Educators throughout the state of Texas are putting pressure on state legislators via email, petitions, phone calls, blog posts, and rallying on the steps of state capitol in Austin. Prior to the “Save Texas Schools” rally on March 12th, Governor Perry was asked about education funding recently, his response was that Texas will ‘not throw money’ at schools.
Perry also decided that the state would not compete in the Race to the Top grant funds in 2010:
Texas will not compete for a potential $700 million in federal grant funding for schools, Gov. Rick Perry said Wednesday, because it could give Washington too much say in deciding what the state’s students should learn. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/6813774.html
The rally held on March 12th was extremely successful and educators throughout the state had a large presence at the rally. The legislators know that this issue will remembered the next time Texas educators go to vote – especially if Perry runs for president. By avoiding committee meetings, extending tax relief bills that would generate millions of dollars or distancing himself from negative items and leaving things to local school boards, Perry can state that while running for presidency that he is not responsible nor made the financial decision.
The Rainy Day Fund, made up of deposits from oil and gas taxes, is expected to have more than $9 billion by the end of the next budget period.
Rally participants are also asking that Perry sign the paperwork that will allow schools to receive about $830 million set aside by Congress for Texas schools. The money has gotten caught up in political maneuvering with Washington and Perry has refused to sign the application that he says has too many strings attached.
Recently, Perry and staff cancelled several meetings with state legislators serving on Texas funding committees and refused to meet to discuss using the state Rainy Day Funding to fund Texas schools. When money was flowing and budget constraints weren’t as tight as they are now, there were school district employees that misappropriated funds. If a gasoline/oil company donated items to schools, I don’t see that as throwing money at a school. I appreciated and loved those donations – regardless of their motives for ‘donating’ items to schools. In my opinion, that is a cowardly move and to say that money will not be thrown at schools, insinuating that money has been ‘thrown’ at public schools in the past, indicates further that Perry is ‘not good for Texas’ – as the political sayings go. Looks like the pressure is working – it is up to us to help make the Rainy Day Fund ‘good for Texas’.