P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 18, 1999
AUSTIN-- State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, will take Lieutenant Governor Rick Perry to her district next week to visit a school district facing major growing pains.
The pair will tour Willis Lane Elementary School in Keller, which opened only a year ago and has already been forced to cap enrollment because of overcrowding. After the tour, which is scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday, February 25, they will meet privately with superintendents from around the Metroplex to discuss the problems facing fast-growth school districts.
"Lt. Gov. Perry has made education his No. 1 priority, and I am thrilled he has agreed to visit Senate District 12 to see first-hand how massive growth is affecting our classrooms," Nelson said.
Over the past five years, more than 80 percent of all student enrollment growth in Texas' public schools were absorbed by only 12 percent of Texas school districts. These "fast-growth" districts - many of which are sending the state millions of dollars a year under Robin Hood - must ask local taxpayers to foot the bill for enormous start-up costs for new campuses, staff, computers and furniture.
Nelson has filed three bills that aim to help fast-growth school districts pay for start-up costs.
"If we are to have a truly level playing field, as was promised with Robin Hood, we can no longer ignore the unique financial burden facing fast-growth school districts. The Legislature needs to find a way to provide relief," Nelson said. "There are a lot of ideas floating around on how to accomplish that, and I hope that through this visit we can come closer to a real solution."