WASHINGTON Ã¯Â¿Â½ U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) on Sept. 13 introduced a bill to repeal a House provision in the Education Jobs Bill that discriminates solely against the state of Texas. As a result of the House language, Texas will be denied over $800 million in federal funding.
"Our amendment would put a stop to Texas Democrats' efforts to play politics with much-needed funding for Texas schools and teachers. Texas taxpayer dollars belong in Texas schools Ã¯Â¿Â½ not in California or New York, as the Doggett Amendment would have it. I urge my colleagues to support our amendment so we can remove this partisan roadblock and move quickly to restore critical federal funding to Texas schools," said Sen. Cornyn.
"I am disappointed and puzzled that the teachers and schoolchildren of Texas Ã¯Â¿Â½ and Texas alone Ã¯Â¿Â½ have been singled out and penalized by the House's actions," said Sen. Hutchison. "It is unfair to require our state to make a commitment for three years of funding, knowing full well that the Texas Legislature is constitutionally prohibited from committing funds for a future legislature. As a result, our state will be denied over $800 million in federal funding. I hope our legislation will correct this punitive provision and put Texas schools on equal footing with the rest of the nation's schools."
The Hutchison- Cornyn bill will strip the language requiring Texas to make a commitment for three years of funding in order to be eligible for any of the $10 billion in the Education Jobs Fund. To be in compliance with the provision, the state would have to violate its own constitution.
The Texas Legislature has sole authority to determine state appropriations Ã¯Â¿Â½ they cannot be dictated by the federal government. Additionally, one legislature cannot bind a future legislature. Moreover, this provision singles out Texas because all other states must only commit to one year of funding in order to receive Education Jobs Program funding.
The House language also requires only Texas to distribute funds through Title I funding formula, rather than allowing the governor to determine the funding distribution. In Texas this would preclude 31 districts from receiving any funds, and will result in less funding for 66 percent of the state's school districts.
On September 9, the U.S. Department of Education denied an application from Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott for $830 million from the Education Jobs Fund.
The Education Jobs Fund is a new federal program that provides $10 billion in assistance to states to save or create education jobs for the 2010-2011 school year.
Jobs funded under this program include those that provide educational and related services for early childhood, elementary, and secondary education.
Texas Republicans in the House, led by Congressman Michael Burgess (R-Texas-23), are introducing the House companion bill later this week.