Rapoport Academy deals with budget cuts

POSTED: Friday, July 1, 2011 - 2:54pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 8:54am

WACO -- Legislators have cut $4 billion from public schools. Now, school officials are implementing their contingency plans.

However, one school is surviving the budget blows. Rapoport Academy's founder and Superintendent, Nancy Grayson, started the school to provide a good education to a low-income area.

"I didn't want to start a school. I was only angry at the scores that were coming out of this East Waco neighborhood. So starting the school for me was a commitment to social justice," says Grayson.

But when she learned of the cuts, her life's work was threatened.

"It means everyone doing more jobs than they've been doing which is already a lot. It means a few people having to give up their jobs."

The public charter school gets paid $2,000 less per student than other public schools. However, when legislators implemented the same six percent cut to their district, they only lost a few teachers and classroom size is only growing from 15 to 17 students.

Waco ISD alone is losing more than 80 teachers and increasing class sizes.

Grayson says now schools across the state are coming to her for advice.

Science teacher Jill Barrow says the key is keeping teachers motivated.

"Do whatever it takes to make sure their education is not disrupted, the quality of what we do is not disrupted by any sort of outside cut or interference," says Barrow.

Grayson worries legislators won't realize the impact of their decisions since a new standardized test means no accountability scores for a year.

"If you're going to change the funding significantly, and have no accountability tied to it, how will the legislator, how will Texas Education Agency, how will the state board know what the impact of the budget cuts are on student performance? That's really why we're here," explains Grayson.

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