AUSTIN – Today, the Texas Public Policy Foundation submitted a letter to Attorney General Ken Paxton in support of Sen. Paul Bettencourt’s request for the Office of the Attorney General to offer its opinion on the legal status of a resolution recently adopted by a number of Texas independent school districts.”

“Under Article 16 of the Texas Constitution, taxpayer-funded schools are prohibited from engaging in political advocacy,” said Tom Lindsay, TPPF’s director of the Center for Higher Education. “For this reason, the Texas Public Policy Foundation is concerned over the legality of the ‘culture of voting resolution,’ which appears to endorse a course of actions tantamount to coercion of government employees — in this case, public school teachers — to swear to an oath in support of a specific political point of view. Most troubling is the resolution’s announced intention to provide taxpayer-funded transportation to take Texas public school employees and their students to and from polling locations to vote to support a specific political agenda. This taxpayer-funded transportation to the polls is being offered only to those who appear to support the political agenda of the organizations that crafted and adhere to this resolution.”
 
TPPF’s general counsel and director of the Center for the American future, Robert Henneke offered the following:
 
“Sen. Bettencourt’s opinion request presents an important question regarding lawful use of taxpayer funds, which is appropriate for the Texas Attorney General to resolve. Texas public education employees and teachers should not be pressured to support a specific political agenda. Should the Attorney General agree with Sen. Bettencourt’s position, all participating school districts should respect the rule of law and comply with the limitations on expenditure of public funds imposed by the Texas Constitution.”
 
The letter in its entirety may be found here.
 
For more information or to request an interview, please contact Alicia Pierce at apierce@texaspolicy.com or 512-472-2700.
 
The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit free-market research institute based in Austin. The Texas Public Policy Foundation aims to advance a societal framework that effectively fosters human flourishing based upon cooperation and mutually beneficial exchange of ideas and speech.
 
Primary website: www.TexasPolicy.com
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