65% plan to include librarians
Some criticized Perry’s classroom spending proposal as putting sports before education
— reported by the Houston Chronicle
Librarians will be included in a proposed definition of classroom spending for the new 65 percent rule, removing one of the biggest criticisms of Gov. Rick Perry’s initiative.
Education Commissioner Shirley Neeley said Thursday that the inclusion “recognizes that librarians provide an important direct instructional service to students.”
Last August, Perry ordered Neeley to create a new financial accountability system that included a requirement that 65 percent of a school district’s budget be spent on classroom instruction. His executive order referred to the definition for classroom instruction that is used by the National Center for Education Statistics, the statistical arm of the U.S. Education Department.
The draft rule has a three-year phase-in period for districts to reach the 65 percent classroom spending level. If adopted after a public comment period, districts would be required to spend at least 55 percent on instructional costs in 2006-07, 60 percent in 2007-08 and 65 percent in 2008-09. Districts that don’t reach 65 percent could take other steps to improve their financial accountability rating.
Texas Includes School Librarians in 65 Percent Solution
— reported by the School Library Journal
In a huge victory for media specialists, Texas has agreed fund the salaries of school librarians under its 65 percent solution rule.
State Education Commissioner Shirley Neeley on April 6 agreed to classify school librarians as instructional expenses, meaning they now qualify for a portion of the nearly $1 billion in expenditures that will be made available for classrooms. Neeley has been charged with carrying out Governor Rick Perry’s executive order requiring school districts to spend at least 65 percent of their budgets on classroom instruction, says Rita Chase, TEA’s acting managing director of school financial audits.
Texas school districts spend 54 percent of their budgets in the classroom. First Class Education, a national interest group behind the movement, purports that billions of dollars will be available for teachers and kids if all states raised that amount to at least 65 percent.