Darby: This Election Won’t End The Battle For Our Public Schools


SAN ANGELO, TX - State Representative Drew Darby addressed Governor Greg Abbott's alleged betrayal of education promises. 

During a packed rally advocating for public education, Darby, representing Texas House District 72, addressed a crowd of mostly educators and school district personnel at the Le Grand Alumni & Visitors Center in San Angelo on Thursday, Feb. 15. He is challenged in the March 5 Republican Primary Election by Stormy Bradley who was endorsed by Abbott because Darby would not support Abbott's private school voucher bill.

“If we don’t value teachers, then we don’t value our children,” Darby said. 

He criticized politicians for using educators as pawns and highlighted the misuse of a $33 million surplus in 2023, where a portion of that surplus was initially intended to increase teacher pay. Instead of passing a bill to fund this, the legislative session was diverted, leaving public school teachers with false promises and increased workloads, he said.

Darby accused Abbott and others of manipulating the legislative process. 

He said that a promised bill for teacher pay raises was withdrawn when lawmakers rejected a voucher bill that would have redirected public funds into private schools. 

“But all this time, the governor and others are saying, ‘Will give you all these teacher pay raises and we’ll agree to all these reforms in education, all you have to is pass this little voucher bill,’” Darby said. “A little in their mind is $500 million. When we stripped out vouchers, the governor and others said, ‘No we’re going to pull that bill down. We’re not going to allow you to vote for teacher pay raises.’” Darby added that in two years, the $500 million annual voucher program will increase to over $2 billion a year. The House Budget Committee scoring reported this.

Darby then showed the crowd anti-Darby mail that has been stuffing Republican voter mailboxes. He mentioned that two billionaires fund the anti-Darby messages and he believes these billionaires are spending at least $1.5 million inside District 72. 

“Now, you’re getting this garbage,” Darby said. 

He mentioned that the Governor and others underestimate the impact of public education supporters, saying, “We don’t have to worry about public education. They’re loud, but they don’t vote.”

“Now is the time to change,” Darby said. “If we don’t vote this time, in my opinion, we’ve lost public education. We’ve played hide and seek with rewarding you; It’s time to change that. It’s time to vote.

“We have school choice; what we don’t have is your public dollars flowing into private schools,” he said. “This is not about school choice; it’s about taxpayer-funded private school entitlement program because they (those private schools) are the ones who decide whether to let your child in or not. We’re sending a message back that our rural schools don’t want this.” 

Regarding border security, Darby said he’s voted in favor of every one of Abbott’s border security bills.

“But what vouchers do is they run contrary to what the Governor is pushing,” he said. “He (Abbott) is trying to say to you that we are trying to keep illegals out. But, what vouchers do is act as a magnet to bring them in.” 

As the rally concluded, Darby encouraged attendees to exercise their right to vote, with early voting starting on Feb. 20 and the general election scheduled for March 5.

San Angelo LIVE! recorded the entire rally. 


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