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Texas Comptroller Expects Higher Revenue

By Bill Zeeble, KERA News

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kera/local-kera-969348.mp3

Dallas, TX – Texas Comptroller Susan Combs is reporting an extra $1.2 billion dollars in revenue for the next two year, thanks to a stronger economy. That should give lawmakers a little help as they struggle with a gigantic shortfall. But KERA's Bill Zeeble reports education funding problems persist.

Legislators say some gaps between the House and Senate budgets have been bridged. But not yet when it comes to education. The House budget would still leave public schools some $8 billion dollars short of maintaining current services. The Senate version would use more of the Rainy Day fund, shrinking the gap to roughly $4 billion. Lawmakers may have to resolve the issue in a special session this summer. Fort Worth Superintendent Melody Johnson says that hurts districts.

FWISD Superintendent Melody Johnson: Just the mere fact that the legislative time- line and the legal time-lines that school districts have to operate under are totally incompatible. So in Fort Worth we have to pass our budget by the end of June. No business on the planet could operate responsibly like we're asked to operate and plan.

While a third of the state's new $1.2 billion is destined for the Rainy Day Fund, House Appropriations Chair Jim Pitts says the House is not planning to spend any of it on education. Bill Zeeble KERA news. # # #