Recently, the federal government rejected an application for $830 million in school funding from the State of Texas because of a disagreement over assurances made in the application according to an article by April Castro of the Associated Press. Governor Rick Perry, as well as Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott, had an issue with a provision in a federal law that requires assurances from the state as to how the state plans to implement the funding within its state. According to the Houston Chronicle, Thelma Melendez de Santa Ana of the US Department of Education wrote in a rejection letter to Perry that she is expecting a letter without the provisions. Also according to the Houston publication, US Representative Lloyd Dogget of Austin feels that the provision is fine according to the Texas constitution and that Perry should yield so that the federal government can give up the $830 million of funding for schools in the State of Texas. Dismayed by the dispute, Perry has decided sue the federal government to obtain the funds.
Ultimately, it’s up to Perry to do what’s right for the state. Because of a provision that states there shall be no “appropriation of money be made for a longer term than two years,” he is holding up something beneficial to his state to uphold a state policy and protect it’s laws. Washington is asking that they give assurances for three years instead of two. For this reason, Perry actually has a leg to stand on but ultimately he must do what’s best for children and communities on the state of Texas and that’s finding a way to approve this bill. Almost 15,000 jobs are dependent upon it.
What are his options? I personally feel the new lawsuit by Perry will not hold up in court so I instead feel he should propose legislation to change the passage so that it fully applies. That is of course easier said than done and would require the bill go through the Texas Legislature. That may take away valuable time and keep the funds from reaching schools for months or even years. Another is to take a close look at the language of the provision of the state constitution in question, in this case, Article 8 (Taxation and Revenue). In many cases, the phraseology is flexible and it did seem as if as was possible for him to try and get around that rule based on what was on the link just above.
Bottom line, it’s up to Governor Perry to make the right choice for the citizens and children on the State of Texas, which is doing what he has to do to get the almost billion dollars in funding from the federal government. He has started trying to do that by bringing the feds to court but if this doesn’t work then he must give in for the benefit of the state’s children.