PRESS RELEASE FROM SEN. EDDIE LUCIO, JR.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 20, 2013
CONTACT: Daniel Collins, General Counsel & Press Secretary
South Texas Legislators call on Texas Education Agency to review grant procedures
AUSTIN — On Thursday, December 19, 2013, 12 South Texas legislators sent a letter to Texas Education Agency (TEA) Commissioner Michael Williams urging him to conduct a formal inquiry into the processes and procedures used in awarding grants intended to support before- and after-school programs.
The grant at issue in the letter, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers / Afterschool Centers on Education grant (21st CCLC / ACE grant), offers funds which empower successful applicant schools and organizations to develop before- and after-school services to students. The grants are administered by TEA using federal appropriations. More information about the grant may be found on TEA's Web site at www.tea.state.tx.us/index4.aspx?id=3546.
In their letter, legislators argue that despite particularly high need for such services in South Texas, 21st CCLC / ACE grant awards to the region have dropped precipitously in recent funding cycles. No applicant school or organization from South Texas was awarded a grant in 2013. Instead, most grant awards went to major metropolitan areas such as Austin, Houston, and Dallas.
Legislators suggest that the current process used to review 21st CCLC / ACE grant applications disadvantages applicants representing property-poor, small, or rural areas, such as in South Texas. They call on TEA to review these procedures to ensure fair consideration is given to applicants from all parts of the state.
The letter sent Thursday to Commissioner Williams was signed by members of the Texas House and Senate representing districts in South Texas: Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr.; Sen. Judith Zaffirini; Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa; Rep. Rene Oliveira; Rep. Richard Raymond; Rep. Ryan Guillen; Rep. Armando Martinez; Rep. Eddie Lucio III; Rep. Sergio Munoz, Jr.; Rep. Robert "Bobby" Guerra; Rep. Oscar Longoria; and Rep. Terry Canales.
A copy of the letter is attached.
Letter to TEA Commissioner Michael Williams