Monday, May 30, 2005

Highlights Monday from the Texas Legislature | News for Denton, Texas | AP: Texas: "SPECIAL SESSION, PLEASE?

A dozen first-term House Democrats on Monday urged Republican Gov. Rick Perry to call an immediate special session on school finance. Perry has said if lawmakers first reach an agreement he will consider calling them back to Austin.

'As much as each of us would like to get home to our families and our constituents, we believe the governor should issue an immediate call for a special session focused exclusively on public education,' said Dallas Democratic Rep. Rafael Anchia. 'The negotiations that seemed to begin in earnest only in the last week should continue until we have a resolution.'"


The education community's focus turns next to the state's high court, which will take up public school finance in the face of the Legislature's failure to solve the recurring quandary.

In the meantime, teachers won't get a pay raise, homeowners won't get a school property tax cut and schools won't get money to buy the textbooks they need.

"We're putting our faith in the Supreme Court and hoping they'll rule the way we think they should rule and put a deadline," said Clayton Downing, executive director of the Texas School Coalition. "That's the only way the Legislature reacts."

The 79th Legislative Session was heading toward its end Monday without a new school funding system, an issue that was deemed an emergency when the session convened in January.

State District Judge John Dietz last fall ruled the current system unconstitutional and ordered that school funding problems be fixed by October 2005, or state money for schools would cease. The ruling was appealed to the Supreme Court and a July 6 hearing has been set for oral arguments in the case.



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