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March 5, 2003    (512) 463-0300

Dewhurst Supports Mentoring to Keep Students in School

Austin - The Lieutenant Governor wants Texas schools to spend more money on mentoring. And he says $50-$100 million dollars in federal funds can be redirected from other programs to do so. Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst believes that mentoring helps keep children from dropping out of school. The state currently spends more than $40 million on mentoring programs.

"A lot of the youngsters that drop out don't do it because they don't want to learn," said the Lieutenant Governor. Dewhurst said that he supports programs, such as Communities in Schools (CIS), that meet the Governor's mentoring standards and help youngsters both academically and emotionally. According to CIS, ninety-five percent of the students in the program stay in school between September and May. There are currently 57,000 Texas students in the CIS mentoring program.

In other education news, Dewhurst has met with Addison Senator Florence Shapiro and Laredo Senator Judith Zaffirini to discuss Senate Bill (SB) 27, which would create a zero interest loan for college students. Dewhurst believes that Zaffirini's proposed Texas B On-Time Student Loan Program will provide an incentive for students to study hard during high school to maintain a B average and graduate in four years. The zero interest loan could be used toward college tuition costs, books, and fees.

This afternoon the Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs and Military Installations heard invited testimony on SB 652, laid out today by Senator Eliot Shapleigh of El Paso. SB 652 was filed to help protect Texas' eighteen military installations from being closed during the upcoming Base Realignment and Closure process in 2005. The proposed legislation would make the installations more valuable by reducing their operating costs and increasing funding for training and mission needs.

The Senate will reconvene Thursday, March 6, 2003, at 10:00 a.m.

Session video and all other webcast recordings can be accessed from the Senate website's audio and video archive pages.

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