Oh, the things that can happen in the dark of night.
In a victory for Gov. Rick Perry, the most recent Congressional budgetary stopgap — passed Friday night to avoid closing the federal government — contains language that repeals the “Save Our Schools” amendment from U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin. The measure would have prohibited Texas from using federal dollars to replace state funding of schools.
Last summer, Doggett and other Democrats in the House supported an amendment to a bill allocating $10 billion in federal funding for education that said Texas couldn’t use its portion — $830 million — to supplant rather than supplement state public education money. Because Perry refused to guarantee future funding without the permission of state lawmakers, the Department of Education denied the Texas application for money. In a Jan. 10 New York Times letter to the editor, Doggett wrote that he worked to pass the measure because Perry and state lawmakers used $3.25 billion in federal stimulus dollars marked for education to replace state funding for schools in 2009.
The US House had repealed the Doggett Amendment in February, but that was before the hostage standoff that resulted in last weekend’s deal. Even before that, there was speculation that the funds would come our way, and indeed the Senate version of the budget assumed those funds would be available. I still wish someone would provide me with a roadmap for when federal money is pure and wholesome and when it’s the tool of the devil. Anyway, it looks like we will get this money after all, and given how dire the budget is there really isn’t a bad way for it to be used.