A partial budget agreement announced by state House and Senate negotiators Wednesday afternoon reflected misplaced priorities on the biggest items at issue, but there was one bright spot.
First, the bad news: The House appeared to accept the Senate’s position on formula aid for school districts, which was well short of the overall increase proposed by the House and may not even suffice to keep up with inflation. As the full budget agreement is unveiled in coming days, we will offer a full report.
The bright spot we can report now concerns funding for the program of tuition scholarships for educational aides who enroll in college to become teachers. This highly successful and effective program, whose budget was cut to zero in 2011, will receive an infusion of $1.5 million over the 2016-2017 biennium. The lion’s share of the credit for getting the flow of state funding restarted for this program goes to Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin); the House and Senate budget conferees deserve some credit, too, for keeping the money in the budget as proposed.