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Huffman says nothing about public education

Republican State Sen. Joan Huffman writes an op-ed in the West U Examiner about public education that manages to say absolutely nothing of substance.

As the mother of a public school student, I am a firm supporter of Texas public schools and I share your concerns about the proposed cuts to the education budget. I remain hopeful, however, that the cuts in the initial versions of the budget are just that: a starting point rather than the final compromise.

Often I am asked how education is funded. Currently, the state spends approximately 57 percent of the entire budget on public education and higher education. Of that, over 70 percent is dedicated strictly to the public education system, which totaled approximately $53.7 billion last year. However, the student population has continued to grow at approximately 80,000 students per year rendering our funding system vulnerable.

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As a strong advocate of local control, I believe we must work with our school boards to evaluate the necessity of all district expenditures with the current economic climate in mind. I am committed to finding efficiencies and discussing innovative, common sense ideas with parents, educators and my legislative colleagues.

Missing from the piece are any mention of the Rainy Day Fund, whether she supports the removal of the 22:1 class size limit, the possible elimination of pre-K funding, the vast number of jobs that local school districts may be forced to cut, the new STAAR tests and whether or not Texas should proceed with them if funding for their required materials is deferred, or any indication of what she might support or oppose. But she does point out that the Lottery provides only a tiny piece of education funding, which is a frequently misunderstood point, so kudos to her for that. Hope you all feel as informed now as I do.

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