Do we now expect to get those federal education dollars?

You may recall that last year, Congress passed a supplemental appropriations bill that included $830 million in education funds for Texas, but which came with the requirement that Texas maintain its spending levels on education for the next three fiscal years. When Governor Perry applied for the funds but said he could not make that promise, the application was denied. See here, here, and here for some background. As of today, the situation has not changed but Perry is seeking a way around the restriction.

Gov. Rick Perry is asking Congress to repeal a federal provision that has stirred up a political hornet’s nest and tied up about $830 million intended to help struggling Texas schools.

In a letter to Texas Democrats on Friday, Perry reiterated his position that state law forbids him from making the assurances about spending that the federal law requires.

Perry, who was in Washington to speak to several groups Friday, urged the delegation to repeal the amendment, which he said “unfairly targets Texas schoolchildren, teachers and taxpayers.”

State Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, added the amendment to last year’s $10 billion education jobs bill that required Texas to certify that the state’s public education spending would hold steady as a proportion of the state budget for three years. Other states had to make that assurance for one year.

I rather doubt that Perry will get his wish on this; even if the Republican-controlled House goes along with it, the Senate is unlikely to. But I’m beginning to wonder if something may give one way or the other. It was a paragraph in this AP story about the Republicans in Austin waking up to the realities of the budget cuts they’ve proposed that got me thinking:

Modest fee increases also are possible, and more than $800 million in federal education money could be added before the session ends in May. The federal dough has been tied up in a partisan squabble between Austin and Washington.

The Trib has more on this. There’s no other mention of those funds in the story, so I don’t know if this is just idle speculation or the result of enough background chatter to make it seem plausible. Obviously, I’d like for Texas to get the money, and I’d like for Texas to comply with the spending requirement that comes with it. The problem is that unless Congressional Republicans get their way and repeal the Doggett amendment, the only other option is for Perry to cave, and I just don’t see that happening. I could be wrong and I hope I am, but I’m not going to bet any of my own money on it.

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One Response to Do we now expect to get those federal education dollars?

  1. Pingback: House repeals Doggett Amendment – Off the Kuff

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