Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Smith's Amendment 23 tabled

Note: Following is an encapsulation of actions taken and remarks made by legislators during today's debate. While this note does reflect remarks made by these lawmakers, it is not a full and verbatim transcript of the remarks.

Rep. James Smith's Amendment 23 seeks to establish accountability.

Smith: This is an important amendment. We want to spend state dollars responsibly and accountably. We expect that of our public schools. Without this amendment, we're spending $37 million without accountability.

We ought to want high standards, demand excellence and performance, whether in our public education system or this new system.

There's no accountability for performance, no standards for what is taught. We will be doing a disservice to these students.

We're making the decision to spend $37 million when we just passed an appropriation bill that failed to meet the base student cost.

If we know today we're funding the base student cost at less than what the law demands, we admit we're not funding a minimally adequate education, what the law requires.

We've set a standard of passing bills that are facially unconstitutional. Our Constitution states as follows, No money shall be paid for public funds nor shall the credit of the used for the benefit of any religious or private institution.

It's pretty clear. That's exactly what you're doing with this bill.

Members, I think this is important. We take an oath to defend the Constitution.

If you're going to do that, at least adopt this amendment. I understand if you think it's okay to spend public dollars on private schools, but at least make sure you do it in a responsible way and implement Education Accountability Act standards.

Rep. Brian White moved to table the amendment; Smith requested roll call.

Vote: 64-47, tabled.

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