House Representative

Howard, Donna


Rep. Donna Howard to Lt. Governor and Senate: Support At-Risk Teen Parents

Austin Lawmaker Pushes for Dropout Prevention Measure in Last Days of Session

AUSTIN - As the two Chambers of the Texas Legislature work through their differences on various bills, State Representative Donna Howard urged the Senate to adopt a measure which will help to keep teen parents in school.

Rep. Howard issued the following statement:

"On three separate occasions this session, the Texas House has passed legislation which will allow the use of compensatory education allotment funding to provide wraparound support for teen parents who are at risk of dropping out of school. Yet this common-sense proposal is at risk of failing due to Senate inaction.

"This is a bipartisan measure, supported by the Governor, which will give each school district local control over what programs they may provide for drop-out prevention.

"My colleagues in the East Chamber are very fond of brandishing their pro-life credentials. I hope that they will take this opportunity to help support teens who have chosen life, by giving them the assistance they need to remain in school and complete their education.

"I urge the Senate to retain the compensatory education language which the House placed in HB 1305 and SB 496."

The compensatory education allotment supports programs for at-risk students. Currently student support, including child-care services, which were covered by grant funding before the 2011 budget cuts, are not permissible uses of compensatory allotment funds. Rep. Howard's HB 256 would allow for the funds to be used to provide wraparound support for students who are pregnant or parents and at risk of dropping out of school so that they can successfully complete their high school education.

HB 256 was voted unanimously out of the House Public Education Committee, and passed out May 4th. It received a hearing in the Senate Education Committee on May 12th, but was left pending with no further action taken.

Similar language was added to two bills during their House consideration, HB 1305 by Rep. Greg Bonnen and SB 496 by Sen. Kirk Watson. HB 1305 has been sent to Conference Committee to work out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill, while the Senate has not yet concurred with the House version of SB 496.

CONTACT: Scott M. Daigle