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kAMINO 4,040, 411 ftat, 4 , 4 *,* 4,vima s s iltat `* “”* Ait44 “-* ” Wit 4010 4,4411* ‘ W4 LOUIS DUBOSE Rep. Paul Colbert offering in exchange for “some equity” an oxymoronic proposition at best Colbert said: “This bill would allow for the waiver of the 22-to-1 class-size limitation. Now if there’s one thing that we’ve done right in the last half-dozen years that was it. When Secretary Cavazos was here he commented on how our schools obviously were failing our children because the kids in the early grades were testing out well above the kids in the higher grades. He happened to have pulled out kids who had been through 22-to-1 and compared them with kids who’ve never been through 22-to-1 … he was demonstrating to us the fact that what we have done has worked. That our kids, as a result of the individualized attention, are now doing better. They’re still not doing as good as they ought to but we have finally made a programmatic improvement. It is incredible to me that we are going to consider the possibility of saying that districts don’t have to follow that standard. “It is incredible to me that we would waive the requirement that districts have to serve certain kinds of students, that we would waive the requirement that they serve special education students, that we would waive the requirement that all districts would have dropout programs to discourage them [students] from dropping out, that we would waive due process for students before we kick them out onto the street … that we would devise a mechanism by which a district could maintain its exemplary status by not serving students, by encouraging them to get out onto the streets.” Colbert’s comments at the committee meeting were the closest thing to a bill of particulars on the funding and “governance 4 MARCH 9, 1990 and deregulation” provisions of the proposed law that anyone would offer on that particular day. The Speaker’s Chief of Staff, Mike Millsap, was hovering outside the hearing room and the meeting’s mission was pro forma. Committee members and lobbyists understood all of that. After hearing \(b i from five witnesses the committee reported the bill out, with only San Antonio Rep. Greg Luna and Universal City Rep. Alan Schoolcraft dissenting. Colbert said he would vote “yes” but hoped that the bill could be amended from the floor. REPORTERS documented the committee hearing in the Reagan Building. But the real story occurred on the other side of 14th St. in the Speaker’s office at 2:30 the following afternoon, when at least three of the coalition of 15 made their pitch to Gib Lewis. Nick Perez, Libby Linebarger, and Mark Stiles not exactly the typical members’ weekend duck hunt prevailed upon the speaker that the Equity-Center provisions had not been defeated on their merits but had failed because of the number of amendments that were loaded onto the bill. What the delegation was asking Lewis for was precisely what had failed the first time around the will of the House. After the fact, all interviewed were rather mutually deferential. According to Perez, it was Stiles who convinced the Speaker. Stiles has been on the Speaker’s team in the past, commands the respect of moderate House Democrats, and like him or not, is one of a few House members who can actually change the direction of a floor debate. “Mark convinced the speaker to give us a run,” Perez said Stiles, however, claims that the Speaker will always give members a fair hearing. “He usually gets a bad rap,” Stiles said of the way the press perceives Lewis. “But if you’ve got the votes, you’ve got the run. You saw what happened, this bill would not have passed without Gib Lewis.” Perez concurred: “He’s always been a members’ Speaker.” \(And Lewis does deserve some credit. He had, it appears, prevailed on the education committee chair to support a low-dollar bill that would have made his own life easier. Lewis faces a Republican opponent in Fort Worth, who will decry the Speaker as a taxand-spend moderate, and a Governor in Dallas who has been demagoguing the tax question for what now seems like an eternity. For Lewis, the easiest road to re-election would have been paved with education Chair GlossOn Wednesday afternoon, Lewis gave Stiles, Linebarger, and Perei until Monday to come up with the names of 76 House members who would vote for the EquityCenter package. It was an odd team, sort of a Texas-Lege version of the Hill Street Blues ensemble. Linebarger, a former Texas Education Agency employee, is regarded as a knowledgeable, decent, and capable member of the House. She had focused on education and environmental affairs. Stiles is an enforcer type who, has punched out at least one Senator, earlier earned a reputation as a House Bully, took his licks from Texas Monthly, and seemed perfectly cast to stand doWn a dapper Dallas type like Kent Grusendorf. Perez has been around for a while but has never really has settled in. But he’s amiable, probably hasn’t made too many enemies, and could sell the program to the Mexican American caucus which remained committed to MALDEF. And Paul Colbert, who Perez described as “our technical’advisor,” is probably the only member of the House who truly understands the arcana of education finance. He talks about PDI, weighted-second tier, and sum cert like he really enjoys it a trait that probably has earned him the enmity of more than a few members of the House. It devolved upon Perez to canvass the House and for three days the guy was everywhere. \(Lesser campaigns have put lesser members onto the right track in this chamasked at least a hundred times as he worked a list of potential votes. By Thursday they were in the 60s and when the House reconvened on Monday, Perez, legal pads in hand, claimed to be just three votes shy of the 76-vote majority required to substitute the Equity-Center funding principles for the Governor’s-Task-Force proposals in the bill scheduled to come to the floor. This time, Lewis let it be known that any amendments to the bill would have to be on his desk before debate began. “Seventy-seven,” Perez had said of his vote count early in the afternoon. But high noon came at 4:11 p.m, when Stiles moved to