Govenor Perry may have talk radio hosts eating out of his hand, but the newspaper editorial boards continue to be unimpressed. I think we can add this Express News piece to the collection of Items To Save For Next Endorsement Season:
Talk about a desperate move. Gov. Rick Perry is telling the state's school districts how to spend their money.
What happened to local control? Hasn't that been the conservative mantra?
The governor's pronouncement that he's taking this action because the Legislature did not fix the school funding problem is the latest effort by a major state official to shift the blame to his colleagues.
By executive order, Perry is telling schools to spend at least 65 percent of their tax money in the classroom.
While that might sound reasonable, some school superintendents are saying this could lead to damaging cuts in such areas as transportation, school nursing care and security.
A major issue is the definition of what directly affects the classroom. As Northside School District Superintendent John Folks pointed out, many personnel, such as librarians, counselors and speech therapists, are required by law.
"So we're complying with the law and then we're being penalized for it?" he asked.
Perry's action is a ploy to move discussion away from the failure of state leadership to address school issues, which Perry declared in January to be the most important problem facing the state.
Sorry, governor, that won't work. The people of Texas will see through this thinly disguised effort to change the focus and shift the blame.
There's also this DMN editorial, which is equally harsh.
This much positive you can say about Gov. Rick Perry's dictum this week that schools must spend 65 percent of their money on classrooms: He gave Texans a clearer understanding about why Austin can't get anything done on school funding.
Meanwhile, it was odd to see a Republican governor telling local schools how they must spend their money. Only a few years back, then-Gov. George W. Bush made his mark arguing for local control of schools. Evidently, Mr. Perry doesn't share the same trust of them. His office says he's only calling for what those schools are saying themselves. But if that's the case, why give them one more mandate, particularly one that doesn't match the realities of managing a school district?
Buses face higher fuel costs. Health premiums keep rising. And there are the costs of personnel like librarians that don't directly connect to the classroom.
The best way to view the governor's move is through the prism of his re-election campaign. After four failed sessions on school funding, he wants to look like he's doing something about our schools. It's too bad he's out of touch with them.