Campaign For Early Education Tax Loses Legal Battle

Photo taken by Victor Palomares; Graphic by Valerie Lawhorn
The legal battle to put a tax for early education on the November ballot in Harris County has come to an end. A panel of Texas judges has denied a request to put the issue before voters.

At the polls in November, voters won’t see any proposal for an early education tax in Harris County.

The Early to Rise campaign has lost its legal battle to put the issue before voters.

Last month, its attorney asked a court of appeals to force the issue on the ballot after the Harris County Judge Ed Emmett refused to put it there.

The court of appeals has given its ruling.

The answer is no.

“Obviously I was pleased because the court of appeals agreed with my position.”

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett sees it as a simple legal issue.

“This really isn’t about early childhood education. It could have been about any other subject where people were trying to use the law to raise taxes on everybody in the county for a specific purpose and it did not fit the law they were trying to use.”

The law they were trying to use involves the Harris County department of education.

It’s just one of two left in the state.

The Early to Rise campaign wanted the county education department to levy the tax for early education.

James Calaway with the campaign says they respect the court’s decision.

He says in a statement that they are “saddened by the impact this decision will have on thousands of pre-school children in Harris County.”

Calaway says the challenge remains to make sure all children are ready for school.

Bio photo of Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for KUHF, including K-12 and higher education.

Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and regularly contributed to WLRN, the local NPR affiliate and Miami Herald news partner...