NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Advocates for social services are calling on Texas lawmakers to reverse budget cuts made during the last legislative session as the state shows signs of an early recovery from the recession.
Tax revenue is reportedly some 13-percent higher than previously anticipated and leaders with the Texas American Federation of Teachers says that's enough money to basically restore all budget cuts made to public education.
"If we remember, there was $5.4 billion was cut out of public education, which amounts to about $500 per student," Texas AFT president Linda Bridges recalled. "The money will be there where the cuts that were made in the last session could be reversed. It's our opinion they should be reversed."
The same report from the comptroller's office indicating higher tax revenue also stated that the growth rate could again slow.
Bridges said anticipated growth changes don't change the fact that there are monies available now and she believes access to it will be based on how hard educators and citizens fight for it.
"I believe that if enough of us speak out… I believe if parents speak out about the impact on their children, there is an opportunity to right this wrong."
According to a Texas AFT survey, school employees and superintendents across the state agree that classroom conditions, for learning and teaching, are deteriorating as a result of the 2011 budget cuts.
"You look around the state, I don't think there's a district that hasn't been impacted in some way," Bridges said. "We have an opportunity, if there's a will, to reverse these cuts and do the right thing."
There is however no indications that state lawmakers will approve restoring funding where cuts have already been made. In fact, lawmakers have instructed agencies across the state to prepare for more cuts.
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