March 5, 2013
Senator Kirk Watson, Chair of the Texas Senate Democratic Caucus, released the following statement Tuesday regarding the Senate’s passage of the supplemental appropriations bill and other fiscal matters:
“I congratulate the Senate for beginning to make up for the damage inflicted in 2011 to classrooms, teachers and other basic educational necessities. Today’s vote is a recognition that a wise investment can make a real difference for Texas children.
“But in case anyone’s forgotten, the legislature slashed $5.4 billion from Texas schools two years ago, and today’s bills don’t come close to undoing that damage. And last session, the legislature failed to fund enrollment growth for the first time in the state’s known history. To whatever degree today’s legislation creates a ‘new normal’ – in which Texas teachers and students must figure out how to do more and more with fewer resources – the legacy of this legislation will be a painful one.
“The foremost goal of every elected official between now and Memorial Day should be to do better by our schools, not simply to make them a little less worse off. Officials must be more open and honest about the state of Texas schools and the challenges they’re facing – even those challenges imposed by the legislature.
“We should start working immediately to find a permanent solution to the state’s school finance crisis. That should include restoring the full $5.4 billion in education funding that was cut in 2011. If legislators fail to meet that goal, especially with the well-publicized revenue increases we’ve seen, then this session will fail our kids, our schools and our future.”