Avalon ISD urges legislators to make education a priority

Lawmakers must make education a priority this legislative session if they are to find a solution to the broken public school funding system in Texas. Avalon Independent School District adopted a resolution on September 23, 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, Avalon 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 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 out legislators, and does not see 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 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 costs.

“Until education becomes a priority, serious solutions to school finance will never be found,” says Bobby J Riques, 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.”

Avalon ISD Board President, Harrison Romero, states, “This is simply the voice of Avalon ISD speaking up in support of not just our children, but for all children. It is our hope that our legislators, despite difficult economic times, are encouraged to make education a priority during the next legislative session. We encourage them to engage in a serious discussion regarding our current funding system. Equity and adequacy must be at the forefront of educational funding.”

This 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 can 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.