So back in 2005, after the regular legislative session and two ensuing special sessions on school finance, Governor Perry issued an executive order that would require schools to spend at least 65 percent of their tax money in the classroom. It came out of the blue and was inspired by a national crusade being pushed by the guy who founded Overstock.com. According to the executive order, schools were to be in compliance by the 2009-10 school year or face "tough sanctions," which were not determined at the time.
Now it's 2009. What's the status of that rule?
House Public Education Committee Chairman Rob Eissler said Tuesday that he informed Gov. Rick Perry - the original proponent of the requirement - that it probably won't fit into the new school accountability system to be considered by the Legislature this year. The rule mandated that at least 65 percent of school funds be spent on classroom instruction.
"I told him the 65 percent rule doesn't fit into this new scenario - and he agreed," Eissler told members of his committee at their initial meeting of the session Tuesday. "So we might get that done, because we need to set better rules." The governor ordered school districts to meet the standard in an executive order in 2005 and it was later incorporated into state requirements. But there was little punishment involved for not meeting the 65 percent benchmark and most districts were within range of the threshold anyway.