How much did you spend on food and drinks in a four-month span? The Harris County Department of Education spent about $72,000 in taxpayer funded “Restaurant/Refreshment” purchases from August to December last year, a microcosm of waste so bad that many would consider it unconstitutional.

Article 7 Section 1 of the Texas Constitution states that the Legislature should provide “support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools”. Taxpayers should question the Legislature’s wisdom and commitment to that principle when it passed on the chance to shut the HCDE down. Instead, taxpayers get stuck funding $72,000 per quarter on restaurant expenses by an education board. That’s an annual salary or more for some Harris County residents, but apparently just chump change for the HCDE. And that’s just a drop in the bucket for what they spend.

Out of the 400 entities that HCDE reports serving, only 26 are from Harris County School Districts. In other words, Harris County taxpayers have been paying for school resources used outside of their county, on top of paying for the public school systems in their district.

Of course, to serve so many entities outside of Harris County, the HCDE utilizes it’s own marketing team. Among some of the things they’ve spent taxpayer money on include $250 gift cards at HCDE-hosted conventions, hotel rooms at the Ritz Carlton for administrators, and taxi-rides between HCDE buildings.

HCDE’s spending is simply irresponsible, flawed and arguably unconstitutional. But if that’s not enough to prove why it should be shut down, read past posts about the obsolescence of the board and duplication of services it provides, then check back in a few days when we discuss the board’s “entrepreneurial initiatives”.


Note: Information for this article was provided by Colleen Vera of