The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Perry Bullies Schools

Kinda. Not really.

Our honorable Governor Rick Perry has issued an executive order requiring all schools to spend at least 65 percent of their budet in the classroom:

Gov. Rick Perry issued an executive order Monday requiring schools to spend at least 65 percent of their tax money in the classroom because state lawmakers, he said, have failed to act.

Some school superintendents quickly expressed concern that a rigid definition of "classroom instruction" could lead to cuts in transportation, security or force districts to reduce the number of school nurses.

Others predicted legal challenges to the governor's authority because the state's education code gives school board trustees "all powers and duties" to run school districts that are not specifically delegated by state law.

Texas legislators failed to solve school funding problems, including reform measures aimed at improving performance, during three legislative sessions this year, including two special sessions.

The executive order will force important education reforms that lawmakers failed to pass, Perry said.

"Classroom performance is simply too important to wait for lawmakers to settle their differences," the governor said.

Before anyone starts writing fluff pieces about Perry's great leadership abilities keep on reading.

Perry is giving school districts until the 2009-10 school year to phase in the 65 percent requirement. Schools that don't meet the threshold would face "tough sanctions," which have not yet been determined.

So Perry's giving them four years, at which time he may or may not still be Governor, to do this. If you don't, he's gonna git tough with you. Hear that everybody? Should Perry still be Governor in 2010, and should your school not follow his executive order, then he's putting his foot down.

See, Paul Burka's right, we DO have leadership on school finance. It's only going to take Rick Perry ten years to do it.

On a related note, Chris Bell is trying to raise $25,000 by the end of August.