Texas poised to receive federal education money
During his 2010 re-election campaign, Gov. Rick Perry vowed to secure $830 million in federal education aid for Texas schools that had been held up in Washington.
The stalled money became the subject of a political fight between Perry and Democratic U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Austin after Doggett inserted into the law special conditions that Texas must meet to get its share of $10 billion in education funding disbursed to states.
Objecting to this kind of treatment, Perry and other Republican leaders called for a repeal of the Texas-only conditions.
We moved this promise to In the Works after the governor traveled to Washington in February to talk with U.S. House Republican leaders about removing the special requirements.
Perry got his wish this month as part of an eleventh-hour deal between Republicans and Democrats on a budget that would fund the federal government for the rest of fiscal 2011.
The next step for Texas in its efforts to get the education aid, according to an April 12 Austin American-Statesman story, was to submit a new application to the U.S. Department of Education. That occurred April 15. And on Friday, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced in a press release that Texas would be getting the $830 million.
In a press release of his own that day, Perry said: "Today is a victory for Texas schools that have been waiting for these well-deserved federal funds for far too long. Thanks to our persistent efforts, including those of U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Sen. John Cornyn and other dedicated members of the Texas congressional delegation, along with House Speaker John Boehner, this funding will soon be flowing to the school teachers and schoolchildren of Texas."
Texas Education Agency spokeswoman Debbie Ratcliffe told us that the state should have access to the funds this week.
With the state's application approved, we're moving the meter to Promise Kept.
Austin American-Statesman, "Texas may get $830 million in federal education money,” April 12, 2011
Texas Education Agency, press release, "State submits application for Education Jobs Act funds,” April 15, 2011
U.S. Department of Education, "Texas to Receive $830.8 Million to Support Education Jobs,” April 22, 2011
Gov. Rick Perry"s office, press release, "Gov. Perry: $830 Million Will Soon Reach Texas Schools,” April 22, 2011
Interview with Debbie Ratcliffe, communications director, Texas Education Agency, April 25, 2011
Perry asks U.S. House members to help secure federal education money for state
Republican Gov. Rick Perry, in a Sept. 14 letter to the Texas Association of School Administrators, vowed to keep up his efforts to bring to Texas $830 million in federal education aid stalled in Washington.
"I will continue to work with the Department (of Education) to secure this money for Texas schools," the letter states.
For the funding delay, Perry blames U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, who last summer tucked into federal legislation special conditions for Texas to get the money. One is that the state assure that it will maintain at least its current percentage of financial support for public education through 2013 — a promise that Perry says would require him to violate the state constitution. The state has sued to overturn the amendment.
Doggett faults Perry, saying that for the money to flow to the state, all the governor needs to do is sign a three-page application agreeing to the special conditions.
In his Sept. 14 letter, Perry asked the association to urge the Texas congressional delegation to repeal the amendment.
This month, Perry went further during a visit to Washington, meeting with several congressional leaders in Washington "to discuss efforts to defeat the Doggett amendment, as well as matters surrounding Medicare" and the Environmental Protection Agency, according to Perry spokeswoman Catherine Frazier. She said that on Feb. 11, Perry spent time with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, as well as GOP Reps. Eric Cantor of Virginia, John Kline of Minnesota and Michael Burgess of Lewisville, who three days earlier had filed a measure that seeks to invalidate the Texas-specific provision.
Eight days after Perry's Washington meetings, the U.S. House voted 235-187 to add Burgess' proposal to a $1.2 trillion spending bill that was passed early that morning and sent to the Senate.
In a Feb. 19 news release, Perry said: "I commend the U.S. House for passing Congressman Burgess' amendment to H.R. 1, which would prohibit the U.S. Department of Education from enforcing the anti-Texas Doggett provisions."
Even though Perry's efforts do not appear to be in concert with the Education Department, as he specified in his Sept. 14 letter, his Washington meetings show he's trying to bring the money to Texas — without having to meet the special conditions to which he objects.
We rate this promise In the Works.
Gov. Rick Perry, letter to Texas Association of School Administrators, Sept. 14, 2010
Texas Tribune, "U.S. House Votes on Texas Education Money," Feb. 19, 2011
Associated Press, "Perry meets with GOP leadership in Washington," Feb. 11, 2011
E-mail from Catherine Frazier, deputy press secretary for Gov. Rick Perry, Feb. 22, 2011
U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, press release, "Texas Delegation Introduces Legislation to Repeal Doggett Language That Discriminates Against Texas," Feb. 8, 2011
U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, press release, "Burgess Introduces Amendment to Provide $830 million to Texas Education," Feb. 19, 2011
Gov. Rick Perry, press release, "Statement by Gov. Rick Perry on U.S. House Passing Congressman Burgess' Amendment to H.R. 1," Feb. 19, 2011