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Texas Budget Crisis: What's at Stake for Schools and What You Can Do

Time for Texas parents to act on behalf of public schools
Time for Texas parents to act on behalf of public schoolsDreamstime.com

Texas is facing a $27 billion budget shortfall, the largest since World War II. Currently, the state legislature is proposing massive budget cuts to public education. If implemented, every school district will be confronted with the same bleak future: sweeping teacher layoffs, increased class sizes, many campus closures, and drastic cuts to vital support programs.

The Texas school districts are all looking at dire budgetary futures. HISD alone projects a state funding loss of $202 to $348 million, or 16-20% of its operating budget. Spring Branch is bracing for a possible $40 million /year loss in revenues. And Alief must consider coping with losses between 26 and 47 million dollars per year. Unfortunately, these massive reductions in funding greatly threaten these districts’ ability to maintain the very programs that help them provide cost-effective education and support for their students.

If ever there was a time to get involved, that time is NOW!

Below are ways each and every Texas citizen can help save our schools and assist our legislators in making decisions that will preserve every child’s right to a meaningful education…

10 Things You Can To Do to Help:

1. Send a personal letter to your legislators or called them to express your views on this issue. This is a very effective and vital first step toward making an impact. Legislators need to hear from each concerned constituent. At the following link you can find the name and contact information for your representatives in the Texas House of Representatives and Texas Senate: http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/ There is a sample letter advocating for public education funding available at www.TexasEdFunding.com.

2. Staty abreast of special meetings at your school and school district offices where you can gain more information and insight about what may happen at your school and how you can help. HISD's website is HERE.

3. Attend the Save Texas Schools March and Rally in Austin on Saturday, March 12 from noon-2 p.m. at the Capitol. More information is available at www.savetxschools.org. This will be a march and rally in Austin outside the Capitol to show a large, visible presence of Texans from across the state that support funding for public education. The March will begin at 11 a.m. and the rally is from noon-2 p.m.
The event is family-friendly.

Texans Together (http://www.texanstogether.org/site/PageServer) will provide a chartered bus ride for a limited number of people from Houston to Austin for the March 12thrally. If you are interested in taking advantage of this free chartered bus ride sign up at ttef.convio.net/rallybus to stay updated.

Information about parking, buses, etc. is available at www.savetxschools.org

4. Attend Legislative Day at the Capitol to MEET with Legislators - Monday, March 14. This is a day where parents, teachers, and community members will be meeting in small groups with legislators in the Capitol. Free bus transportation and lunch will be provided by the Houston Federation of Teachers. Buses will leave Houston at 7 a.m. and return at 7 p.m. Training will be provided. Though young children are not encouraged to attend, older students, such as those in high school, could offer a valuable perspective to the legislators. Please note that students cannot ride the bus due to liability reasons.
If you plan to attend on March 14, please rsvp by March 1 to sjd@alumni.rice.edu (include your USPS address, email address, and phone number please).

5. Share this information with others who want to get involved. The more people who make their voice heard, the louder the collective will of Texans becomes known.

Other helpful links:

Legislature Online—82nd Session http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/Home.aspx

Message from Spring Branch's Superintendent, Dr. Duncan F. Klussman http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNClfQJ8hk4

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