There is no issue more important than public education. The manner in which we deal with this issue dictates the trajectory of our future economy and the viability of our Texas middle class.
Unfortunately, the state chose to continue to underfund public education, approving a budget that leaves over 30% of Texas schools still receiving less per pupil than before the massive 2011 budget cuts, and $700 million less than the first House budget I supported. Instead of taking advantage of a booming economy to support our schools, our teachers remain underpaid, our classrooms remain over-crowded, and our school administrators continue to be asked to do more with less.
- HB 4 creates a $130 million grant program for Pre-Kindergarten improvements, but fails to provide full-day Pre-K for all Texans. Even with these additional funds, Pre-K funding remains less than it was before the 2011 budget cuts. A $400 million appropriation, would have provided this needed investment, and I hope to see greater support for young Texans next session.
- HB 1759, the attempt to fix school finance, was not debated on the House floor because of resistance in the Senate. Although this bill was not the long-term solution to our school finance issues, I co-authored this measure because it would have provided $800 million in additional funds to our public schools.
To put these issues in some sort of monetary perspective, we allocated $800 million to further militarize the border and we left $11 billion untouched in the rainy day fund.