Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Drastic Texas Public Education Cuts On The Way—Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up

At the end of this post is weekly Texas Progressive Alliance Round-up. The TPA is a confederation of the best political bloggers in Texas. TPA members are citizen-bloggers who are working hard for a better Texas.

With the round-up this week is a reminder that former Republican Texas Governor Bill Clements, who died last week, signed a $5.8 billion tax bill in his second term as Governor to fund public education in Texas.

That action stands in sharp contrast to the current Republican-dominated Texas legislature which has not only gutted public education funding for the next two years, but that is also working to change the funding formula so that Texas education remains underfunded for years to come.

From Patrcia Kilday Hart of the Houston Chronicle

“In our current system, the Legislature sets out school funding formulas in statute, usually after lawmakers see computer runs demonstrating how a particular scheme affects their schools. Putting those formulas in statute means the state is legally obligated to fully compensate school districts for variables like enrollment growth or lost tax revenue due to declining property values. ( The plan now under consideration)… will free lawmakers to decide each budget cycle to choose how much money schools get. Public education will be toppled from its special status in the state budget to just another program that will compete for scarce dollars…. The GOP leadership has downplayed the impact of this change, arguing that lawmakers have always made public schools a priority. But the very reason this school finance bill is necessary is to free the state from owing about $4 billion under current formulas. To some, including Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, this is sound policy. Last week, he called the school finance proposal “a true cut in an entitlement.” Note the use of that dirty word — entitlement — as if public education is some kind of welfare…Former Gov. Bill Clements, who died last week, got elected on a promise of tax cuts. During his second term, Clements swallowed his considerable pride and signed a $5.8 billion tax bill to pay for education.”

Here is an obituary for Governor Clements.

My own view is that Republican intent is starve Texas public schools to the extent politically possible because of an ideological opposition to the very idea of public schools. This opposition is part of the shift of the Republican Party in Texas, and of the Republican Party in the nation as a whole, ever more to the extreme right.

Here is a report from the Abilene Reporter-News about the sharp cuts in education funding on the way for this part of our state.

If folks in Abilene and in communities near Abilene think their kids will be able to get into good colleges and will be able to compete in the global economy with even fewer resources than they have now—Than more power to everybody involved.

Republicans in the Texas legislature will do what their ideology compels them to do, and then it will all go to the courts. We’ll see how it all turns out and we’ll see how many students and teachers will get hurt along the way.

The Round-up—

Off the Kuff suggests that maybe a Rick Perry presidential campaign might not be such a bad thing after all.

The demise of the ‘sanctuary cities’ bill in the closing days of the Texas Legislature’s 82nd session represents a “strategic victory” for Rick Perry, according to Mark Jones at Rice University’s James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs also notes, in other news, that a Blue Angels-like formation of flying pigs is circling the state capital.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wants to know why Bill Gates is helping Republicans destroy our public education system. Could it be all of that potential revenue from computerized curricula?

At Left of College Station Teddy wants to know: who is the Texas Public Policy Foundation? Then he takes a look at the power, influence, and money at work on the board of directors on the TPPF, and the man behind the so-called ‘breakthrough solutions’, Jeff Sandefer.

McBlogger takes a look at the compromises Speaker Straus had to make to the Teabaggers and their allies, compromises that will more than likely return Texas to recession.

Neil at Texas Liberal noted that Democratic Houston Mayor Annise Parker has proposed a city budget that is balanced on the backs of city workers and on citizens of Houston who are most in need of city services.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson has an update on what’s been happening in Williamson County.

June 5, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , ,

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