Texas Education Agency to Lay Off 178 Employees

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Texas Education Agency is laying off
178 employees this week as part of budget cuts ordered by the state
Legislature.

TEA spokeswoman Debbie Ratcliffe said the agency is reducing its
operating budget by $48 million, or 36 percent, most of which will
come from the layoffs since payroll and benefits are the bulk of
their costs.

The state education agency oversees pre-kindergarten to
12th-grade education and allocates billions of dollars to school
districts.

The cuts are being made to deal with reduced state tax revenue
caused by the nation's economic downturn. The Legislature chose to
cut spending by $15.2 billion rather than increase taxes or spend
all of the $9.7 billion rainy day fund.
Thousands of state government layoffs are expected in the coming
weeks.