The $4 billion in cuts to Texas public schools this summer might be starting to hit Gov. Rick Perry where it hurts most--his record on creating jobs.
Texas lost 900 jobs in local school districts in August, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. August is when back-to-school hiring typically resumes after districts purge payrolls in the summer, yet districts statewide kept shedding jobs last month for the first time since at least 1990.
Teachers groups and some economists say it's the first glimpse of deep school spending cuts showing up in the state's jobless numbers.
The job cuts could be politically sensitive for Perry, who has based his campaign for president largely on Texas' record of job growth during his 11 years as governor. When Perry and the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature approved the budget cuts, he said schools could cut back on jobs outside the classroom and other expenses to minimize teacher losses. He has also asserted that Texas has maintained a high quality of education with modest spending.