Governor Greg Abbott was in Houston Tuesday to speak to the Greater Houston Partnership. He used the occasion to reassure business leaders nervous about cuts to state funding for pre-kindergarten education.
The governor said Partnership CEO Bob Harvey had pressed him on the fate of pre-K funding in the Legislature, pointing to recent newspaper articles. Abbott said he’d told Harvey, “Your first mistake was reading the newspapers.”
“It’s not ‘if’ pre-K education is going to be funded. We’ve gone beyond the ‘if’ point. The battle right now is over which strategy is going to be the appropriate strategy to be used to fund pre-K education. The House has a plan. The Senate has a plan. The governor has a plan. Between those three, we’re going to work out something in conference committee.”
During the last session, the Legislature approved $118 million in funding for the governor’s high-quality pre-K grant program. This past January, in his State of the State address, Abbott called for legislators to double that amount, saying “Let’s do this right. Or don’t do it at all.” They took him at his word. The House and Senate zeroed out funding for the grant program in their respective budgets, though both chambers provided funding for alternative pre-K programs.
Pre-K education is a major priority for the Partnership, whose leaders see it as critical for training the city’s future workforce.