Today, I testified at the first Senate Finance Committee hearing of the session. Below is a summary of what I shared with committee members:
Last session, $5.3 billion was cut from public education – $4 billion from formula funding and $1.3 billion from education grant programs. We were told these cuts were necessary because the state didn’t have the revenue needed to cover its obligations.
Now, tax collections are estimated to be $8.8 billion over what was projected for the 2012-13 biennium – leaving many to ask if the cuts were necessary at all. However, SB 1 as introduced does nothing to restore funding to public education. In fact, this budget provides 8% less GR than was requested by TEA.
There is no reason to make the five million school children of Texas sit in underfunded and overcrowded classrooms and wait for a court decision when the Legislature can take action today.
As a first step, we recommend that the Regular Program Adjustment Factor be set to 100% and that the legislative intent of SB 1 passed by the 1st Called 82nd Legislature is followed by increasing the Basic Allotment while phasing out target revenue.