Texas School Districts and Unions Cut Educating the Children First in Budget Cuts

School Districts all across Texas are having to cut back and slim down their budgets. This is a good thing. School Districts are spending outrageous amounts of money on non-educational expenditures like trying to build hotels. They also pay excessive amounts of money to administrators, and in fact, half of all Texas School staff are not even teachers! Also, how about this recent news story exposing how Beaumont ISD paid $90,000 per month for 2 truck rentals when the average rate at ALL truck rental locations for the same 2 trucks is only about $7000 per month. Over half a million dollars wasted.

Texas School Districts have needed to cut their budgets for years, and now they are being forced to trim down because of the statewide budget cuts.

So what have the school districts cut? Did they cut the bloated administration pay? Did they cut out the non-educational spending? Did they fire teachers who have not performed or been convicted of crimes?


Instead, most of them seem to be firing great teachers just because they are new.

You see, the first few years of a teaching career in Texas are probationary years. During a probationary period, a school district can fire the probationary teacher for no reason and without any appeal opportunity for the fired teacher. After a teacher has completed their probationary period they get what is considered to be “tenure.” Basically, a School District has to show a reason to fire the “tenured” teacher and the teacher is allowed to appeal.

Texas does not allow collective bargaining (no real unions) and Texas does not even have tenure. Yet, the State of Texas has dozens of teacher unions and associations. These Texas unions collect millions from teachers to funnel into Texas political issues. These unions cannot do anything about a fired probationary teacher, but the unions do step up and cause school districts trouble when it comes to firing a “tenured” teacher.

So you can guess who the school districts are firing now, right? Probationary teachers!

Just about every news story related to teacher layoffs in Texas shows that it is probationary teachers being cut. See news stories of ONLY Probationary Staff being cut here and here.

School Districts do not want to have to take the time to stand up against teacher unions or go through a simple appeal process, so instead they are just simply cutting the probationary staff. They are taking the easy way out so that they do not upset the unions.

This is a HORRIBLE way for school districts to trim their budgets. School districts should be concerned about what is best for educating children. This means that school districts should actually put some thought into who they fire and make the decisions based on merit or performance. For instance, instead of just firing the probationary teachers, school districts should fire the bad teachers (regardless of whether or not they are probationary teachers or “tenured” teachers), and the school districts should also cut out the non-teaching waste. There are many GREAT new teachers that are being fired while many BAD older teachers get to keep their jobs. For instance, this Beaumont ISD non-teaching staff member is still on the payroll even though she was found guilty of stealing money from the government. Also, this overpaid, non-teaching BISD administration official is still on the payroll even though she was just found to have lied about her excessive income in order to get free money meant for low income hurricane victims.

The bottom line is that school districts are not thinking about what is best for the education of children in Texas as they are cutting their budgets. Many School Districts are ONLY firing the probationary staff. This means that they are firing possibly some of the best new teachers in the School District and keeping possibly some of the worst older teachers.

School Districts need to be smarter and think about what is the right thing to do. They need to cut the pork spending and fire the underperforming, and even criminal, teachers instead of just cutting only the new teachers.


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Texas will lose a crop of new teachers in these cuts, & they will more than likely never see the classroom ever again.  Many may have shown exceptional talent, & this is a genuine tragedy for our children & society in general.  On the other hand, much of that fresh, new talent will probably be replaced with grizzled, veteran administrators returning to the classroom through reassignment. 

Administrative reassignment is the most prudent move for districts.  This tactic is far more efficient than firing highly experienced & highly educated administrators while retaining rookies that may or may not work out in the long term.  Myopic solutions must be avoided.

There are a couple of areas of concern that is not getting much press time in conservative circles - football coach's salaries & small school district per pupil funding.

Of course, small town Texas & GOP constituency are really nothing more than synonymous terms.  I believe this is why I never see any articles or hear anything on conservative talk about this particular issue.  Small town Texas per pupil spending is outrageous.  I investigated my own home town & the little towns in it's vicinity using Comptroller Susan Combs' website http://www.fastexas.org/.  My findings were appalling.  My daughter attends a larger school district in the Metroplex.  Her district's per pupil expenditure is roughly $7,000.  Many of the districts per pupil spending where I grew up is somewhere between $12,000 - $15,000 per pupil.  This is extremely unfair to my daughter & the district she attends.

High school football is big in Texas.  I love football & played on a state championship team back in the '80's.  That said, I do not hear the right wing calling out coach's salaries.  Several make over $100,000 per year & even more make more than their principal.  Sports teaches several important values, but should never trump the classroom.  Is high school football a sacred cow in this economic environment?  Look no farther than Keller, Texas.

We are going to have to be fully honest with ourselves in order to properly work the problem.  Lets get beyond the political garbage of finger-pointing, roll up our sleeves, man up & do what's right by our kids.  If we can't do that, then we don't deserve a future, nor will we have one.

You are obviously lacking the knowledge of the truth of just about every issue you touched on.  You seem to be among the group that hates to see progression made by the African American professionals that we have in position in Beaumont.  I am not condoning some of the wrongs (if any)  that has been done while under this school district supervision, but this in not the only time wrongs have been done.  Whenever the criminal activites surfaced under Taylor's tenure (our last superintendent), absolutely nothing was done and no one raised a stink about it. He also was not concerned with improving the condition of the older schools in the poorer neighborhoods.  Our current superintendent has done more for this school disctrict than ANY other superintendent that Beaumont has EVER had.  This upsets you hateful people and this I will never understand. 

I am a white teacher of 17 years.

Thank you,

Unfortunately you are correct in the fact that coaches are a problem, I WAS going to be a teacher but now know that that will not happen this year and more than likely never...  However in my search all over the state of Texas for employment I have noticed that coaches are always offered a bonus or above the normal salary to coach.  Believe me when I say that coaches could not care less about the classroom. I have had coaches as teachers and most of them had us watch movies (entertainment, not educational) while they slept at their desks and no one cares.  But districts would rather have a good sports program than worry about our children and their futures.  That being said I don't think that cutting the budget is the answer because the same practies with coaches will continue and the only thing that will happen, as you said is that our kids will suffer.

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