A few years ago, I had the chance to chat with Doug Killian across the interview table when I was interviewing for 3 different jobs–My current Director position, a Coordinator level position for another large district, and Technology Coordinator for small school district on the outskirts of San Antonio.
Though he offered me the job–all of them did–in that small district, my current employer had already asked…the pay was better, potentially, the impact on people more widespread. Who could turn down a large school district? I recommended a colleague for that job, and he is still employed there…and hopes to continue that way. I have only nice things to say about Doug Killian and respect his work from his time at Education Service Center and in that district. That’s why I perked up when I read what he had to say in the news article highlighted below.
Doug makes some excellent points in this interview quoted below. I suppose, the most unbelievable part about this is how the politicians set us all up for this fall. It makes me wonder if they were laughing their heads off in 2005 knowing that this was coming…a way to “starve the beast” that is public education into submission so they could divert funding into private/charter schools where their own children go to school.
Many of our schools are in “flames” as programs are pilfered for funding, campuses are closed, so I hope this information sends a clear message to everyone who can vote in Texas…we need better leadership.
The worst part of it, state legislators have the temerity to blame the budget crisis on educators who have been killing themselves to fulfill the unfunded mandates the State has foisted on them. Let’s remember that these mandates came from ONE party in control over an extended period of time.
Politicians. As my Dad, a staunch Republican, pointed out many a time, “They’re a bunch of crooks and liars.” You know, he never differentiated between the two parties when he said it. Every year that goes by, I find myself reaching for the political activism that my grandfather and great-uncle practiced as self-taught educators, civic officials fighting on behalf of the poor man. I’d like to think that our superintendents, people like Doug Killian, are standing up for the poor people who can’t.
View a highlighted version of “” at http://awurl.com/7QQTpTjvl
Just the highlights:
* Budget-squeezed district looking to close school byAPRIL CASTRO, Associated Press Published: 09:01 a.m., Saturday, February 5, 2011
* Second grader J.D. Killian doesn’t yet realize the elementary school where he gets special classes may soon close.The 8-year-old, who has long struggled with reading, has improved three levels this year and is close to no longer needing a speech therapist. His dad, Hutto Superintendent Douglas Killian, is painfully aware of it.
* Douglas Killian plans to recommend closing Veterans’ Hill Elementary at next week’s school board meeting as part of a district-wide plan to deal with a state budget shortfall of more than $15 billion.
* Lawmakers are just starting work on the next two-year state budget. While draft versions have been presented, the final document will be vastly different and won’t be approved and signed by the governor until next summer. That’s too late for schools that have to adopt their budgets by August and face state-mandated teacher-hiring deadlines.
* Lawmakers have proposed taking almost $5 billion from public education. Early plans also do not pay for an estimated 160,000 new students who are expected to enroll in public schools over the next two years.
* “We’re definitely going to have to take our licks in education, but a 5-point-something-billion-dollar cut to education on an annual basis, when we’re already sitting at about 42nd in the nation in terms of student spending?” Killian asked. “That’s not smart.”
* Killian said. “What they’re hiding behind right now is ‘oh, it’s the economy that’s done this.’ That is very far from the truth.”
* About a third of the revenue shortfall was caused by lower-than-expected sales tax receipts during the recession. But most of it was created when the state overhauled the business tax structure and the school finance system in 2005. The new tax structure did not generate enough money to offset decreases in school property tax rates, creating a recurring $10 billion budget hole.In the current budget, the hole was filled with some state savings and federal stimulus dollars that are no longer available.
* Under the early proposals, about 9,000 state jobs would be eliminated. But that doesn’t account for teacher layoffs, which analysts say could total 100,000 statewide.