The fight over public school funding remains an important front in the battle for Texas Governor between Senator Wendy Davis and Attorney General Greg Abbott.
Today Senator Wendy Davis held a press conference in front of the old Austin High School and implored Greg Abbott as the state's top lawyer to settle the school finance lawsuit. Currently Abbott is defending the legislature's $5.4 billion cuts to public education made in 2011 that were the subject of Davis' first filibuster and for which roughly 600 of the state's school districts have sued over.
"We're locked in a legal battle that everyone, except General Abbott, seems to know is over," said Davis. "He's defending the indefensible. Now he has a choice - continue defending an unconstitutional school funding system and appeal, or move to settle. I call on him to settle this case."
Davis said a special session to address the finance issue would not be out of the question.
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Sen. Davis is continued pushing the narrative that Abbott avoids answering tough questions and said his defense of the public education cuts amounts to, "wasting time and taxpayer money on a frivolous lawsuit that hurts Texas."
"General Abbott just doesn't seem to get it. He doesn't seem to get that his failed leadership on this issue is harmful to very real people," Davis said. " And, when asked his opinion on an issue that is central to our future, he won't even comment. Despite the pleas from students...pleas from parents...pleas from teachers...pleas from school administrators and school boards...he remains silent."
As a Senator, Davis not only filibustered the cuts in 2011, but worked on legislation to review the funding formulas, something she says that everyone, including the state, agrees needs to happen. Earlier this year Sen. Davis detailed her plans to bring in more experienced teachers and improve educational opportunities for Texas' growing school age population. Davis said we have the resources available on hand and pointed to the Rainy Day Fund and the fact that the Comptroller's low estimate is partially to blame for the budget cuts. In 2013, Davis and others fought to restore $3.4 billion to public education but the Senator says that, "was a temporary fix - not a long-term solution."
Davis finished her address to the media by saying, "as a candidate for Governor, [Greg Abbott] needs to tell us what he's do to improve our public schools." At this time Abbott's campaign website still does not list anything regarding "education" under "Issues." Under his Townhall tab he says, "Texas must determine how best to develop the organization, delivery and finance of our education system - which is still rooted in the 19th Century." It does not provide details on what a better system might look like, but it leans heavily on school choice saying, "Texas must consider how best to encourage the growth of charter schools." That might not be good enough for those who believe in an equitable and strong public school system for all Texas children.