elections. Third, please vote in the upcoming elections. There are two very important elections; the RISD trustee election on Saturday, May 12 and the Texas Primary election on Tuesday, May 29.
More money doesn’t guarantee a great education, but less money per student and the costs associated with a more rigorous testing environment prevent schools from providing the essential learning opportunities for the students of our district and our state. If we are going to prepare students for their future we need the resources that allow our students to receive a world class education.