U.S. News

Texas governor offers school grants to spur sharing

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Texas schools that cut bureaucratic costs by sharing services -- from accounting to transportation -- would get grants worth 10 percent of their savings under a plan Governor Rick Perry proposed on Tuesday.

Texas is expected to have to slash spending in its next two-year budget because its deficit is estimated at as high as $18 billion. The Republican governor said his proposal would increase how much money can be devoted to the classroom.

Furthermore, “These shared services create the economies of scale that benefit larger districts, while maintaining the individual attention available in smaller districts,” Parry said in a statement.

The governor, who narrowly leads his Democratic rival, Houston’s former mayor Bill White, in the polls, has decided to seek $830 million in federal education aid, according to local newspapers, including the Star-Telegram of Fort Worth.

That is how much Texas stood to receive from the $10 billion Congress enacted to help save 161,000 teaching jobs around the nation.

A Perry spokeswoman had no immediate comment.

Perry had at first spurned the funds because Texas was the only state that would be required to spend the same amount on its schools for three years in row. This obligation was crafted by a Texas Congressman who wanted to ensure the money would not be used for other purposes.

Reporting by Joan Gralla; editing by Todd Eastham