POSTED: Tuesday, April 19, 2011 - 4:27pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, April 19, 2011 - 5:44pm
EL PASO- El Paso Congressman Silvestre Reyes says local schools are getting $30 million. But tonight, there are serious doubts that borderland schools will see any of that money.
Congress set aside $10 billion last year to help local education. Of that, $830 million is going to Texas. Whether that money is going to local schools is another question altogether.
"Either late this week or early next week, the Department of Education will send the money to Texas," Congressman Silvestre Reyes said today during a press event.
Where it goes from there, however, is anyone's guess. Of the $830 million coming to Texas, Congressman Reyes assured us in this news release that about $30 million is set aside for El Paso area districts.
$10 million to EPISD, $7 million to Ysleta and Socorro, $2 million to Clint, and $1 million to Canutillo. Four other districts could get extra funding as well.
But the state of Texas, not Congressman Reyes, decides whether to release that money.
"Does that money ever really come to to the school districts or is the money just used to supplant what the state of Texas should be funding," said EPISD Superintendent Lorenzo Garcia.
Currently, Texas is required to fund schools with certain amounts of state money. But local superintendents say the state might use this federal money instead of its own.
That would ease the overall state deficit, but continue to under fund education.
"The reason that many people are thinking that this really won't happen is because of what's happened in the past." Garcia said.
Texas got federal funding for education a few years ago, but the Governor's office decided to use the money at the state level, withholding it from local schools.
Congressman Reyes hopes this time, things will be different. He says the Governor's office is promising the money will be doled out to school districts and not kept in Austin.
"Nothing is ever definitive until they actually get the money but we're expecting them to get at least that amount of money," Reyes said.
The issue at hand is will federal dollars make it to local districts, or will the state use it to ease the deficit. We'll follow the money trail and keep you posted.