Senators vote for ed. budget that cuts teachers

A state Senate committee has approved a $5.6 billion education budget that cuts more than 1,100 teaching positions but gives schools more money to pay operating expenses and school bus costs.

The budget approved unanimously Wednesday by the Senate Finance and Taxation-Education Committee would give two-year colleges slightly less money next year than they are getting this year, while four-year colleges would get more.

The committee's budget is similar to one approved earlier by the House because it cuts 1,125 teaching positions statewide. School officials hope to handle that through attrition rather than layoffs.

The committee chairman, Republican Sen. Trip Pittman, says he hopes to begin debate on the budget Thursday in the Senate.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)