Public Schools: More Students, Less Money

School districts across the state are facing funding problems and having to reduce the number of teachers while student enrollment is increasing.

Education officials in Little Elm are preparing to welcome 300 additional students in the next school year, on top of the 6,296 already enrolled. But a shrinking school budget means there will be fewer teachers, aides, administrators and custodians.

School budgets are being cut across the State, which gained more residents than any other state during the past decade. The Little Elm school system like many others all over the state faces the additional challenge of shedding costs while classrooms are bulging.

$8 Billion in Education funding cuts

The district is canceling prekindergarten for 3-year-olds—though keeping it for 4-year-olds—and cutting about 80 positions out of 827 in total; the layoffs include 30 teachers, a speech pathologist, a computer aide and 11 special-education aides.

Some parents aren’t happy about it. Amy Plumadore Tannehill, the mother of an 11-year-old, is predicting that the influx of kids will overwhelm the adult supervision. “Who’s going to be in the hallways?” she said.

But with state revenue plunging, and education costs accounting for a big part of the discretionary budget, legislators say they have no choice. “It’s not pretty. I wish I could come up with more money, but we have to do the best we can with what we have,” said Jimmie Don Aycock, a Republican state representative from central Texas who is a member of the House public education committee.

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