Posted: Oct 23, 2012 5:33 PM by Caroline Flores - firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated: Oct 23, 2012 6:49 PM
CORPUS CHRISTI - CCISD has joined hundreds of school districts across the state in a legal battle over the state's public school funding system.
About 600 of the state's school districts have filed a lawsuit over how the state funds public education. Testimony in the case began yesterday in Austin.
Last year the state legislature, cut over $5 billion from public education and grant programs.
The districts argue in their lawsuit that the state's funding system is unfair forcing them to layoff teachers and have larger classrooms. The state argues there's nothing wrong with they system, instead they say any shortcomings are the fault of individual districts.
So CCISD is taking a stand with the hundreds of other school districts across the state to try and make things right.
"CCISD receives less money than a lot of school districts per student... And we're doing, trying to meet higher expectations with less money," said the Director of Strategic Initiatives with CCISD Debbie Lenz.
The districts that are suing say the state doesn't know how much money it costs to put a child through the public school system. They also say the state won't give an explanation of how the public schools budget is decided.
Back in the 2009 to 2010 school year, before billions of dollars in budget cuts were made, CCISD received a little over $46 million. Then after budget cuts they lost almost $2 million. Now that may seem small compared to how much they are still getting, but losing that $2 million made a big impact on students.
That impact, according to district officials, is overcrowded classrooms. The state says only 22 students are allowed in a class, but CCISD has 37 classes that have exceeded that limit. That means those students may not get as much one on one time with their teacher. Officials say that $2 million they lost could have paid for extra teachers so classes wouldn't be over crowded.
Someone who understands this all to well is the Blanche Moore Elementary principal who takes this issue into her own hands.
"We're offering support staff to go in there so maybe instead of them just having one teacher they're also having a teacher and someone... One of the coaches will come in and assist during the day," said principal Anna Fuentes.
On top of the overcrowded classes, CCISD officials say many year long sport programs have been cut down to one semester. They also say funding for the arts has gone down drastically.
CCISD hopes this suit will get them more funding so students can get the education they feel kids deserve.
CCISD officials expect this case will eventually have to be decided by the Texas Supreme Court.
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