#4: PERRY EDUCATION REPORT CARD: F
October 13th, 2009
There are over 4.65 million school children in 1,031 school districts in Texas, and during Rick Perry’s 25 years as a career politician, he’s neglected all of them. In 2006, facing the threat of Texas schools being closed under a Texas Supreme Court order, Perry and the Republican-controlled legislature were forced to address the school finance crisis. Predictably, they only made things worse for Texas taxpayers and school children.
Under the name of “school finance,” Rick Perry created a tax scheme that shortchanges local schools and benefits his biggest contributors instead of Texas school children. His school finance is little more than a busted band-aid intended to cover-up one of his worst failures:
School Finance and Taxes: F
- The “margins tax” Perry created was supposed to pay for education, but it turned out to be a windfall for oil and gas producers, who paid $78 million less in taxes under the new business tax in 2008 than they paid under the old tax in 2007. (Source: Houston Chronicle via Off the Kuff)
- Perry’s school finance scheme also froze state funding for education at 2006 levels. While oil companies profited, many Texans paid more as many local districts were forced to lay off teachers, cut class offerings, and raise local taxes. Since Perry’s tax scheme took effect in 2006, 230 Texas school districts have been forced to raise local property taxes. (Source: Houston Chronicle)
- In 2008, Perry’s tax scheme fell $1.4 billion short of projected revenue collections, leaving a gaping hole in the state budget that was only rescued by the federal stimulus funding Perry opposed, funds Democrats used to pass a Democrat-driven school finance bill during the last legislative session. (Source: Brownsville Herald)
Rick Perry’s tax scheme is not a long-term solution to the state’s school finance crisis. (Source: Dallas Morning News). The $1.4 billion shortfall that Texas Democrats temporarily fixed in 2009 is expected to double in size to $2.8 billion in 2011. The Republicans have no plan to fix that shortfall, and both Perry and Kay Bailey Hutchison are signing a bogus anti-tax pledge, guaranteeing they will continue to do nothing to solve the school finance crisis. (Source: Midland Reporter-Telegram)
Teachers, Classrooms and Standardized Tests: F
As Perry and Hutchison play partisan politics with our public schools, our students and educators are left without the resources they need for a quality education:
- Texas ranks 45th in the country in per student expenditures ($7,818 per student, about $2,000 below the national average), and Texas schools have a higher debt than any other state in the country, even California. (Source: Austin American-Statesman)
- Texas teachers are paid more than $6,000 below the national average and half of all new teachers quit in five years. (Source: Washington Post) Yet, Rick Perry and Republicans continue to waste hundreds of millions on a failed “merit pay” system that allowed the Houston ISD superintendent to get a $67,250 bonus, an amount 35 times the average teacher bonus. (Source: Houston Chronicle via Burnt Orange Report)
- Rick Perry continues to push failed voucher schemes and standardized testing – going so far as to give $100 million a year to private companies to administer the tests – despite the fact that Texas’ incredibly high drop-out rate is directly related to our failed standardized-test system. (Source: Rice University’s Center for Education)
Instead of having a public school system driven by “test and punish,” we need to invest in helping children learn. The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University recently released a report stating that Texas loses as much as $9.6 billion a year in earned income because of our dropout crisis. (Source: Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University)
Rick Perry has failed our children, parents and teachers, and it’s costing Texas taxpayers billions of dollars every year. For Texas’ school children and taxpayers, “business as usual” from Rick Perry is unacceptable.
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To read more about how Rick Perry has failed Texas, visit the TDP’s Top Ten Rick Perry Failures page by clicking here.