POSTED: Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 5:23pm
UPDATED: Saturday, December 22, 2012 - 3:12pm
As the next session of the Texas Legislature approaches, the Lieutenant Governor and the head of the Education Committee have announced their plan to overhaul the state school system.
And some of the proposals have critics in an uproar.
Fittingly, the press conference was held at a Catholic parochial school in San Antonio.
Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst and State Senator Dan Patrick outlined the changes they’d like to see in education in the next legislative session.
Patrick is a longtime advocate of state-funded vouchers to allow children to leave public schools and go to private ones.
Now, he is proposing a plan to let businesses contribute voluntarily to a fun to provide so-called scholarships for children to leave what he describes as failing schools.
In return, they’d get a break of up to 25% on their Franchise Tax payments to the state.
Senator Patrick says school districts like TISD wouldn’t lose money because those businesses getting the franchise tax break would continue to pay property taxes.
But franchise tax money also goes to the schools. If that is cut, money to schools is cut. And they took a big hit in the last session.
Linda Bridges heads up the Texas branch of the American Federation of Teachers.
‘The reality is, we need to be talking about restoring funds, not draining more funds from the public schools,” she told KETK.
Patrick also proposed reducing our dependency on high stakes testing like the STAAR test and mnake the school accountability system simpler and easier to understand.
And he wants to expand opportunities for non-college bound students.
Bridges wants to see the fine print.
Meanwhile, the former revenue estimator for the Comptroller’s Office, Stuart Greenfield says we now have enough money in the rainy day fund to restore the school cuts from two years ago.