Matt has a copy of a letter, now circulating the Senate, signed by about a dozen citizens' and teachers' groups, that call on the Senate to reject the House's approach and take positive action on school reform. In particular:
Together, we represent the interests of millions of Texans, hard-working families. On their behalf, we urge you to:
- Eliminate the provisions contained in HB 2, an anti-education measure which prohibits future revenue growth in business taxes from being spent on education, or anything else but property tax reduction. This effectively slams the door on future education funding.
- Maintain full equity by flowing any new funds for education improvement through current equity-based funding formulas. Equity funding protects the great majority of our middle class students, especially those in rural areas, as well as those living in property-poor districts.
- Raise annual teacher pay at least $3,000 and reverse the deep cut in the teacher health-care stipend.
- Keep the promise to invest $1.8 billion in education that is contained in the current budget. That money disappears under the provisions of HB 1. Now that the state has an unprecedented budget surplus, that promise must not be forgotten. Restore the $1.8 billion.