Texas State Teachers Association President Noel Candelaria regarding the budget approved by the Texas Senate today:

“Lt. Governor Dan Patrick’s Senate budget is a slap in the face of 5.3 million Texas students, their parents and teachers, and the majority of Texas voters of all political persuasions.

“Dan Patrick’s education budget cuts shamefully neglect our students’ needs. Simply put, it is wrong to cut overall funding for public education by $69.5 million and cut the amount of state general revenue funding for public education by $1.877 billion, while relying on locally generated funds to make up the difference.

“At a time when Texas has a Rainy Day Fund surplus of $12 billion, the largest of its kind in the country, failing to adequately fund our neighborhood schools in unconscionable. TSTA’s recent poll, conducted by a respected bipartisan polling team, found that 71% of Texas voters believe some of the Rainy Day Fund should be used to support public schools. And, by a 56 to 39 percent margin, Republican primary voters agree that some of our state tax dollars would be better used to invest in our future, rather than sit in the bank doing nothing.

“To add insult to injury, the Lt. Governor wants to siphon money from his underfunded education budget to pay for a private school voucher entitlement program that would hand out state tax dollars with little or no accountability.

“Fortunately, today’s Senate budget action is just the first round of what could be a protracted debate, and the Texas House is considering what Texas voters want: using a reasonable part of the Rainy Day Fund to provide additional funds to education and other critical state needs. We believe that in the end, a number of our state senators will agree, because our children’s future hangs in the balance.”