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June 14, 2017      8:03 PM

Ahead of red meat special session, Straus says Texas House remains laser-focused on public education

Speaking to the TASB conference, Straus dismisses talk of school vouchers and bathroom bills; “The Texas House still believes in public education and we’re not giving up on our kids.”

SAN ANTONIO – To thunderous applause by school board members from around the state gathered in the Alamo City, the presiding officer of the Texas House of Representatives on Wednesday said that despite a laundry list of red meat special session topics offered by Gov. Greg Abbott, the lower chamber remains laser-focused on improving classrooms from El Paso to Beaumont and everywhere in between.

“The Texas House still believes in public education and we’re not giving up on our kids,” House Speaker Joe Straus told the Texas Association of School Boards conference at the Marriott Rivercenter Hotel.

Straus began by joking that it was nice to be surrounded by a group of people who support public education, which is “quite a change for me,” apparently taking a jab at the Texas Senate. Speaker Straus said that during the regular session, the upper chamber was wrongly focused on school vouchers. In broad bipartisan fashion, the House has repeatedly rejected school vouchers in any form.

Striking what was perhaps his most defiant tone yet, Straus took multiple swipes at Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who suggested earlier this year that school finance – the centerpiece of Straus’ speech in San Antonio – could only be addressed in a special session. Patrick had said there would not be sufficient time in a regular session to tackle school finance, which of course has historically been among the heaviest of legislative lifts at the Texas Capitol.

"Until we get it right, the House will always have time to work on school finance,” Straus said.

By Scott Braddock

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