"For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life."
[Note: The hearing can be seen here and here; our testimony is at the 53:30 mark of the second link]
Sometimes events transpire in a way that prevents you from making a fool of yourself. That happened this morning, when we were signed up to testify against the school finance bill under consideration in the Senate. Fortunately, the Senate Education committee recessed to go to the floor in time for us to realize Chairman Taylor put forth a committee substitute.
The Trib details the substitute:
Top Senate education leader Larry Taylor took up the House's major school finance reform bill in committee, but tacked on a controversial provision subsidizing private school tuition for special needs students — a move unlikely to go over well in the House.Let's not kid ourselves: this is a political tit-for-tat to repay the House for gutting the Senate property tax bill...but that political tit for tat is awesome!!!
The Senate Education Committee on Thursday morning held a public hearing on the Senate's version of House Bill 21, which Taylor, R-Friendswood, said would cost much less than the House version — which has been pegged at around $1.6 billion. Public education advocates who expected to speak in favor of HB 21 ended up switching their position to oppose it once they heard it included tuition subsidies for students with disabilities.
House members have also expressed their overwhelming opposition to any subsidies for private schools.
“Are they really willing to vote no on the bill that does all those positive things because of one part they don’t like?” Taylor told the Tribune. “For the most part, districts won’t be affected by this at all.”
Obviously, the House won't let this bill get anywhere near the Governor's desk, but since we're playing this game we suggest the following floor amendments:
- Anything that "lowers the fiscal note."
- Making the Education Savings Accounts universal.
- The granddaddy of them all: A provision that prohibits school districts from paying their superintendents more than the state of Texas pays the Governor.
Bottom Line: We've been opposed to the House school finance plan since the day it was unveiled, but we totally support the Senate substitute and commend Chairman Larry Taylor for promoting it!!!