Wednesday, May 04, 2011

12,372 (and counting) fewer TX public school jobs. Thanks, GOP!

The Republicans in the Texas Senate passed their budget today, bypassing the body's customary 2/3rds rule in order to jam it through over Democratic objections to its massive cuts. The 19-12 vote was straight down the party line, meaning that the impact and the consequences belong solely to the Texas GOP. In response, the Texas Progressive Alliance -- of which this blog is a charter member -- has calculated some of the damage to public education. From our press release this morning:

More than 12,000 Texas public school teachers, librarians, administrators, and support staff have left their school job in the roughly three months since the Texas Legislature released proposed budget figures for the 2012-2013 biennium, according to data released Tuesday by the Texas Progressive Alliance.

"There is no bunk in these numbers," said Vince Leibowitz, chair of the Alliance, a group of progressive online activists including more than 50 netroots activists, bloggers, and online writers from across Texas. "These numbers are the cold hard truth (about the Republican budget passed today) and show precisely how significant an impact (it) is already having on school districts across the state," Leibowitz said.

More alarming, he noted, is that the more than 12,000 layoffs, firings, and voluntary or forced retirements represent only a fraction of the devastating toll the proposed budget is taking on public education. "These reductions come from a grand total of 60 of the state's 1,234 school districts, less than five percent of all school districts statewide," he noted. "Imagine how high this number will be when data is collected for all of these school districts," he continued.

The Alliance collected the data from publicly available sources including newspapers, television stations, and other media outlets that cover Texas school boards. The data was compiled by members of the Alliance and includes districts from all parts of the state.

The data was released on the heels of an announcement by the Texas Legislative Budget Board that the proposed budget being considered by the Legislature will be the first since at least 1984 that does not adequately fund public school formula funding and makes no allowance for enrollment growth.

"Yesterday, Senator Ogden was quoted as saying that Texas school districts could 'live with' five percent cuts," said Charles Kuffner, Vice Chair of the Alliance. "Evidently Senator Ogden and Republicans in the Legislature, Governor Perry, and our state leadership think losing 12,000 public school employees, increasing class sizes, and reducing the quality of instruction are worth living with. We do not," Kuffner stated.

The Alliance will continue to track school district layoffs through the start of the 2011-2012 school year and today will ask readers of their blogs to help them track this critically important number in ISDs across the state.

In the table below is the summary of the sixty school districts tabulated. As best as possible, the Texas Progressive Alliance attempted to avoid counting projected job loss figures. The numbers below should reflect jobs that have already been cut and positions that have promised not to be fulfilled. In some cases, news reports reported several totals of jobs reduced or positions not filled; in those cases, the Texas Progressive Alliance used the lowest and most certain of the figures.

School District Job Reductions Source 
Abilene14Abilene Reporter-News, 4/4/11 
Arlington538Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 4/7/11 
Atlanta14KTAL 6
Austin 1,153 Austin American-Statesman, 4/6/11 
Bay City 43 The Tribune, 4/25/11 
Brownsville275The Monitor, 4/7/11
Canutillo13 KVIA, 4/12/11
Cedar Hill97 Dallas Morning News, 4/5/11
Clear Creek 17 The Bay Area Citizen, 3/11/11
Comal92 New Braunfels Herald Zeitung, 4/5/11 
Dallas1,450 Dallas Morning News, 4/9/11 & Dallas Morning News, 4/9/11 
Denton 274 Denton Chronicle, 3/23/11 Denton Chronicle, 4/27/11 
Eanes 98 Community Impact, 4/8/11 
East Central 7San Antonio Express-News, 3/25/11 
Eastland2KTXS, 4/5/11 
Ector104Odessa American, 4/11/11 
El Paso116 KVIA, 3/30/11 
Floydada5KCBD, 4/6/11
Fort Bend483 Click2Houston, 4/5/11
Fort Worth553 KDFW, 4/12/11 
Georgetown142 KEYE, 3/3/11 
Gorman KTXS, 4/5/11
Hays 156Hays Free Press, 3/23/11 
Hitchcock 15 Galveston Daily News, 3/30/11 
Houston1,007 Houston Chronicle, 4/12/11 
Hutto74 Hutto ISD, 5/4/11 
Irving 278 Dallas Morning News, 4/5/11
Katy550KTRK, 4/5/11
Keller440Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 5/3/11 
Killeen 200KXXV, 4/8/11 
LaJoya 22The Monitor, 4/8/11
Lake Travis 28Community Impact, 4/8/11
LaMarque50 Galveston Daily News, 4/7/11 
Lamesa11KCBD, 4/6/11
Leander 213 Austiin American-Statesman, 3/22/11 
Lewisville 422 Dallas Business Journal, 4/25/11 & Who is Playin, 4/14/11 
Lubbock 70 Lubbock Avalanche Journal, 3/27/11 
Magnolia 179 KHOU, 3/23/11
Marshall 18 KTBS, 4/19/11 
New Braunfels 127 KSAT, 4/7/11
North East69 WOAI, 4/12/11
Northside973 San Antonio Express-News, 4/27/11
Pasadena 340 Houston Chronicle, 4/6/11
Pharr-San Juan-Alamo The Monitor, 4/8/11 
Plainview10 KCBD, 4/6/11
Plano 344 Dallas Morning News, 3/29/11 
PostKCBD, 4/6/11
Round Rock280 Fox 7 Austin, 3/25/11
San Angelo 35 San Angelo Standard-Times, 3/26/11
Santa Maria 26 KRGV, 4/13/11
Shallowater KCBD, 4/6/11
SlatonKCBD, 4/6/11
Socorro100El Paso Times, 4/10/11
Somerset 73 San Antonio Express-News, 4/12/11 
Spring Branch 350 Springbranch ISD, 4/6/11
Tornillo13El Paso Times, 4/10/11
Waco 200KXXV, 4/8/11
West Oso 20KIII, 3/10/11
 Wichita Falls134 Wichita Falls Record-News, 4/2/11
Wyline (Abilene) KTXS, 4/5/11 
TOTAL 12,353 
UPDATE #1: Diboll ISD, 5 more. New total - 12,358. Source - KTRE, 4/27/11
UPDATE #2: Refugio ISD, 14 more. New total - 12,372. Source - Refugio Country Press, 4/25/11

Former Pres. Bush video reaction to death of OBL

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Toons: OBL and the deathers, OBL in Hell, OBL at the bottom of the sea

Let's give credit where it's due: President Kerry would've wrapped this up in 2007.

Those clamoring to give recognition to the previous administration for the killing of Osama bin Laden are like the flies on the ass of the ox who claim credit for plowing the field. Shoo, fly. Look! Fresh droppings!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Tommy Lee Jones, MIB III, and (still hopefully) the US Senate

Via Eye on Williamson, this public service announcement is from Raise Your Hand Texas:

TLJ is currently preparing for the opening of Men in Black III in four weeks. He'll almost certainly make the rounds of the teevee talk shows to promote the movie -- Jay, Dave, Jimmys Kimmel and Fallon, Conan, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert perhaps. It would be a marvelous time for him to spring an announcement that he's at least "considering" a run for the United States Senate from the Great State.

Truly, he's the Texas Democratic Party's only hope. If you're inclined to encourage him to do so, then go to this website and to this Facebook page.

Update: Sorry; MIB3 doesn't open until Memorial Day weekend 2012.