Friday, September 10, 2010

Rick Perry’s Plan to Rescue Texas Schools

It’s a rather simple plan that costs Rick Perry nothing but makes for him lots of political hay: Do Nothing.

Do nothing to help Texas schools as they struggle to educate a growing population of school children with less and less funding. Less funding because property values are falling, and in Texas school districts depend on a levy on the value of property. Less funding because sales are down and state coffers depend on the a 6% tax on the sales of a whole bunch of retail items.

And do nothing to ensure that Texas receives the federal funds that it deserves from the recently passed $10 billion appropriation to help states to retain their teacher employee rolls.

It’s true. When Texas filed its application at the Department of Education to receive their share of the $10 billion, roughly $830 million, Governor Perry failed to submit the assurance that the law required of him. And the Department of Education denied their request for funds.

“The denial of Texas' application, which came via a letter to the state that was released Thursday, had been telegraphed by Education Department officials because the governor would not — or could not — provide the required assurance. Instead, Perry committed to prioritizing public education”
Just what was that assurance? I mentioned it before here, that the bill passed into law and signed by President Obama required the governor of Texas to assure the Department of Education that it would maintain or increase its level of funding for education for three years. Perry failed to provide that assurance.

All he committed to was “to prioritizing public education.”

Empty words when the governor is guilty as charged of taking $3.25 billion in federal funds meant to enhance education in Texas and putting it in the education fund while at the same time withdrawing a like amount of state funding so that he could balance the state’s budget.

In other words, Perry used the federal dollars meant to enhance education in Texas to balance his budget instead of using them as they were meant to be used.

Perry is the only governor to do that, so Texas is the only state that has to provide this assurance before it will receive any more funds from the feds for education.

So because Perry refuses to comply, Texas is out $830 million in funds to help our schools. He scores big points among his base for fighting the DC insiders, as he wants people to believe, but Texas loses.

Texas’ teachers lose their jobs.

Texas’ children receive a less than quality education.

But Rick Perry really doesn’t care, because Rick Perry is in it for himself.

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