Dear Wildcat Family,
I am reaching out to let you know that Texas public schools continue to be underfunded by billions of dollars. Texas has the 9th largest economy in the WORLD, and yet, we rank in the bottom third of the 50 states in public school funding, 43rd overall.
Our students, our teachers, and our staff deserve better. Our hope was that our public schools would be prioritized this legislative session, addressing the record inflation that has caused massive increases to the cost of operating a school district. Public schools need more than $14 billion in new per pupil funding to have the same buying power as we had in 2019 the last time the Basic Allotment was raised. However, that did not happen. In the recently held regular 88th legislative session, the legislature only provided $2.6 billion for public schools, of which none of these funds went to our per pupil funding or Basic Allotment.
On October 5th, Governor Abbott announced a special session with his prioritized agenda that began Monday, October 9, 2023. Lawmakers will address vouchers, also termed education savings accounts (ESAs). Ironically, public school funding is not included on the Governor’s agenda. This is hugely disappointing as vouchers/ESAs provide public funds for private school choice while taking money away from public schools. It is so important that all of us, as supporters of public school, are knowledgeable about vouchers/ESAs and the potential impact to our schools.
A few facts to consider:
- Vouchers use tax payer dollars to offset the cost of private school tuition.
- Public schools are open to all students while private schools can pick and choose who they admit.
- Public schools have transparent accountability for academic and financial standards while private schools have zero public accountability.
Our legislature needs to prioritize all available funding for public school students, classrooms, and staff because our students and staff deserve better. And so, over the next several weeks, we will be sending you information on this session and ways you can continue to have your voice heard.
Please be prepared to contact your lawmakers to talk about what our school district means to you and how important it is to support our teachers and staff. You can find out who represents you at the state capitol by going to Who Represents Me? (texas.gov) and typing in your address.
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to partner with you in educating the future of our great state. Let’s make sure our representatives in Austin know how important our schools are to our community!
Kennedale Independent School District