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State Senator From Houston Pushes Sunset Review For Harris County Department of Education

Senate Bill 1166 calls for a mandatory review of the Harris County Department of Education. State Senator Paul Bettencourt says the agency should welcome a sunset review, but the department’s superintendent thinks this is just a method for ending the agency.

The Harris County Department of Education has been taking public input on this issue. Senator Paul Bettencourt has introduced three separate bills that would affect the Harris County Department of Education. It’s in response to HCDE Board not voting for a requested sunset review.

“And what you see when you get one of these is you find out how much duplication do you have. How far from their mission have they gone? What are their efficiencies? Where are their good programs and where are the programs that need to be eliminated?”   

Harris County Department of Education superintendent James Colbert says Senator Bettencourt is sending mixed signals.

“He’s also hosted Senate Bill 646 which would call for us to lose our tax rate and lay off approximately 700 people. And then he also has Senate Bill 1167 which calls for us to be shut down. So it’s never been really clear what exactly that he wants, other than to close us down.”  

Colbert says with its $110 million budget, the agency helps thousands of special needs children, and 10,000 adult learners. Critics say it duplicates services provided elsewhere.

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