Cherokee Independent School District adopted a resolution on October 11, 2010 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.
With this resolution adoption, Cherokee ISD joins an impressive number of other districts across the state that have done the same as part of the "Make Education a Priority" campaign launched by the Aledo ISD Board of Trustees. Since September 1st, the list of districts adopting the resolution continues to steadily grow.
The campaign aims to create one voice by unifying school districts to support an attitude of making education a sincere priority during the 2011 82nd Legislative Session.
The campaign also calls for a commitment to maintaining a respectful tone throughout the process, supporting our legislators, and does not seek to throw money at a broken system of school finance. One of the main causes of the current school finance crisis is the 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.
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 a long-term. In addition, teaching positions are being eliminated, salaries reduced and local educational programs removed to meet reduced budgets.
In 2007 and 2009, legislators were unsuccessful in addressing school funding shortcomings. With a budget deficit approaching $20 billion, legislative leadership must work with the education community to find a creative solution that does not incur significant cost.
"Until education becomes a real priority, serious solutions to school finance will never be found," says Bobby J Rigues, Aledo ISD Board Vice-President. "We are asking our legislators for their support and commitment to work with stakeholders to begin fixing the broken school funding system in Texas –together, we can. We are now at the door step of 2011. We cannot wait until 2013."
The campaign hopes to secure as many resolutions as possible leading up to the 82nd Legislative Session in January 2011, when board members and superintendents from across the state will be invited to deliver the resolutions and letters of support from legislators and communities to the Texas Capitol in Austin.
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 several legislators and educational organizations can also be found within the website.