Restoring Education Should Take Priority

Chandra Villanueva

This week, I testified “on” SB 758 in a Senate Finance committee hearing because there are compelling reasons for and against undoing the Foundation School Program deferral –

Deferring the FSP payment prevented even further cuts to public education last session.  Undoing this deferment now would make this tool available again the next time there is a revenue shortfall. It would also increase the base spending for last biennium and as a result raise the spending cap for this biennium by $1.75 billion plus 10.7 percent of that.

However, with the deep cuts made to education last session and the court ruling that school funding is inadequate, it also makes sense to use this $1.75 billion to raise the basic allotment.

In an ideal world, the legislature would both restore education, health care, and other state services, AND get Texas’ fiscal house back in order (by eliminating or minimizing the amount of ongoing ‘accounting gimmicks’ in the state budget). But this is not an ideal world. Restoring services should take priority, otherwise our children will continue to be crammed into overcrowded classrooms and miss out on the higher-quality education they need and deserve.

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