Seeking the schools’ best interests

State Rep. Jim Landtroop of Plainview may consider himself a friend of his local school districts, but his voting record says otherwise.

Landtroop was quoted in the Amarillo newspaper over the weekend, claiming to have represented the “best interests” of his 50 or so rural school districts when he voted last week against Senate Bill 1, which distributed $4 billion in state budget cuts among the state’s 1,000plus districts. Landtroop believed they were treated unfairly in the funding distribution, compared to larger urban and suburban districts.

“The vast majority of the schools I represent are those lowtarget revenue rural schools, and my vote was a vote representing their best interests, and that’s what I am here to do,” he said.

Actually, though, Senate Bill 1 wasn’t the main problem. The real problem was House Bill 1, the appropriations bill passed during the regular session, which slashed the school funding formulas (including enrollment growth) by $4 billion. That is what made the perdistrict cuts in Senate Bill 1 so deep.

And, how did Landtroop vote on House Bill 1? He voted for it, the final version cutting $4 billion, AND he voted for an earlier House version that would have cut $8 billion from the public schools. Had the $8 billion reduction held up, I would like to think that many of the school superintendents in his expansive West Texas district would have run him out of the territory.

As it is, the local school officials and all the West Texas taxpayers they work for should be looking for another state representative candidate for next year’s elections. Replacing Landtroop clearly would be in the schools’ best interests.


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