FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 06/05/2019
Post Session Reflections: Rep. Mary González Proud of Advances for Special Education in Texas
AUSTIN - There are over half of a million students with disabilities being educated in our public school system in Texas, and yet, many do not have the resources they need to succeed. This legislative session, Rep. González fought to ensure that these students receive the supports they need.
Concerned about the $219 million shortfall in funding for special education in Texas, Rep. González fought to amend HB 3, the school finance bill, to provide for increased funding for special education services. Through her efforts, she increased the special education mainstream weight for the first time since 1995, resulting in an anticipated additional $85 million for these much-needed services.
“Public education is a form of social justice. If we are not providing adequate services to all students across the state, our education system is not properly functioning,” Rep González said. “We made some great strides this session concerning special education, and I look forward to continuing to address this issue during the interim, as well as next session."
Rep. González also increased efficiency of the dollars the state spends on special education services through the adoption of two riders in the budget. The first requires the Legislative Budget Board to study our state’s special education system to ensure we are appropriately funding these services and the second expands TEA’s $50 million special education exceptional item to include extended school year services and reimbursements for evaluations.
Rep. González also provided for protections for students with disabilities through the passage of HB 111, which requires child abuse training for educators to include information on students with significant cognitive disabilities, as well as secured $4 million of additional funding in the state budget for Special Olympics in Texas.
“Thank you to Speaker Bonnen, Chairman Huberty, and all of the special education advocates for their leadership and commitment to fund special education in Texas,” Rep. González said.