Although former Gov. Ann Richards of Texas was perhaps best known for her quick wit and feisty spirit, the Democratic leader, who died last week at the age of 73, also left her mark on the state’s schools.
During her term as governor from 1991 to 1995, Ms. Richards helped create the Texas Lottery, which raises more than $1 billion for school aid. She also signed into law the so-called “Robin Hood” school finance system, which redistributes local tax money from wealthy schools to poorer ones. This past summer, the state legislature revised that formula after the Texas Supreme Court ruled portions of it unconstitutional. (“Texas Poised to Close Long Chapter on School Aid,” May 24, 2006.)
Ms. Richards’ legacy also will live on in Austin, the state capital. The Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders is scheduled to open as part of the Austin school district in August 2007. Ms. Richards served on the school’s advisory board, which met almost weekly for the last 2½ years, said Geoff Rips, the district’s director of special projects. Geared toward the district’s low-income students, the new school will serve young women in grades 6-12, who will learn leadership skills and serve in career internships as part of their coursework.
A version of this article appeared in the September 20, 2006 edition of Education Week