Jerry Patterson Hoards $300 Million from Texas Students
Our Land Commissioner and Texas Republican Jerry Patterson has aspirations for higher office and is playing political games with Texas children. The announced candidate for Lt. Governor, Jerry Patterson, the Chairman of the 3-person School Land Board that made the decision to keep the funds in an account his office controls, is ignoring the will of Texas voters who approved a Constitutional Amendment last November to send that $300 million to our kids' classrooms. (Source: Texas Tribune)
On August 21, Jerry Patterson and the School Land Board will meet again. Sign our letter to Patterson and make sure he and other board members hear your voice before the meeting. Let's tell Patterson to stop playing political games and release the $300 million to public schools we already approved in last November's election.
Here's what happened:
- During the last Texas Legislative session in 2011, Texas lawmakers unanimously passed a bill that would bring an additional $300 million to public schools. The law required voter approval through a Constitutional Amendment, Proposition 6, which was approved by Texas voters in the November 2011 Constitutional Amendment Election.
- Proposition 6 instructed the 3-person School Land Board, run by Chairman Jerry Patterson as part of the General Land Office, to put a portion of earnings - $300 million, to be precise - from investments on real estate assets into the Available School Fund as a way to soften the blow of $5.4 billion in cuts to public education.
- The $300 million was budgeted to support school operations, contingent upon the constitutional amendment’s passage in November and the approval of the School Land Board, which lawmakers thought was guaranteed.
- Patterson has refused to release the $300 million to public education in order to fund “upcoming investment opportunities.”
- On August 21, Jerry Patterson and the School Land Board will meet again. Take action and demand they stop hoarding money from our children.
We agree with Patterson that Governor Perry and Republicans in the Texas Legislature who control the Appropriations process do a terrible job about financing our public schools. We want budget honesty, too. We want our schools to be places where kids can learn, not a political pawn for lawmakers to talk about for a few months then leave on the sidelines for years at a time.
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