This post is third in a series on the education planks of the 2010 Texas Democratic Party Platform.
This is an unofficial version published in advance of the final version from the Texas Democrats, but I expect very few changes.
PUBLIC EDUCATION FUNDING
Texas Democrats believe:
- the state should establish a 100% equitable school finance system with sufficient state revenue to allow every district to offer an exemplary program;
- the state should equitably reduce reliance on “Robin Hood” recapture;
- state funding formulas should fully reflect all student and district cost differences and the impact of inflation and state mandates;
- Texas should maintain or extend the 22-1 class size limits and expand access to prekindergarten and kindergarten programs; and
- the federal government should fully fund all federal education mandates and the Elementary and [Secondary] Education Act.
Republicans have shortchanged education funding every session they have controlled the Texas Legislature. After cutting billions from public education in 2003, the 2006 Republican school funding plan froze per pupil funding, leaving local districts faced with increasing costs for fuel, utilities, insurance and personnel with little new state money. To make matters worse, that same plan placed stringent limits on local ability to make up for the state’s failures.
In 2009, Republicans hypocritically supplanted state support for our schools with the very federal “stimulus” aid they publicly condemned after state revenues plunged because of the Republican-caused recession and the structural state budget deficit they created. They reduced state funding for our schools by over $3 billion. Because our student population continues to grow, the combined reduction in state revenue per student was nearly 13%.
Most Texans support our public schools, yet now Republicans want to cut even more from education and also want to siphon off limited public education funds for inequitable, unaccountable voucher and privatization schemes. Texas Democrats believe these attempts to destroy our public schools must be stopped.