Leticia Van de Putte Slams Dan Patrick for Voting for Unconstitutional Cuts to Public Education

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Greg Abbott may still be defending the $5.4 Billion in cuts to public education in the courtroom, but Dan Patrick is busy trying to rewrite his voting history to show he doesn’t support the unconstitutional underfunding of our public school system.

A bipartisan pair of Patrick’s senate colleagues have called him out for voting against the budget that restored some of the funds cut back in 2011 that have been deemed unconstitutional.

Senator Leticia Van de Putte held a press conference Wednesday at the Texas State Teacher’s Association where she blasted Senator Patrick for being, “more worried about his political scorecard than he is our students’ report card.”

Her comments focused on Patrick’s claims in light of the Texas public school finance system being ruled unconstitutional. She was joined by Comptroller candidate and former corporate CFO Mike Collier who said that Texans wouldn’t have to decide between lower property taxes and a better education system if revenues were forecast accurately.

Standing behind a podium that read “#TexasFirst,” Senator Van de Putte personalized the loss of over 11,000 educators across the state saying, “We have all had a favorite teacher.”

She blamed Patrick and other state leaders for not doing their job and noted that many teachers have to dig into their own pockets to help with their students basic school supplies.

This double-speak isn’t new for Patrick. Last year the Texas Tribune published a guest column by Senate Finance Chair Tommy Williams (R-Woodlands) that blasted Patrick for being “directly responsible” for cuts to certain education programs he claimed to support, adding that, “such revisionism [by Patrick]cannot go unchallenged.”

Williams said that the full committee adopted “in whole” Patrick’s public education budget recommendations and that it was Patrick’s Senate floor amendment to HB5 that eliminated new Career and Technical Education (CTE) funding. He ended his column by saying, “I can only conclude he was looking for an excuse to distance himself from our good work to advance his own political interests.”

In a written statement Senator Leticia Van de Putte said,

    “I echo Senator Williams’ sentiments. Dan Patrick was directly responsible for these education cuts, and his revisionism will not go unchallenged. Dan Patrick has shown time and time again that he does not value our neighborhood schools — he showed that when he voted twice against Texas students.”

It seems Patrick was for the cuts before he was against them. During the budget talks he needed to impress the Tea Party with his votes to beat incumbent Lt. Governor David Dewhurst in the GOP Primary, now he faces the scrutiny of Texas voters at large who overwhelmingly want more funds put towards the classroom.  He also faces growing calls from the business community to address the issue, to say nothing of the 600+ school districts that are currently suing the state over the matter.

Patrick says he only answers to the voters, but has only agreed to one public debate — let’s hope they’re listening.

Follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.

About Author

Joe Deshotel

Joe was born and raised in Beaumont, Tx, but live music and politics brought him to Austin. He has worked in and around government and elections for over a decade including for a member of US Congress, the Texas Legislature, the Mayor of Austin. He currently serves as Communications Director for the Travis County Democratic Party. He is most interested in transportation, energy and technology issues. He also likes Texas Hold'em and commuting on his electric skateboard. Follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.

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