FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 10, 2006
AUSTIN, TX -- "The Senate was able to accomplish two important things: significant property tax relief for homeowners and improvements to the Texas public education system.
HB 1 provides over $1 billion in new funding for education by increasing equity among our schools, providing a $2,000 pay raise for teachers, and establishing a new high school student allotment.
I would have preferred a greater investment of funding for our public school system, including higher teacher raises, but we will continue to work for improvements next session to fairly compensate teachers, to attract the best individuals to the profession and retain teachers currently in the profession.
Unfortunately, there was confusion over substantive amendments and in the interest of moving the bill forward, I withdrew an amendment that would have required schools to start on Tuesday after Labor Day and another giving schools the option of extending the school day. However, I will still continue to champion a later start date, and I'm grateful that we have moved forward with a provision in the bill that requires schools to start no earlier than the fourth Monday in August and removes the current waiver under which schools can begin classes earlier than August 21.
Also of importance is that the Lieutenant Governor and my Senate colleagues have provided reassurance that we will address school facilities in the next legislative session.
The Legislature will come back in January to continue improving our schools. All children will be brought forward together at the same time; no child will be left behind."
Note: Staff member assigned to education is Ms. Perla Cavazos, senior policy analyst. Doris Sanchez handles the school start date for the Senator.