Missed Opportunity? Funding Texas Schools
May 16, 2013
One of the clearest, most dramatic areas in which Texas can do better is with our public schools.
But with less than two weeks left in this legislative session, it isn’t clear whether the state will seize this chance to actually do better.
In 2011, the legislature cut billions of dollars from Texas schools. It was the first time in memory that the legislature failed to fund enrollment growth in our schools. Worse still, budget writers made the harsh cuts despite the roughly $9 billion they had to spend in the Rainy Day Fund.
So Democrats have worked since well before the session began to restore these resources to our kids and classrooms and make sure the 2011 cuts didn’t become a “new normal.” And we’ve had some success — in addition to more than $2 billion that appropriators have put into schools as part of the upcoming budget, the Senate has passed legislation to invest $800 million from the Rainy Day Fund (now projected to have about $12 billion), plus $1.4 billion in unexpected property tax savings, on public schools.
That’s nearly enough to put per-student spending back to its level before the cuts.
So it seems like a no-brainer that the House would put that money into schools, right? Not so fast. The bill to make that investment is moving slowly through the House of Representatives; only this week was it referred to a committee.
Will those in control of the legislature deliver the education investment that Texas needs and Texans demand? Or will this be another missed opportunity?
© 2016 Kirk Watson Texas Senator All Rights Reserved
Political advertisement paid for by Kirk Watson Campaign,
P.O. Box 2004, Austin, TX, 78768; Rosie Mendoza,Treasurer.