Local education leaders meet to discuss legislative priorities

Local News

The new Texas legislative session is upon us and Thursday night, superintendents from across east Texas met at Bullard Elementary to discuss priorities.

“If even, we can unite everybody because while we are separate schools in different communities, we’re united in public education,” said Bullard ISD Superintendent Todd Scheider.

Three distinguished speakers were there to educate and inform people on topics including state funding, school vouchers and the new A-F accountability system. Dr. Charles Johnson, the Executive Director of Pastors for Texas Children spoke about school choice. Region 7 schools oppose vouchers and education savings grants. 

“All the people of a community through their tax dollars support the education of all the children in the community, so none of that money should be diverted to private schools,” said Dr. Johnson. “It’s wrong, it’s unjust, it’s selfish.”

Region 7 is made up of 95 school districts and seven charter schools in East Texas and about 62% of those students are considered “economically disadvantaged.”

“All of God’s children deserve to be educated, not just those who can afford it,” said Dr. Johnson.

Lindale ISD Superintendent Stan Surratt said the state needs to fix the finance problem before worrying about vouchers.

“I just don’t understand how we use vouchers to send to schools where they’re sending more money per child than their schools in the state of Texas,” said Surratt.

The new grading system to judge the state’s schools is also not gaining support from Region 7.

“This one has a lot of holes and a lot of room for too many anomalies to happen to not tell the story of public education,” said Scheider. 

Superintendents of Region 7 Legislative Priorities

SUPPORT: Increased Funding for Public Education

The Texas Supreme Court’s opinion was clear that the Texas School funding system is “imperfect, with immense room for improvement.” Texas funding per student ranks 40th in the nation, while the Texas economy ranks among the best.

  • Support an increase of $275-400 to the basic allotment
  • Support revenues from property growth be utilized in an equitable manner for funding public schools

OPPOSE: Vouchers & Education Savings Grants

The Texas Constitution mandates the legislature “to establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools.” Vouchers and savings grants given to the private sector remove the fiduciary responsibility required for the accountability of public funds.
  • Oppose any form of certificate directly or indirectly funded by the government in which parents can apply toward tuition at a private school or home schooling, rather than attending the state funded public school.

OPPOSE: A-F Accountability System

Region 7 Superintendents support a strong accountability system that reflects the many facets of a quality 21st century education system. It should reflect overall student performance and not limited to the lowest performing student group based on a single state assessment.

  • Believe A-F does NOT provide a meaningful or accurate assessment of a student, campus or district performance
  • Believe the social/economic environment of a campus/district will have an unintended consequence on the ratings 
  • Believe further study is necessary to design a system that adequately addresses the nature of school success and school improvement

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