Tuesday, February 25, 2003


The Houston Chronicle reported the other day that the Texas State Department of Education has 850 employees.

According to budget figures on file with the Nebraska Legislature, Nebraska’s statewide education agency has 489 full-time equivalent employees.

Texas has 16,920,000 people, according to the U.S. Census. Nebraska has 1,595,000.

So Texas has one state education bureaucrat for every 19,905.9 Texans.

Meanwhile, there is one state education bureaucrat for every 3,261.8 people in Nebraska.

Does that mean education bureaucrats in Texas are six times more efficient than their Nebraska counterparts?

Well . . . if there is a logical explanation, it should come out on March 4, when the Appropriations Committee of the Nebraska Legislature reviews the State Education Department’s proposed budget.

Maybe there will be fireworks like there were at a similar budget hearing in Texas. According to the Houston Chronicle, State Rep. Jim Pitts of Waxahachie went ballistic when he learned that, despite a $2.8 billion budget shortfall in education alone, the Texas State Education Agency proposed reducing its workforce of 850 by only 10 people.

The senator railed, “We’ve got to find more money in this agency. I don’t think you all have looked enough to scrub this agency.”

He said the state’s “severe fiscal crisis” was causing deep cuts in programs for disabled students, teenage parents and juvenile offenders, and yet staff reductions proposed in the state education agency totaled less than 1 percent.

It looks as though the Nebraska State Education Department is asking for funding to stay just about the same, at $48.5 million.

Will that stand? Stay tuned.

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