Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

May 20, 2013

Rep. Travis Clardy's Capitol update

Rep. Travis Clardy
Jacksonville Daily Progress

AUSTIN — This week, I cast a vote in favor of Senate Bill 2, which lifts the cap on the creation of charter schools in the State of Tex-as.

Each year, more than 315,000 Texas public school children are confined to schools that fail to provide the education they deserve. As a result of perpetual low performance, these schools have been deemed ‘failing’ by the metrics of our state’s accountability system. In majority of these cases, there are few options are available to parents who do not have the ability or financial resources to home school or pay private school tuition.

We want to ensure that every parent maintains the right to choose what’s best for their child’s education. With so few op-tions available to parents seeking alternatives to failing public schools, expanding and strengthening our charter school system is essential.

Parents and students cannot afford to wait for some distant reform; they need more options and they need them now.

With more than 100,000 Texas students just waiting to attend charter schools, S.B. 2 is the necessary, long-overdue response for Texas families.

Additionally, S.B. 2 establishes an independent authorizing board, which will make it easier to close down low-performing charter schools that are failing our students. This allows us to fix what’s broken and ensure that we have the best options available to parents and students.

Finally, although charter schools provide more options, we also need to continue investing in our public schools. Next week, the legislature’s budget conference committee, which is composed of House and Senate members designated to negotiate the final details of the budget, will announce an increase in education spending. I anticipate that a substantial amount will be put back into education, providing the resources we need to ensure a healthy and robust public education system.

This week, the Senate passed H.B. 1325, a bill that dramatically reduces tens of thousands of asbestos cases that have been clogging the dockets of Texas courts for many years.

These clogged dockets created a great problem for people with asbestos- and silica-related diseases, who waited for years for their cases to be heard while their health was in grave jeopardy.

With Governor Per-ry’s signature, this bill will reduce those inactive claims, while ensuring that any person with a pending claim on the docket can come back to court if they ever develop an asbestos or silica-related disease.

This bill will allow those in dire need of litigation to get their cases heard with greater immediacy. I am proud to have worked with Represen-tatives Doug Miller and Tryon Lewis to form a solution to this vast, long-standing problem.

Visit my official member page at: http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/?district=11 to view all the legislation we're working on and please reach out to my Capitol or District office to share your thoughts on the issues.