12:52 pm CST - November 28, 2011
Posted under On The Record
“Despite the uncertainty surrounding exactly what the new house districts will look like, I am committed to running for a fourth term,” Howard said. “This past session, the Legislature chose to address our budget shortfall through cuts alone – a decision that I did not agree with – and I want to be there next session to represent my constituents who are feeling the repercussions of that choice first hand.”
Howard voted against the budget passed by the House and Senate which reduced spending by about $15 billion, including a cut to public education that resulted in each school district losing an average of $500 per student. These cuts combined with other legislative changes have resulted in more than 280 school districts joining a coalition of parents, students, and taxpayers in filing a lawsuit challenging the equity of the state’s school finance system.
“I have seen statements from my colleagues about how we addressed public school funding that convey the facts but don’t convey the whole truth,” Howard said. “For example, some say that we covered the cost of all new students entering Texas schools. That is accurate, every student is paid for, but they are paid for at a lower rate because we didn’t appropriate the approximately $2.2 billion needed to fund enrollment growth. I don’t think it’s fair to hoodwink voters in this way and my campaign will focus on the facts and what they really mean.”
A former school board member in Eanes ISD, Rep. Howard has always been a passionate advocate for public education. She co-founded the parent organization Advocates for Eanes Schools and helped form the Texas Education Crisis Coalition, a grassroots group of parents, business owners, and community leaders working together to tackle public school finance issues.
Donna Howard was born and raised in Austin and graduated from Reagan High School. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing (1974) and a master’s in health education (1977), both from the University of Texas. She and her husband, Austin attorney Derek Howard, have three adult children.