Gov. Perry: Legal Action Against U.S. Department of Education
Necessary to Preserve Texas Education Funding
AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today announced Texas is taking legal action to obtain $830 million in federal funding for Texas schools that the state has been prevented from receiving by U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett’s unconstitutional anti-Texas amendment to the federal emergency education jobs bill (H.R. 1586).
“Texas taxpayers are footing the bill for the education jobs fund, and Texas’ hardworking teachers deserve their share of that money,” Gov. Perry said. “Had the Congressional majority chosen to work for Texas schoolchildren and teachers, instead of playing partisan politics, this money could already be on its way to our school districts.”
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott filed suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit after the U.S. Department of Education (ED) wrongfully rejected the state’s application and after numerous attempts by the state to negotiate with federal officials. The suit asserts that ED misinterpreted the Doggett Amendment or the amendment itself places unconstitutional conditions on Texas.
Texas Education Agency Commissioner Robert Scott submitted Texas’ application to the ED for these funds on Sept. 3, making all required assurances that do not violate the Texas Constitution or law. The application was denied, making Texas the only state in the nation rejected by ED.
Despite repeated requests by the governor’s office, ED officials were unwilling or unable to provide the state assurances in writing that ED has the authority to and will reserve the $830 million in funds for Texas. It is unclear whether H.R. 1586 allows ED to reallocate funds after September 24, 2010. Today’s court filing will prohibit ED from diverting the $830 million allocated to Texas during the judicial review process.
In addition to working with state leaders and education officials, many attempts to work with ED officials, and today’s legal action, Gov. Perry continues to support legislation filed by U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Congressman Michael Burgess that would repeal the sections of the misdirected Doggett amendment preventing Texas schools from receiving their funds.
Gov. Perry has also sent letters to school groups and school administrators, urging them to contact Congress to support repeal. The Texas Association of School Administrators has already written a letter asking Congress to remove these provisions.
Gov. Perry remains hopeful that Doggett’s anti-Texas amendment will be repealed, and he will continue to explore every possible avenue to secure the $830 million for the benefit of Texas teachers and schoolchildren.