Lt. Governor Dan Patrick Statement on “state war” on education


Monday, April 23, 2018

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick Statement on “state war” on education

HOUSTON, TX – Last week, the San Antonio Express-News attacked Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and Governor Greg Abbott on their editorial page using the same old tired myths and misinformation to charge that, somehow, there is a “state war” on education.  Lt. Governor Dan Patrick wrote this letter to set the record straight:

To the Editor:

Starting with the title, your Sunday editorial is riddled with inaccuracies and filled with misinformation. Texas spends a larger share of its budget on education, 52 percent, than any other budget item — with the vast majority going to K-12. Health care is 31 percent and public safety is 11 percent, leaving only 6 percent to pay for everything else.

Texas public school enrollment grows by an estimated 80,000 students annually. As lieutenant governor, I have ensured that the Foundation School Program, or FSP, is fully funded. In addition, in the 2015 and 2017 legislative sessions, we added nearly $2 billion above FSP requirements to further assist with the cost of educating Texas’ children.

Your claim that the state’s share of school funding has dropped to 38 percent is simply wrong and a myth that continues to be repeated over and over. According to the Texas Education Agency, when all expenses including technology and instructional materials, TEA costs and additional grants are included, state funding has increased to more than 45 percent in the past decade. Local spending is 42 percent.

Your suggestion that charter schools are somehow draining funding to traditional schools makes no sense. There are about 6 million schoolchildren in Texas, with around 5 percent attending charter schools. Charter schools are public schools, so a student transferring from one public school to another doesn’t take any funding away from public schools in San Antonio or anywhere else.

I took the lead to establish the School Finance Commission — the first since the 1980s — to address the school funding issue and, although few serious ideas for reform have yet to be presented, I remain optimistic. The misinformation that you and others continue to perpetuate, along with the finger-pointing in your editorial about the state’s commitment to education, neither informs your readers nor advances the cause of reform.

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick