State likely not in position to help Cy-Fair ISD
It is not a secret that the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District has faced and is facing tough budget challenges in recent years because of unfortunate twists and turns in the state's education funding formula.
Just last week district officials presented the Cy-Fair ISD school board with a proposed 2010-11 school year budget that includes about $10 million in budget reductions.
They say there is no proposed property tax increase, or elimination of the homestead exemption, this year, but the same cannot be said for future school years unless the state's formula is tweaked and more funding comes from the state.
State Rep. Gary Elkins, R-Houston, told a group of Cy-Fair business owners, educators and community members that that is not going to happen in the 2011 legislative session.
Elkins, who represents part of the Cy-Fair area, delivered that message at a Cy-Fair Houston Chamber of Commerce Governmental Affairs Committee meeting. I believe he worked hard to get that message across because the Chamber is a strong advocate of the school district, and has been lobbying for changes to the education funding formula so that Cy-Fair ISD and other affected school districts do not face financial hurdles that threaten employees' jobs and the quality of education those districts deliver to students.
Elkins said the state of Texas is facing a projected $14 billion budget shortfall, and that means that there is no room for additional funding for any programs in the state budget.
Elkins said that 70 percent of the state budget is constitutionally mandated, so the legislature only has control over the remaining 30 percent. The $14 billion in cuts will be made in that portion, so it is safe to say that spending increases will not happen, he said.
The only way to get more revenue is a tax increase," he said. I will tell you there will be no tax increases in Austin next January. No one will have the appetite to raise taxes until economic climate improves, and I do not believe the economy will come back in the next few years."
Elkins said the state and public school districts are also going to have to become more efficient, and to find ways to educate students in a more cost-effective way.
Unfortunately, in the environment we are in, people are tapped out," Elkins said. The reality is that the public is taxed to the hilt and cannot take on any more. The government has to get more efficient and cut expenses where it can."
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