From Donna Garner. -Angela
Texas Gov. Rick Perry issued an executive order which directs 65% of school spending to go to the classroom. On August 24, 2005, the Texas Commissioner of Education set up a task force to decide exactly what is considered the "classroom." Since then the membership of the task force has been questioned. For instance, where are the classroom teachers on this 65% rule task force? Where are the Texas State Board of Education members? Where are the common everyday taxpayers who pay the bills for these school districts? Why are they not represented on this task force? If wise spending is what this new executive order from Gov. Rick Perry is all about, then are these appointed members (listed in the second enclosure) the best ones to make those decisions?
Also attached is an article (dated 7.23.04) from The Dallas Morning News entitled "Superintendents Get $2000 Consulting Fees To Hobnob with Vendors." This article plus many others which have been published in the last several years about the misspent dollars in the public schools have made the citizens of Texas a little squeamish about allowing the "foxes to guard the henhouse."
Please notice that such members as Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD Superintendent Annette Griffin is a member of the task force and is also on the Rancho Mirage list. Several of the school districts from which task force members come are also noted on the DMN article. The Dallas ISD is presently embroiled in a controversy over possibly misspent government-regulated e-Rate funds which are tied to technology vendors. A number of the superintendents on the 65% task force make exhorbitant salaries themselves. These particular task force members may not be the best ones to represent the taxpayers who desperately want wise and transparent fiscal management in our states' public schools.
This Week -- The Lone Star Report -- 8.24.05
Superintendents dominate spending task force
8/24/2005 4:59:34 PM
The Texas Education Agency has appointed a task force to craft rules to implement Gov. Rick Perry's rule to direct 65 percent of school spending to the classroom.
The 15-person task force includes two executive directors of regional service centers and 13 school superintendents. Several of the superintendents are currently suing the state, arguing that the state does not adequately fund Texas schools.
"This task force will build a consensus about the appropriate way to measure resource allocation in Texas public schools so that parents, taxpayers, and policymakers can apply a common standard for holding school districts accountable for their spending practices," said TEA Commissioner Shirley Neeley.
Among the members of the task force are Austin ISD Superintendent Pat Forgione and Houston ISD Superintendent Abe Saavedra.
Some conservatives are criticizing the move. Peggy Venable, the Texas Director of Americans for Prosperity - one of the key groups that pushed the 65 percent rule, called the task force makeup a "collossal mistake."
"I am surprised that it has been established and disappointed at the appointments made to the taskforce," Venable said. "The TEA Commissioner appointed 15 education bureaucrats. There are 13 school superintendents, and superintendents have almost universally opposed the 65% initiative."
Moreover, any taskforce should be focused on providing schools with suggestions on how to achieve the 65% standard and should include representation from the State Board of Education, teachers, parents and taxpayers," Venable said.
LSR has contacted Gov. Rick Perry's office for comment.
© 2003, The Lone Star Foundation
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These members were appointed to the 65% rule task force on August 24, 2005, by Texas Commissioner of Education Shirley Neeley:
Members of the 65 percent rule task force are:
Superintendent David Anthony, Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District
Executive Director John Bass, Region 16 Education Service Center, Amarillo
Superintendent Carol Ann Bonds, Livingston ISD
Superintendent Cathy Bryce, Highland Park ISD, Dallas
Superintendent Bonny Cain, Pearland ISD
Superintendent Pat Forgione, Austin ISD
Superintendent Annette Griffin, Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD
Superintendent Michael Hinojosa, Dallas ISD
Superintendent Robert Nix, Midland ISD
Superintendent Patricia Pickles, Pflugerville ISD
Superintendent Thomas Randall, Lamar Consolidated ISD
Superintendent Abe Saavedra, Houston ISD
Superintendent Jesus Sanchez, Eagle Pass ISD
Superintendent Carrol Thomas, Beaumont ISD
Executive Director James Vasquez, Region 19 Education Service Center (El Paso)
Superintendents get $2,000 consulting fees to hobnob with vendors
07:24 PM CDT on Friday, July 23, 2004
By SCOTT PARKS / The Dallas Morning News
I had already posted this before. It's an eye opener. -Angela