As your representative on the State Board of Education (SBOE), I want to ensure you are aware of educational decisions made in Austin that will impact your local school district. We are all painfully aware of the difficult financial circumstances facing our public schools. It is disturbing to hear school districts in our area discussing campus closures, teachers and staff layoffs and discontinuing important programs that benefit our children.
Unfortunately, as a member of the SBOE, I do not have a vote in this critical matter. Only our State Representatives and Senators vote on how the educational funding issue will be resolved. Therefore, I convey the concerns and recommendations you have shared with me through phone calls, letters and emails to our legislators to ensure they know how this budget shortfall impacts you, your children and your school.
The SBOE has supported public schools by transferring over $1.9 billion from the Permanent School Fund to the Legislature to pay for the new instructional materials our students need for the 2011/2012 school year. The new instructional materials cost approximately $550,000,000 so there is almost $1.4 billion left for additional educational expenses. Encourage your legislators to make sure these much needed funds go directly to our school classrooms.
I’m pleased to report that the $830 million from the Education Jobs Fund is now available to our public schools! More information is available at http:www.tea.state.us/ index2.aspx?id=2147500414.
Soon, the SBOE will begin a review of the curriculum standards for math, fine arts and technology to ensure that we are maintaining the highest standards possible to prepare our students for their future. This will be a lengthy process and I will be writing more about this in the coming months as we begin this very important task.
Recent 2010 census data reports require the State Legislature to redraw SBOE districts throughout the state. Each of the 15 SBOE districts will be divided into regions that represent almost 1.7 million people. Our district, District 10, is the largest SBOE district in terms of population and will have to be reduced by almost 300,000 in population to achieve the ideal equitable population required by law. These new districts will go into effect for the 2012 elections and will be used for the next ten years.
Regardless of the final boundary lines, I will continue to serve the people of the current District 10 for my 2 year term. I was elected last year to be the voice for the school children, parents, teachers and taxpayers for the 16 counties that comprise District 10 and I take that responsibility very seriously.
As an educator and public school parent, please know I highly value your feedback on issues facing our public schools. It is an honor to serve you as your elected representative on your State Board of Education.