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Perry asks for federal education funds

About time.

Gov. Rick Perry on Friday submitted the state’s application for the money, which is intended to help school districts save teacher jobs now.

But Texas faced a bigger hurdle than other states because of an amendment authored by U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, that required Texas to assure that state education spending for the next three years would remain on par with current spending.

In an effort to comply with that Texas-specific amendment, Perry committed to “prioritiz(ing) public education funding” in the next budget, though he did not offer the more binding assurances about education spending that Doggett had wanted.

Perry maintains that he cannot provide that assurance without violating the state constitution because the governor can neither appropriate money nor bind a future Legislature to spending money.

Perry’s commitment will probably not be enough to meet the requirements of the amendment right now. Even so, the money could still be available for Texas in 2011 when the Legislature convenes to write the next two-year budget, according to Education Commissioner Robert Scott.

“The Department assured me and the Office of the Governor, both in our meeting in Washington, D.C., and in a follow-up conference call, that the Department has all necessary authority to and will…reserve the $830 million for Texas until the 2012-13 budget becomes law and Texas is awarded the $830 million,” Scott wrote the Education Department.

So all that huffing and puffing was mostly bluffing – you will note, no lawsuits have been filed. Sending that letter to the feds didn’t stop Perry from sending a letter to school superintendents asking them to write the Obama administration to criticize the Doggett amendment, but that plea seems to have fallen on deaf ears. The best outcome remains the case where the Lege promises to use this money on education and then does so. Here’s hoping for that.

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One Comment

  1. Robert Derr says:

    Rick Perry… Years late & &MILLION$ short! Go Bill!!!