Monday, September 13, 2010

Better late than never?

I apologize for the silence, especially during a week that was popping with education news. A family emergency took me to Florida unexpectedly but I'm back at work now.

So, what did I miss? A lot, it seems. Gov. Rick Perry submitted the state's application for $830 million in federal funding but failed to include the required assurances that the state would maintain its current level of education funding for the next three years. Application denied.

Perry claims an amendment by U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett requiring the assurance hamstrings Texas because Perry says its unconstitutional for him to bind future legislatures to certain spending levels. Doggett says Perry's legal argument is "phony" and says without his amendment, state lawmakers would likely have used the extra money to help balance the state's budget - one that includes an $18 billion shortfall.

"That's what occurred with $3.25 billion in federal support last year — leaving our Texas schoolchildren with zero additional benefit from the additional federal funding," Doggett said in a statement last week.

But both sides say it's not over yet. Texas may still have a chance at the money - at least in time for next school year - if the Legislature makes the commitment that Perry says he couldn't make when it convenes in January.

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