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The 2015 Texas Legislative Session Adjourns This Week with a Pre-K Win, But Much Left to Do

The Texas Legislature adjourned last week, concluding a session that covered state affairs through 2016. Among the nearly 6,000 bills passed by members of the House and Senate was a pre-K funding bill that will provide an additional $130 million in grants over the next two years to targeted school districts.

First-term Governor Greg Abbot made pre-K funding a cornerstone of his 2014 campaign and followed through in January in his inaugural State of the State address, when he referred to the issue as one of five emergency items .

Abbot went on to rally bipartisan support for House Bill 4, which will create a grant process that has the potential to distribute up to $1,500 per child to eligible school districts in the process of improving their pre-K programs. The bill aims to assist students from low-income, non-English-speaking districts.

Sadly, the governor's pre-K bill will have limited impact on statewide pre-K quality, given the number of students and the limited resources made available by the state, but this victory serves to validate the importance of early education. Common Sense Kids Action looks forward to working with Texas lawmakers in 2017 to build on this success in an effort to ensure that all Texans have access to quality pre-K.

JR Starrett
JR oversees Let's Invest Large in Youth (LILY), a multi state program for Common Sense Kids Action. In this capacity JR works with a team of internal and external stakeholders to identify and introduce state based legislation that will positively impact kids. Prior to joining Common Sense, JR served as a seasoned political operative managing campaign efforts for some of the nation’s most competitive races. JR was recognized as a Rising Star by Campaigns and Elections magazine in 2014. He currently lives in San Francisco with his wife Morgan. JR is a frequent contributor to Campaigns and Elections Magazine, contributing to the Campaign Insider column.