I hear all of this talk about how children are our future. We need to do this and that for our children. Then we cut funding to programs that have been proven to benefit children. This is why I’m balding. I’m pulling my hair out.
What is a humdrum routine for millions of students around the country — riding to and from school on a yellow bus — has become a thing of the past for Aubrey. Faced with a budget shortfall, the Hutto Independent School District stopped providing bus service to him and other students who live within a two-mile walk of a campus. The move saved the district $25,000.
Aubrey, a sophomore at Hutto High School, now spends 20 minutes walking one mile to school in the morning and another 20 minutes on the return trip in the afternoon.
“I’m like, ‘Wow, I’m not going to have a bus?’ ” he said. “I’ve walked home one time when it was raining. I didn’t like it at all. I was soaked.”
For Hutto and the 1,264 other public school districts in Texas, this has been the year of doing without. Texas lawmakers cut public education financing by roughly $5.4 billion to balance the state’s two-year budget during the last legislative session, with the cuts taking effect this school year and next.
The budget reductions that districts large and small have had to make have transformed school life in a host of ways — increasing class sizes, reducing services and supplies and thinning the ranks of teachers, custodians, librarians and others, school administrators said.
Like chief executives of struggling corporations, superintendents have been cutting back on everything from paper to nurses and have had to become increasingly creative about generating revenue. They are selling advertising space on the sides of buses and on district Web sites, scaling back summer school, charging parents if their children take part in athletics or cheerleading and adding periods in the school day so fewer teachers can accommodate more students.
I would just like to personally thank Governor Perry and the Texas legislature for screwing up the Texas school system even more than George W. Bush.