Darby Tells San Angelo Chamber Public Schools are under Serious Political Attack in Texas
SAN ANGELO, TX —The Texas public school system is under attack from elected officials at the state level threatening Texas’ ability to provide a consistent educated workforce according to State Rep. Drew Darby (R), San Angelo.
Darby was the keynote speaker at Tuesday’s monthly San Angelo Chamber of Commerce luncheon held in the ballroom of the Cactus Hotel. He spent most of his time discussing the successes and failures of the regular legislative session, the special session and the massive repercussions of hurricane Harvey.
Darby likened the legislature’s work this year to the Clint Eastwood movie, “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.”
“We had a lot of conflict in the process.” Darby said of the regular session. “We gave homeowners a $10,000 homestead exemption that cost the state about $1.6 billion dollars. All those decisions have consequences.”
The ‘Good’ was the regular legislative session. The ‘bad’ was the special session. Darby said they passed nine of Governor Abbott’s 20 priorities for the special session.
“One of the things that came out of the special session is that we are going to have a commission to look at this issue school funding and that commission is going to be tasked with figuring out the best way to fund public schools.”
Darby mentioned that the legislature was able to fund some higher education priorities including needs for Howard College and Angelo State University.
Darby said we had a pretty good regular session, but, “We didn’t get it all right, so the Governor called us back.”
According to the Governor’s office, “Governor Abbott called the special session with 20 priorities Among them:
- Legislation to increase the average salary and benefits (including TRS-Care) of Texas teachers; and legislation to provide a more flexible and rewarding salary and benefits system for Texas teachers.
- Legislation establishing a statewide commission to study and recommend improvements to the current public school finance system; and other legislation relating to school finance, including Additional State Aid for Tax Reduction (ASATR).
- Legislation to empower parents of children with special needs or educational disadvantages to choose an educational provider that is best for their child.
- Legislation reforming the laws governing ad valorem property taxes.
- Legislation using population growth and inflation to establish a spending limit for state government.
- Legislation using population growth and inflation to establish a spending limit for political subdivisions.
- Legislation protecting the private property rights of landowners from political subdivision rules, regulations, or ordinances that interfere with, delay, or restrict private property owners’ ability to use or enjoy their property.
- Legislation expediting the issuance of permits by political subdivisions and reforming the laws governing the issuance of permits by political subdivisions.
- Legislation preventing political subdivisions from imposing on private property additional or enhanced regulations that did not exist at the time the property was acquired.
Darby’s response, “Quite frankly, we didn’t agree on some of those issues in the regular session, and we didn’t agree on them in the special session.”
Darby said the legislature helped retired teachers keep their healthcare and added funding to the teacher retirement system.
Darby then discussed Hurricane Harvey response and its impact on Texas now and in the future. Darby says Harvey was a storm, “of biblical proportions.”
“Let me tell you what the profound effect of Harvey is...Economist Ray Perryman says there’s $110 billion in real property loss in Texas due to hurricane Harvey.”
"I’m no longer hearing that you can’t touch that ‘mattress fund’ (Rainy Day Fund), We have $11 billion in the rainy day fund." Darby said. “It’s raining now.”
I’m hearing from the Governor and Lt. Governor that, “By Gosh that time is here!”
Former Texas Commissioner of Agriculture Todd Staples was on hand at the San Angelo luncheon to present Darby with an award.
Staples is currently the President of the Texas Oil and Gas Association and a former Texas Agriculture Commissioner. He presented Darby with the 2017 Legislative Champion Award from the Texas Oil and Gas Association.