Open Letter to Jodie Laubenberg – Save the Rainy Day Fund

Honorable Jodie Laubenberg
Texas House District 89 Representative
Rockwall County Office
507 East Boydstun
Rockwall, TX  75087-2721

Subject: Use of “Rainy Day” fund for recurring (budgeted) expenses

Jodie,

I know that you and all state representatives and state senators have been mercilessly pressured to maintain state school spending levels. School administrations have recruited teachers, students and parents to write, call and “walk the halls” in order to minimize budget cuts. Our own Rockwall ISD sent out an appeal along with “talking points”.

You and I know very well the purpose of holding money for contingencies. Our Texas “Rainy Day” fund was established to cover emergencies like hurricanes, floods, epidemics and wild fires – events for which it is impossible to budget.

Isn’t it the purpose of the budget to cover recurring state expenses? Is it wise to tap our emergency fund to placate school administrators? Even as I write and as you read this letter, over 1,000,000 acres of Texas is ablaze. Just this morning I heard reports of additional firefighters being dispatched from the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Where will the money come from? What happens when hurricanes lash our shores?

Long-range weather forecast predicts 17 names storms, nine hurricanes – five major hurricanes – during 2011. Presently, our northern hemisphere is in a period of unstable weather. No doubt, you are aware of the extraordinary number of tornadoes wreaking havoc across the southern tier of states. It is this weather pattern that exacerbates west Texas grass fires.

I urge you to preserve our emergency funds and make the hard choice to cut state spending. As I have said before to you, the problem with school funding lies not with students or teachers. The chief problems are district indebtedness and bloated bureaucracies. Our opportunity is to preserve teachers’ jobs and represent the interests of students as we reduce administrative overhead. For the record: Rockwall ISD has a non-teaching staff to teaching staff ratio of 1:1.

Sincerely,

John White

Rockwall, Texas 75087

One thought on “Open Letter to Jodie Laubenberg – Save the Rainy Day Fund

  1. Dear Jody,

    It seems when I write, it’s urging support of unpopular stances, such as not tapping our Rainy Day Fund for education. The problems with school funding are:

    1. Illegal immigration and the burden it has placed on our Texas schools
    2. Huge administrative staffs earning truly high salaries
    3. Unfunded state mandates including teacher to student ratios, size of new classrooms built, number of computer terminals required in each new classroom, and building specifications for all new schools along with rules and regulations of every kind
    4. Soon to retire administrators and chummy relationships with school boards that “bump up” salaries to boast retirement benefits,(highest and best three years salary is used in calculating monthly retirement income) impacting Teachers Retirement System until the death of the retiree

    Here in Rockwall, we have over spent on new stadiums, giant indoor, state of the art, swimming pools, Heath High School (with a campus worthy of a college), multiple new lighted tennis courts, a performing arts auditorium, professional kitchen for culinary arts program, – just to name a few. Of course, Federal mandates have added huge costs to everything from ADA compliance to providing equal (and grandiose) facilities for male and female sports participants. Now, we have no money because the state has cut funding.

    We need to get back to basics and taking money from the Rainy Day Fund is an unwise decision in the long run. It’s a short term fix. Homeowners cannot afford to have property taxes go up, up, up. The ONLY answer is to cut spending and I seriously doubt core education (reading, writing, math, science, history) will suffer.

    Thanks for letting me sound off.

    Carol Crow

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