Primary night could change future of Texas schools
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Last legislative session, lawmakers cut $5.4 billion from public education. Now, after Tuesday’s primary, the future of Texas schools is still uncertain.
Rep. Donna Howard, a Democrat who didn't have a primary challenger, was a vocal opponent of school cuts that brought thousands of students, teachers and parent protestors to the Capitol last session.
"We lost five of our 11 public education committee members,” Rep. Howard said. “Some through the primary and some because they were running for other offices or retiring."
Tuesday’s results were a bit of a mixed bag. Voters ousted Chair of the House Public Ed Committee Rob Eissler with a Tea Party-backed candidate. The same was true of several other lawmakers who lost primary night.
"Some people who were reacting to incumbents, who they felt were not voting appropriately on public ed, may not have known that some of those very incumbents' opponents might have harsher views,” Rep. Howard said. “So I think there was a lot of factors at play here and I'm not sure we have a clear message."
Carolyn Boyle with the pro-education Parent PAC says she was happy to have some of the candidates with strong records on public education defeat Republican incumbents.
"Sometimes legislators have served too long and some of these new candidates who just won are just coming off school boards. They've just gotten through being the president of the school board,” Boyle said. “They are the people who had to lay off the teachers and understand the consequences of the cuts."
Along with the changes that came with the primary, chair of the Senate Public Ed committee Florence Shapiro did not seek reelection, nor did House Vice Chair Scott Hochberg.
Rep. Eissler told YNN Monday he'll still be present at the interim meetings on school finance, and he will help out with the transition as much as possible.