Lucio pulls bills after backlash

Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr.

Port Isabel-South Padre Press

State Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. (D-Brownsville) has pulled two education bills from consideration by the Texas Senate after they received intense backlash from local educators.

The proposed bills, SB 2112 and SB 2113, specifically targeted the school districts of Cameron County. SB 2112 aimed to consolidate the County’s nine existing districts into one mega-district, while SB 2113 aimed to conduct a feasibility study of the potential benefits of school district consolidation.

News of the two bills began to make waves late last week when representatives of several Cameron County school districts began expressing concern that consolidation would negatively impact students. Within days, Lucio announced he was pulling SB 2112 from consideration, but intended to move forward with the bill seeking the feasibility study.

By early this week, he had decided to pull that bill, as well. “I do not intend with moving forward with either 2112 or 2113 at this time,” the senator said in a phone interview Tuesday. Indeed, Lucio said he doesn’t plan to bring them up in future legislative sessions, either.

In comments to the media, Lucio often cited the Point Isabel Independent School District (PIISD) as one of the major impetuses for why he had authored the proposed bills to begin with. Considered a “property rich” district under the State’s so-called Robin Hood public education finance plan, PIISD remits tens of millions of dollars back to the state each year in a process called “recapture.” That money is then redistributed to “property poor” districts throughout the state.

But while he mentioned PIISD’s status as one of the motivators for the proposed legislation, representatives from the District itself say the senator never reached out to them before he introduced the bills.

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