With the entire state facing a major budget crunch, Senator Carol Martin says the time is right for the legislature to adopt her proposal allowing school districts to share administrative costs.
"Once again, I am proposing a strictly voluntary method of allowing school districts to retain their identities while cutting costs dramatically by sharing administrative costs," explained Senator Martin.
The senator has proposed the cost saving measure in two previous sessions, each time winning passage by the full Senate, but not even being heard by committee in the House. However Senator Martin is hopeful the bill will receive passage in the 2002 session which begins February 4th.
"This is a proposal that merits serious consideration; particularly this year, when we are facing hundreds of millions of dollars in budget shortfalls in the current budget as well as in fiscal 2003. The best we can hope for is not to cut education budgets, but that means there will be no additional dollars to increase their salaries or benefits, such as the teachers' cost for health insurance," said Martin, R-Comanche.
Senator Martin stressed Senate Bill 837 would not force the closure of schools or mandate the merger of districts, but would simply allow them to save hundreds of thousands of dollars by sharing administrations.
"If districts choose to utilize administrative cost savings, they would have money available to help educators with insurance costs, as well as more funds for books and computers. It just makes good sense to give them this option," commented Senator Martin.