School Land Board Yields to Pressure from Progress Texas Members, Releases $300M for Texas Students
Following months of pressure from 5,225 Progress Texas members, the Texas School Land Board voted 2-1 today to release $300 million to Texas public schools. As you know by now, this is money that Texas lawmakers and Texas voters thought would be going to Texas students with no problem months ago - until Patterson and the School Land Board decided to start hoarding the funds.
In August of 2012, Jerry Patterson – as Chair of the School Land Board that oversees Texas’ Available School Fund – led fellow board members in blocking $300 million that had been earmarked by Texas lawmakers for the Board to transfer to public schools. Texas voters had approved the Board’s authority to transfer the money in the 2011 Constitutional Amendment elections. As a result of the School Land Board’s inaction, Progress Texas launched a campaign calling on Patterson to stop hoarding the money and send these critical dollars to Texas’ public schools as intended. Texas lawmakers piled on Patterson in a Texas House Appropriations Committee meeting at the end of December, following our lead and urging him to release the money.
At today’s meeting, the board voted to release the $300 million in two installments – $150 million on February 1, 2013, and the other $150 million on June 3, 2013.
The following is a statement from Matt Glazer, our Executive Director, on today's win:
Today’s vote is a huge victory for Texas students, and for progressive activists in Texas. Patterson fought against us until the end, but the will of the people of Texas is greater than the power of any one elected official.
We are thrilled that the full $300 million is going where it should have gone long ago. Voters approved the measure that allowed the School Land Board to invest in Texas and future generations, and while Patterson resorted to name calling and denied the majority of Texas voters, public pressure prevailed. We will continue to work hard and ensure this is only the first of many wins for Texas school students as the 83rd Texas Legislature begins.
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