Senate bill 8 cuts school funding

Stephen Wright, Field Representative Texas AFT
Stephen Wright, Field Representative Texas AFT

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Teachers are speaking out, as they feel senate bill 8 helps the state by cutting budgets, but in turn affects their job security.

"Well, it's a terrible bill. It targets teachers and it rolls back their contract rights in all sorts of ways," said Stephen Wright, Texas AFT Representative. "Basically, creating more of a burden on teachers right now in public schools with less resources and less support".

With low funding in the public school system, the legislature is looking for different ways to support it.

"By giving flexibility in this area to the schools, in my opinion, I think we help protect their jobs," said Senator Robert Nichols.

"The alleged intent is to give school districts local flexibility to deal with budget crisis, but it doesn't really do that," said Wright.

Teachers are feeling punished because this bill allows for 6 unpaid furlough days, lower pay, and last minute decisions on contract renewals.

"They're the ones being hurt because the legislature didn't do its job," said Wright.

The Senate assures us this bill is not as permanent as teachers may think.

"This is a temporary, short term solution. In the bill, it expires when their funding for schools gets back to normal or better," said Nichols.

Senator Nichols assures teachers this is the better opportunity to move money to better fund each district without as many layoffs.

"Jobs would have to be eliminated in some cases, so in effect, it actually protects some of the teachers' jobs. Some people don't see it that way, but that's the way I see it," said Nichols.

The bill passed, however most provisions won't be enacted until the 2012 school year.

Copyright 2011 KTRE. All rights reserved.