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Will Surplus Revenue go to Public Education?

One of the men who controls the state’s checkbook is leaving the door open to restoring some of the $5.4 billion in public education cuts enacted two years ago.

House Appropriations chair Jim Pitts took questions from lawmakers on the House floor today, including one from Austin Democrat Donna Howard.

“What can we do now to restore some of those funds?” Howard asked.

“We have about $8 billion additional revenue that was anticipated," Pitts responded. "We will probably be bringing you legislation and you will be discussing in the supplemental bill how we would use those funds.” The supplemental bill is legislation to cover the remaining bills of the current two-year budgeting period. 

Today, State Representative Trey Martinez Fischer filed a resolution that would require lawmakers to consider a bill addressing school funding within the first 60 days of the legislative session.

Last week, a state district judge ruled the school finance system is unconstitutional, in part because it inadequately funds education. The state is expected to appeal that ruling to the Texas Supreme Court.

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Nathan Bernier a KUT reporter and the local host during All Things Considered and Marketplace. He grew up in the small mountain town of Nelson, BC, Canada, and worked at commercial news radio stations in Ottawa, Montreal and Boston before starting at KUT in 2008.