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Texas Eyes School Cuts, Big Changes to Funding Formula

Texas Gov. Rick Perry may or may not have his eye on a run for the White House, but for the time being he's immersed in more mundane matters: budget-cutting at home.

The Republican governor called a special legislative session as lawmakers struggled to approve a state budget that seeks to provide schools with $4 billion less than state law requires over the next two years. GOP lawmakers also want to make a more fundamental change in the state's formula for funding schools, which would free them from having to stick to the state's current spending requirements.

Democrats have fought the changes, saying the state should dip into its $6.5 billion reserve fund to stave off the cuts, and that schools are struggling enough financially, as it is. Adding to the pressure on schools is rising student enrollment: It's growing by about 80,000 students a year, statewide. Earlier this year, Texas officials projected a two-year budget shortfall as high as $27 billion.

See my story for more details.

And on a different topic, check out my colleague Michele McNeil's account of how one of the winning Race to the Top states, Delaware, is working to put its plan in place in schools.

The state is using money awarded through the federal competition to coach school officials on how to use data, help administrators figure out better ways to evaluate teachers, and attempt to turn around struggling schools.

But it's also struggling with deadlines and trying to hire the kind of people who can make its plan a success.

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