Tag Archives: Katy ISD Bond referendum

Wendy Davis’ Closing Argument? Education

After a tough and complex campaign season, there are some tell tale signs that the end is near.  One of them?  In the seemingly endless barrage of negative television ads, you start to get more that look less like pure attacks, and more like closing arguments. These ads finally show the candidate’s face, and try to leave a lasting impression on voters with the issue they care about the most.

On Wednesday morning, Wendy Davis released the ad that she hopes will send her to victory.  Titled “Our Kids”, it is one with a simple message that reaches voters from every part of the political spectrum.  Check out the full text and video below…

Education led me from a life of struggle to one filled with hope. I want every Texas child to have the same opportunity.
But that can’t happen when Greg Abbott goes to court to defend $5 billion dollars in cuts to our schools.

How much learning will your child do in a classroom crammed with 36 kids?

These are our kids, and this is their future.

I’m Wendy Davis. Let’s make Texas stronger for every hard-working Texan.

As campaign pieces go, this is one seems to be very effective.  It reminds Texans that the devastating 2011 cuts to education had real consequences… ones that many Texas school districts are still dealing with today.  There are kids in our state right now sitting in packed classrooms, teachers and school employees that lost their jobs in 2011, 2012 and 2013 because the districts, faced with tough decisions, had to get rid of entire programs like Art and Music, or severely pair back on after school opportunities.

Sure… after seeing this devastation up close, it’s true that the legislature restored some of the funding in 2013.  But the current funding levels are still not enough to meet the needs of a rapidly growing state.  And for the kids who had to suffer from the loss of a teacher or vital program, they will never get that instructional time back.

Let’s not forget that these same cuts have also been passed on to Texas taxpayers in school districts.  If you’re a voter in the Katy ISD tax zone, you probably know very well about the $748 million dollar bond referendum that is being decided at the polls right now.  If state funding sources had been available over the past two and a half years, would Katy ISD officials have to ask for so much money in 2014?  We all know that education dollars are an investment, and it’s quite possible that those disastrous cuts are causing schools to have to make up for lost time and resources now.    Katy ISD is just one of the 600 Texas school districts that are suing Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick, and all of the irresponsible GOP legislators that enacted those 2011 funding cuts.

In 2011, the state legislature abdicated its promise to invest Texas kids, and in the future of the state.  In her closing argument, Wendy Davis is right to remind voters of that promise, and that with the right leadership, there is a better way forward.  Let’s hope they listen, and vote.


Texas District Court Rules 2011 Education Cuts UNCONSTITUTIONAL

Today Greg Abbott was dealt yet another significant blow in his fight to defend draconian, Republican-led education cuts.  Here’s the story from Lauren McGaughy of the Houston Chronicle

AUSTIN — A judge on Thursday again declared Texas’ school finance system unconstitutional, reaffirming his 2013 ruling that struck down the current mode of funding public education as inefficient and inadequate.

“The court finds that the Legislature has failed to meet its constitutional duty to suitably provide for Texas public schools because the school finance system is structured, operated and funded so that it cannot provide a constitutionally adequate education for all Texas schoolchildren,” state District Judge John Dietz wrote in his ruling.

He also ruled the system “constitutionally inadequate” and “financially inefficient.” Finally, he said it effectively imposes a state property tax in violation of the state Constitution.


The 400-page ruling issued Thursday was the latest salvo in nearly two years of litigation, and marked another major victory for the plaintiffs representing nearly three in four Texas schoolchildren. They challenged the adequacy and equality of the Texas’ public education funding, suing the state after lawmakers cut $5.4 billion from the budget in 2011.

This judge’s ruling once again shines the spotlight on the heinous actions of Republicans in the 2011 State Legislature.  Even 3 years later, these cuts are just not going away for the Texas GOP.

State Senator Rodney Ellis issued a statement after today’s court decision, urging the legislature to correct the gross under-funding of our schools…

Now that our school finance system has once again been ruled unconstitutional, you may hear some elected officials claim that the legislature cannot act until after the case has been appealed to the Texas Supreme Court and the nine justices have had an opportunity to rule. I firmly disagree.

The legislature should treat the under-funding of our children’s schools like what it is: an emergency that must be solved immediately. In fact, there’s ample precedent for us working to solve this issue prior to the Texas Supreme Court weighing in. In 2004 and 2005, the last time the constitutionality of Texas’ school finance system was in court, the legislature worked on school finance for three special sessions and one regular session – all before the Supreme Court finally ruled the system was unconstitutional.

Even if one is not a lawyer, this case seems simple enough.  While its true that some of the education funding was restored in 2013 (thanks in no small part to Wendy Davis threatening another filibuster), the restoration isn’t enough to adequately care for state school districts. Texas is still allocating $1.5 billion fewer dollars to educate our kids than the state did in 2010.  But that reduced amount of money has to service a bigger state, as Texas has grown by nearly 1.5 million people in just four short years.  Less money needed for more kids equals a greater burden placed on our local schools, and LOCAL tax payers.

Take Katy Independent School District as an example.  Thanks to a massive population boom in the city, Katy ISD’s school board has an ambitious plan to build new schools.  But to fund that plan, the district is asking voters to approve a $748 million bond referendum.  Could that bond request be reduced if state funding levels were adequate?  School districts are being asked to make the same sacrifices, with little or no state support.

After today’s ruling, Abbott will likely try to kick the case up to the Texas Supreme Court.  Hopefully they will find the same result.