Better East Texas: Football is king in East Texas, but at what cost?

(KLTV) - Football is king in Texas.  We see it at every level of competition.  And this has been a great season, especially for east Texas teams.  Congrats to all for another great year.

But what is a winning high school football program worth?  One district has managed to grab the spot light with that question by awarding their Athletic Director with a handsome pay raise.  The district is Carthage, here in East Texas.  Recently, Athletic Director Scott Surratt was given a $20,000 raise.

Now, no one could argue with the success Coach Surratt and the Bulldogs have had on the field but – resulting in additional revenue to the district.  But here is the problem: state funding for school districts is declining in many cases. In Carthage, for example, the district faced a $6,000,000 plus reduction in funding.  To answer for it, the district cut more than 30 positions to cover the shortfall. 

Now, Coach Surratt may be the best thing going on in Carthage and it may be in their best interest to pay him more with the hopes of keeping him in place longer, generating an even better return on investment. But this example is exactly why we need to pay attention to how the state legislature funds education.  Cuts and reductions are real and affect education jobs and ultimately the quality of the student experience.

And then districts are faced with challenges similar to Carthage.  School funding needs to be the true top priority in Texas government so that rewarding success is an easy decision and that will make for a better East Texas.

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