Sen. Seliger files bills relating to key issues: education, water

State Sen. Kel Seliger has filed a pair of bills with the legislature he hopes will address two of his most important concerns for his District 31 constituents: education and water.Seliger filed SB 225, which focuses on public education in the Lone Star State and will help streamline the graduation process for students and reform the existing high-stakes tests.“The bill reduces high stakes testing for all students to five tests that are required for graduation,” Seliger said. “This will allow students more flexibility in choosing electives that will pave the way for whatever they choose to do after high school, be that seek an industry certification, employment or attend a community college or university.”If passed, the bill would:• Restructure graduation plans, including the current requirement of four years each of math, science, English and social studies, so that all students graduate under the new Foundation High School Program, which includes 26 credits.• Make it so 16 credits are required in core subject areas, including two years of foreign language, plus 10 elective credits.• Endorsements may be earned with the successful completion of five credits in any one area of study, including: Humanities, Business & Industry, Human Services, or Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).• Authorize the Commissioner of Education to approve courses that count toward graduation requirements.Seliger said he has worked closely with the real stakeholders in the bill — educators and students — to determine the kind of impact it can have.“I always draft bills impactingpublic education with the input of educators, and this one is no exception,” Seliger said. “I will continue to work with my colleagues and stakeholders to ensure the best possible outcome.”Seliger’s second bill — SB 224 — concentrates on funding for the Texas Water Development Board.According to the senator, over a 50-year period the bill will free-up more than $40 million for the Texas Water Development Board for assistance to local water providers, such as the Colorado City Municipal Water District.“This bill fully funds the state’s obligation of the water plan of $26.9 billion and water providers such as CRMWD will, for the first time since the creation of the plan, be able to access the state’s share of financing for the projects they have already included in the plan,” Seliger said.The bill also:• Makes $1.6 billion from the economic stabilization fund available for use by the Texas Water Development Board.• Through a revolving loan, $1.6 billion meets the state’s obligation of $26.9 billion in 30 years.• The revolving loan method of finance allows the Texas Water Development Board to remove the agency’s debt from the constitutional debt limit in addition to eliminating the need for any General Revenue. “The state water plan process is a locally driven process whereby 16 regional water planning areas throughout the state submit a list of local projects that have been vetted and determined to meet the community’s needs,” Seliger said. “Submitted projects must include information regarding the need, people affected and the dollar amount necessary to complete a project in order to be included in the plan. By funding the plan fully, all projects in the state water plan will have access to funding.”Contact Staff Writer Thomas Jenkins at 263-7331 ext. 232 or by e-mail at