A Better East Texas: Taking care of our schools

Few facets of our society have been more impacted by the pandemic than our school systems.
Published: May. 4, 2023 at 10:29 AM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Few facets of our society have been more impacted by the pandemic than our school systems.

Even today, school districts across the state are struggling with lower attendance totals and increasing expenses that are carryovers from the Covid years. Recently, school district representatives from our area came together to raise awareness to the point that they need additional funding from the state.

Currently House Bill 100, that is in the legislative process in Austin, provides an increase in state funding based on student attendance averages. The question is, will these increases be enough or because the increases don’t match or exceed the rate of inflation, will districts fall into the challenge of not covering all expenses.

Teacher salaries are at the center of this legislation but everything from support staff, building services and maintenance and other resources will be affected if HB 100 passes without any changes. Listen, no one will argue that teachers are inadequately paid, and this bill gets them some increases but districts must continue to message the current state of affairs by letting elected officials and voters know how they are managing expenses.

As they reinforce that, our legislature needs to consider giving more to help retain and recruit the best quality teachers for our kids. Without that, the future workforce in Texas will not be at a skill level to keep our state on top and the resulting consequences will be nearly impossible to turnaround. Solid school systems are the gateway to a thriving Texas – let’s take care of them.