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WISD urges legislators to make education a priority
by Steven Self, WISD
Jan 27, 2011 | 354 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lawmakers must make education a priority this legislative session if they are to find a solution to the broken school finance system and properly fund public schools in Texas.

Woodsboro Independent School District adopted a resolution at its regular monthly board meeting on Jan. 17, in an effort to raise awareness of the growing financial crisis public school districts are facing.

The resolution adoption encourages state legislators to work with local school board members and other stakeholders with an attitude of the highest priority.

Woodsboro is funded at below-the-state average and has already had to make program cuts. Many staff members who have left have not been replaced.

With this resolution adoption, Woodsboro ISD joins more than 480 school districts across Texas that have done the same as part of the “Make Education a Priority” campaign launched by the Aledo ISD Board of Trustees.

The campaign aims to unite school districts to support and share with our legislators an attitude of making education a sincere priority during the 2011 82nd Legislative Session. The campaign calls for a commitment to fix the broken system of school finance and to properly fund education.

One of the main causes of the current school finance crisis is 2006 legislation (House Bill 1) that has proven to fall short of properly funding Texas public schools. The state cut property taxes by one third and did not establish a new stream of revenue to completely make up the difference.

In 2007 and 2009, legislators were unsuccessful in addressing school funding shortcomings. Currently, more than half of the school districts in Texas are being forced to use dollars from their fund balances for daily operating expenditures – a practice that is neither financially sound nor sustainable over the long term.

In addition, teaching positions are being eliminated, salaries reduced and local educational programs removed to meet reduced budgets.

“Our united priority message is respectful and clear,” said Bobby J. Rigues, vice president of Aledo ISD Board of Trustees. “During difficult financial times, the process of prioritizing becomes magnified. A united concern to protect and properly fund education must be found as the highest priority during the 82nd Legislative Session.”

The campaign hopes to secure Priority Resolutions from a majority of school districts as the 82nd Legislative Session begins this month. Board members and superintendents will be invited to deliver their unified priority message and community letters of support in Austin on Jan. 31 at 11 a.m. in conjunction with the Mid-Winter Conference event.

More information may be found at the Make Education a Priority website: www.schoolpriority.com.

A list of school districts adopting the resolution and supporting statements by legislators and educational organizations can also be found within the website.

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