With less than six weeks until the Texas legislature convenes, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst says that he wants to improve the state’s education system -- and that there may be additional money for public education.
Dewhurst outlined his priorities before the Dallas Regional Chamber Thursday, applauding the state’s record of cutting taxes, limiting spending and maintaining a light regulatory touch.
And after a 2011 session that slashed more than $5 billion from public education, he said this about restoring the money:
“I am well aware that some 400 of the 1,000 independent school districts are suing the state of Texas. So at the end of the day I would not be surprised if we have to put more resources in for this biennium, but at least I want to see us cover our enrollment growth and do what we can on inflation.”
Dewhurst also wants to make it easier to shut down a school that’s not up to snuff.
“Currently under Texas law, it takes six years to close down a failing school. That’s nuts! I’m going to move for legislation to make it two years,” he said.
The lieutenant governor didn’t specifically address publicly funded private school vouchers. That’s a topic that’s expected to be polarizing this session. But he did speak about giving parents more options.
“I’m for more charters, I’m for shutting down bad charters, I want to give parents more choice,” Dewhurst said.
He also discussed the possibility of taking money from the state’s “rainy day” fund for new investments in roads and drinking water.
With Texas population expected to double in the next 30 years, he said adding pavement and reservoirs is absolutely necessary.
The 83rd legislature will convene at noon on Jan. 8.