Gov. Perry Announces School Savings Incentive
Gov. Rick Perry today announced an incentive for school districts that pool resources and save money by cutting administrative costs that divert much-needed funds from the classroom. Participating districts would receive a grant from the state equaling 10 percent of their total savings from the first year.
"This new school savings incentive rewards Texas school districts that save money by partnering with other districts and entities to share some of these tasks and their associated resources," Gov. Perry said. "These functions can often be performed more efficiently over multiple districts, representing an ideal opportunity for cost savings."
Sharing functions such as human resources, accounting, transportation services, technology and facilities improves district efficiency without forfeiting local control or creating additional bureaucracy. These shared services create the economies of scale that benefit larger districts, while maintaining the individual attention available in smaller districts. School districts are encouraged to work with other districts, counties, municipalities and private sector partners to achieve these savings.
"With the current economic situation, it is important for school districts to look for ways to work more efficiently and maximize their funding," Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott said.
School districts in other states that participate in school savings incentives have seen a 5 to 15 percent savings in purchasing and information technology services. Already in Texas, the Lubbock area regional service center provides payroll and accounting services to an area of approximately 19,000 square miles, saving many rural districts between 50 and 80 percent a year on these costs.
Ensuring that Texas remains a leader in job creation depends on the development of our workforce. Last week, Gov. Perry announced the creation of Texas Education on iTunes U, a modern approach to keeping teachers and students engaged and informed by providing teachers with access to professional development and support materials, and students with free, supplementary educational content that can be accessed anywhere through iTunes.
Gov. Perry has previously outlined several education initiatives for the 2011 legislative session, including:
- A $160 million expansion of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) program, increasing the number and scope of T-STEM Academies and funding STEM scholarships to help ensure students receive a competitive education in these subjects.
- Expansion of the Virtual School Network (VSN) to create the Texas Virtual High School that will provide students who have dropped out of school an opportunity to earn a high school diploma through virtual courses, while improving access to high-quality courses for all students. The VSN was created during the 2007 Legislative Session to establish a statewide network of online courses available to students across the state. These virtual courses give students access to classes their schools may not offer, additional access to dual credit opportunities, and additional flexibility to help keep students in school.
- Generation Adelante/Generación Forward, which encourages Texas high school graduates to pursue higher education by providing them with information about college applications, financial aid and college visits. These college fairs also give students the opportunity to speak with representatives from more than 30 colleges, universities and technical colleges from across the state.
- Requiring high school students to be enrolled in school or working toward a GED to be eligible to keep a Texas drivers license.
- Providing a tax incentive to employers who grant their employees two hours a week of paid time off to return to school or study for their GED. Once the employees have received their diploma or GED, the employer is eligible to receive $1,500 per student in credit toward sales tax liability.