Texas officials filed a lawsuit Sept. 23 against the U.S. Department of Education, seeking to overturn the federal agency’s rejection of the state’s application for more than $830 million in aid that has been tied up in political wrangling, reports the Associated Press. A state-specific provision inserted into a federal law by a Democratic Texas congressman requires that Republican Gov. Rick Perry promise Texas will maintain certain education spending levels through 2013 in order to get the funds. Perry has called the requirement unconstitutional because the Texas Constitution prohibits him from committing future state spending. Texas applied for the money anyway, but was rejected because its application included a caveat saying the state would not violate its own constitution. Federal officials urged the state to reapply without the caveat. President Barack Obama last month signed a $26 billion jobs bill intended to protected 300,000 teachers and other nonfederal government workers from layoffs. Perry said Texas is the only state whose funds application was rejected. “Texas taxpayers are footing the bill for the education jobs fund, and Texas’ hardworking teachers deserve their share of that money,” Perry said. “Had the Congressional majority chosen to work for Texas schoolchildren and teachers, instead of playing partisan politics, this money could already be on its way to our school districts.” The Texas-specific amendment was added to the legislation by U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, an Austin Democrat, who said the measure was an effort to prevent the state from using the federal money to divert state education dollars to other parts of the budget. Doggett and other Democrats say the provision isn’t unconstitutional, and Perry should simply agree to the terms…

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Laura Ascione

Laura Ascione is the Managing Editor, Content Services at eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's prestigious Philip Merrill College of Journalism. When she isn't wrangling her two children, Laura enjoys running, photography, home improvement, and rooting for the Terps. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura http://twitter.com/eSN_Laura