UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 9:54am
WACO -- Central Texas school districts are all taking steps to prepare for big cuts in the education system. This week, Waco ISD voted to freeze salaries of school employees.
A move the district says is concerning but had to be done.
Usually, teachers at Waco ISD earn a pay raise every year, but not anymore.
The board voted Thursday night to freeze their salaries for at least a year.
"We knew it was coming. We were hoping against hope they'd come up with some last minute, 11th hour solution. You can't plan for those things or expect those things to happen, but you can always hope they will," Texas State Teachers Association President, Tony Uzzell told Fox 44.
There was no last minute solution. Now, Waco ISD teacher, librarians, nurses and counselors won't get their usual raise. Something concerning to school board members, parents and teachers alike.
"The cuts coming from the state are deep enough to set education back, you know, maybe a decade. So that will, of course, impact how the kids that are growing up now, how well they're able to compete in the economy in years to come," said Waco ISD Trustee, David Schleicher,
Schleicher says teachers are already underpaid, even though Waco pays above the minimum requirement for Texas Education Association.
On top of that, with threats of up to 100,000 Texas teachers losing their jobs, some wonder if lawmakers are blind to all the cuts they have made so far.
"We've made so many cuts already, and now this. It's almost like they live in this fantasy world where just because public education is 'free to the public', that means it should also be free to the state government," said Uzzell.
Waco ISD could lose $15 million in state funding next year. This freeze will save them nearly $4 million.
The next step is lay-offs, meaning more kids per teacher in each classroom.