Will restored Texas education funding be enough? - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Will restored Texas education funding be enough?

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In classrooms across Texas, teachers and students can expect more financial support from the state. So why isn't anyone cheering?

"We know that even that money isn't sufficient to meet the needs that we have right now," said Patricia Montgomery, superintendent of the Angleton Independent School District.

Two years ago Montgomery and almost every other school leader in the state watched helplessly as lawmakers slashed $5 Billion dollars from public education.

At Angleton ISD, that meant bigger class sizes, less air conditioning, dimmer lighting and a even a substantial reduction of paper for use in the classroom.

"When you take $4 million dollars from a district that is already on a lean budget its disastrous. For us that meant we lost 30 teaching positions," said Montgomery.

Despite a state economy that's largely mended and $20 billion "Rainy Day" dollars in the bank the conservative Texas legislature now appears willing to restore only half of what it cut two years ago.

Better than nothing says Montgomery, but hardly good enough.

"Our students are not getting the individualized attention that they need simply because we are short staff members," said Montgomery.

While state funding will modestly improve, Texas schools are bracing for a substantial drop in federal dollars.

That's because programs that benefit special education kids and students from low income families are subject to the sequester in Washington.

"59 percent of our kids are economically disadvantaged in the state of Texas. Those are the same kids that need that helping hand," said Robert Sanborn of the advocacy group Children at Risk.

While they welcome the partial restoration of state money both Sanborn and Montgomery say that with Texas adding 70,000 new students a year there's little chance the average number of kids in a classroom will shrink.

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