The Legislature knows how much it will spend on schools – now the Austin Independent School District, and every other district, is waiting to see how it spreads the cuts. In House Bill 1, lawmakers approved $54 billion in school funding for the next biennium. Republicans have raved that total statewide school spending rises by 0.2%. However, that headline figure includes neither inflation nor population growth, leaving public schools $4 billion short of current funding levels. In addition, lawmakers failed to approve the $900 million for books and technology in HB 6 during the regular session, so that has been refiled as Senate Bill 6. They also failed to pass the revised funding equations in SB 1811, so it has been refiled virtually unchanged as SB 1. The bill comes in two halves: first a 6% cut to all districts for the 2011-12 school year, then a change in the funding formulas for 2012-13. If SB 1 passes as is, that means AISD must absorb a $37 million cut in next year's spending (a cut that amounts to 3.5% of the current budget), rising to $58 million (8.5%) the year after. In a statement, AISD said that if SB 1 passes, it would represent "a broken promise" that dumps the state's obligation to protect school districts from the last set of reforms, passed in 2006. Public hearings on SB 1 are scheduled for 10am, June 2. For more Lege news, see LegeLand.
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