LIFESTYLE

Latinos Are Now Majority of Texas Students

In this photo made Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011, five-year-old kindergarden students Gael Alvarado, left, Perla Ortiz, center, and Yahir Perez do school work in a bilingual english-spanish class at Hanby Elementary School in Mesquite, Texas. Mesquite ISD, like many districts in Texas, has seen a demographic shift in the racial make up students over the past 10 years. Hispanics account for two-thirds of Texas' growth over the past decade and now make up 38 percent of the state's total population, according to new local U.S. Census figures released Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011. (AP Photo/LM Otero) (AP Photo/LM Otero)

In this photo made Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011, five-year-old kindergarden students Gael Alvarado, left, Perla Ortiz, center, and Yahir Perez do school work in a bilingual english-spanish class at Hanby Elementary School in Mesquite, Texas. Mesquite ISD, like many districts in Texas, has seen a demographic shift in the racial make up students over the past 10 years. Hispanics account for two-thirds of Texas' growth over the past decade and now make up 38 percent of the state's total population, according to new local U.S. Census figures released Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011. (AP Photo/LM Otero) (AP Photo/LM Otero)  (AP2011)

For the first time, Latinos comprise the majority of Texas public school students.

The Texas Education Agency reports Hispanic students this school year account for 50.2 percent of the state's 4.9 million children enrolled in public schools, including pre-kindergarten and early childhood education.

Currently, there are an estimated 2.48 million Hispanics students in Texas public schools.

Hispanics last year made up nearly 49 percent of the students. TEA spokeswoman Debbie Ratcliffe said Tuesday that the Hispanic population is the fastest-growing group of students.

Texas lawmakers are dealing with a projected $15 billion budget shortfall in the next two-year spending period. Possible funding cuts for public education have been discussed.

Overall, the Latino growth accounted for two-thirds of the Texas's population gains between 2000 and 2010, and Latinos now make up 38 percent of the population. Non-Hispanic whites dropped to 45.3 percent and blacks make up 11.5 percent of the population.

This is based on a story by The Associated Press.

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