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A FINE MESS

It began last fall in 2023. 

Public schools in every corner of Texas began talking about the lack of money to maintain staff and the operation of their schools. Some even talked of closing. From Fort Davis to Arlington to Cy-Fair, one by one, just like dominoes, schools began to announce cutbacks: Teachers, aides, librarians, bus routes, and special programs.

In Texas, just two days ago, lawmakers of both parties were rallying for a special session for school finance. Abbott could have done this much earlier, but he was too busy taking revenge on our public school system and the rural Republican legislators who refused his voucher scheme. Part of the problem is that money provided to school districts from the federal government during the pandemic is ending, but the looming problem closer to home is that no educational funding bill was passed by the Texas Legislature.

 Rep Jon Rosenthal went all out to persuade Abbott to call a special session on educational funding, but Abbott submitted a lengthy letter that declared in so many words, no more special sessions until after the election! You had your chance. This is a strategy to kill public education and limit education to the less affluent families in Texas that the Extremist Republicans wish to remain ignorant of. Talk to other states. There are many regrets.

Abbott wishes to claim that lawmakers had their opportunity last session and rejected the bill. But what he fails to mention is that the bill also included a voucher program, which was a “no go” with most of the Legislature, especially those representing rural school districts. When legislators stripped the bill of the voucher program, extreme Republicans voted against it.

Abbott’s hostage taking and political revenge was successful. 

Says Greg Abbott on Twitter: “I already called a special session on school funding that would have added $6 billion for schools + teacher pay raises + school safety funding + ending STAAR Test. All of the Democrats + about 2 dozen Republicans voted to kill it.”

This is a half-truth. Your cowardly Governor is lying. Dems plus some Rs voted to remove private school vouchers from the bill, but other provisions remained intact. Abbott and MAGA Rs threw a fit and killed the entire legislation.

Then two days ago, the other shoe dropped. Controversial HISD superintendent Mike Miles was accused of transferring and money laundering Texas educational funds to his financially-troubled charter chain in Colorado, Third Future Schools. 

The report says the Colorado charter schools were in the red, facing millions of dollars in debt. The report also claims that Texas charters were receiving millions in taxpayer funding, and debts for Third Future Schools in Colorado were being offset with money from Texas. They have TWO multimillion dollar checks as proof so far.

What a difference a day makes.

Mike Miles has no comment. Mike Morath has no comment. And Greg Abbott has been strangely silent, continuing his disingenuous tweet litany of “business is booming” in Texas. No mention of quality of life or education for children and families, however.

Last evening, Abbott appeared on video saying, “I know you won’t believe this, but I am not responsible.” We’ve heard this now familiar phrase from Trump as well.  

This is a fine mess that Abbott, his billionaire funders, and extremist Republicans have created for Texas families. Let’s hope we can clean it up.

Carol Morgan
Carol Morgan
The sleepy, dusty town of Lubbock, Texas, in the late fifties, was the perfect incubator for a shy, imaginative child who was a voracious reader with a dream of becoming a writer. Carol Morgan spent almost 30 years as a teacher and counselor, but even in her stint as an educator she continued to write. She was the executive producer of Career Connection, an education program on LISD-TV. In 2001, Carol began a second career as a career counselor, writer and speaker. Her goal was to encourage others to use their gifts and talents to make changes in their lives and the world. That business endured for 20 years until closing because of the COVID-19 pandemic. She was the host of a local radio talk show, Career 411, offering on-air advice and featuring unique careers. As a freelance writer, she’s contributed articles to various publications about Texas politics and life. Carol was the Democratic candidate for the Texas House of Representatives in 2010, and has never recovered from her addiction to Texas politics. She is the author of two books, garnering honors and awards for her writings.

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