Doggett says Gov. Perry deliberately sabotaged Texas’ chances for federal education funding
The U.S. Department of Education rejected Texas’ request for $830 million in education funding, and U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin) is accusing Gov. Rick Perry of deliberately sabotaging the state’s application and delaying federal aid to Texas schools.
Doggett wrote an amendment that required Perry to pledge that the state would not use federal stimulus funds to replace existing state school funding, like legislators did in 2009 to balance the budget (although Perry had signed a similar pledge about use of stimulus money).
Here is the news release from Doggett, with the cited attachments linked below:
U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett responded to Governor Rick Perry’s deliberate alteration of an application for $830 million in new federal education funding, which caused the U.S. Department of Education yesterday to reject his improper request. (attachment 1)
“In another act of bad faith, the Governor knew that his alteration of a federal application for education funds would only delay the immediate federal support that Congress voted to provide our local schools. Compare what the Governor signed last year (attachment 2) to what he was required to sign this year (attachment 3) to what he altered and submitted this year (attachment 4, see boxed text, page 3 of application). None of his hand-wringing qualified his July 1, 2009 request for federal education support, which offered the assurance, among other things, that: ‘In FY 2011, the State will maintain State support for elementary and secondary education at least at the level of such support in FY 2006.’ (attachment 2) Solely because of his willful alteration of the federal application, schools across Texas will have millions less available now to meet local education needs.
It is true that the Governor’s action, for now, places Texas schools in no worse position than they would have been without approval of our Texas Democratic amendment. Thanks to the Governor, they get no money now, and had there been no such amendment, any money they got would have likely been subtracted from state aid. That’s what occurred with $3.25 billion in federal support last year—leaving our Texas schoolchildren with zero additional benefit from the additional federal funding.
With our amendment, they at least have a chance of eventually securing this federal support. Moving forward, as the Department of Education notes, Texas still has the potential to access federal funds that the Department continues to hold for local Texas schools. The Governor has apparently told the Department that eventually ‘the State envisions submitting an application at a later date that does not contain conditional assurances.’ (attachment 1)
This struggle is not about more spending; it is about ensuring that the federal spending we already have is used for the purpose for which it is intended—in this case strengthening public education. It is not about forcing the State to spend more, but only about seeing that the State does not deny aid to education to local schools solely because they have received additional federal aid.
In June, a coalition of Texas school superintendents and Texas education organizations representing Texas teachers, principals, school boards, and school administrators asked Congress to prevent history from repeating itself and ensure that new federal funds for education actually increase support for Texas students. Better than anyone else, they understand how the State prevented State Stabilization stimulus education funds from providing any additional help to our local schools last year, which is why they recognized the need for extra protection for new education funds sent to our State this year.
The bottom line is this: Federal aid to education should actually aid education in our local Texas schools. I understand that Governor Perry fears accountability for using these federal taxpayer dollars for their intended purpose. It is almost as if the Governor felt he was entitled to his own blank check federal bailout.”