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Doggett slams governor on education funding

by EVAN SMITH
The Texas Tribune

The battle of Washington, D.C., versus Texas continues — and this time it’s D.C.’s turn to be fed up. On the letters page of Wednesday’s New York Times, U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, slams Gov. Rick Perry for failing to take $830 million in federal money that Perry and other Republicans complained had strings attached but that Doggett says would have prevented “anti-education ‘smoke and mirrors’ budgeting” by the state. The full letter is reprinted below:

To the Editor:

Re “The Texas Omen” (column, Jan. 7): We applaud Paul Krugman for highlighting Gov. Rick Perry’s disastrous use of “smoke and mirrors” budgeting. In 2009, the governor used $3.25 billion in federal education money to replace state education funds, denying any additional support for Texas schools.

When Congress considered providing new education financing for states last year, the Texas Democratic delegation worked to prevent history from repeating itself.

We acted in concert with Texas superintendents and major statewide education groups to craft a provision ensuring that $830 million of new education financing actually helps Texas schools. Our provision prohibits more anti-education “smoke and mirrors” budgeting.

But the governor refused to sign the three-page financing application because it requires him to use the money as Congress intended — for education.

Five months later, Texas is one of two states that have not been awarded funds from this bill, and the governor continues to delay to the detriment of Texas schools.

Lloyd Doggett
Washington, Jan. 10, 2011

The writer, who represents Texas’s 25th Congressional District, wrote this letter on behalf of the Texas Democratic Congressional delegation.

EVAN SMITH is the CEO and editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune, where this story was originally published. It is reprinted here through a news partnership between the Texas Tribune and the San Marcos Mercury.

4 Comments (Open | Close)

4 Comments To "Doggett slams governor on education funding"

#1 Comment By barnyfife On 01/17/2011 @ 6:13 pm

Texas doesn’t want or need federal money with the attatched caveats. Doggett is just another loud-mouthed liberal, who believes that Washington DC should usurp states rights and run roughshod over the free will of the american people and their individual states. This is why the democrats took a shelacking last November, and will take another shelacking in 2012. This whiny loser should just shut up and let the peoples mandate go to work. His liberal policies are proven failures and we the people of Texas are going to correct his failures soon.

#2 Comment By Aaron On 01/19/2011 @ 5:19 pm

9 elementary schools in Austin are going to be closed by AISD, I believe many of them are in Doggett’s district. Federal money might have saved them. I applaud his efforts.

Ironically, they are some of the best campuses in the district, most of them rated exemplary. They were chosen for closing because they exist on land in high property value areas that AISD can sell to use to for its budget problems. The richer residents will send their kids to private schools or homeschool rather than bus their kids to lower performing poorer schools. Those without the funds to do that will have to accept being bussed to a worse school.

If we want a race to the bottom when it comes to education, Perry is leading the way.

#3 Comment By Lila Knight On 01/20/2011 @ 6:38 am

Perry did not play by the rules – or by the law. Congress passed a law allocating money. Perry took it and spent it anyway he wanted, ignoring the law. It is not about states’ rights. It did, however, affect our children. And I say “our” in the sense of “our community” in the largest possible sense. It’s time we realize we are all in this together.

#4 Comment By brete On 01/20/2011 @ 7:49 am

Aaron as I understand the “Texas Only” rules placed on the Federal money in question, it could not be used to save the schools AISD are looking at closing. Under the Rules added for Texas only by Con. Doggett, those funds can’t be used to replace current dolars (at least in Texas)and current levels of state and local funds can’t be reduced for 3 years.