Friday, February 23, 2024

Denton ISD joins other DFW districts in sounding ‘Mayday’ alert over funding

Last week, 11 DFW-area school districts (including Denton ISD), came together to urge residents to contact state legislators about school funding.

With less than a month left in the current legislative session, school district officials from across the area spoke at a joint press conference on the budget being negotiated by state lawmakers, which they say will leave Texas public schools $7 billion short of what is needed to cover inflation since 2019, according to a Denton ISD news release.

“We appreciate that lawmakers have already set aside additional funding for public education this year, but it isn’t enough to keep up with inflation,” said Dallas ISD Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde during a news conference last week. “As a result, school districts will not be able to offer significant salary increases to their teachers and team members at budget time. That’s why we’re issuing this distress call to all of our supporters to contact their lawmakers during this last month of the session to seek more funding.”

From June 2019 to February 2023, inflation in Texas soared 17%, according to the Texas Consumer Price Index. In March 2022, the Legislative Budget Board estimated that current school funding is at 2014 levels, when adjusted for inflation.

“This issue will imperil school districts’ ability to give staff members salary increases that will help them keep up with the cost of inflation,” Denton ISD said in a statement. “Additionally, as property taxes and home values have risen, school districts have not received more money for maintenance and operations. Instead, the state share of school funding has dropped significantly … School districts are allotted a certain amount of money per student regardless of property values, and the amount allotted per student has not changed since 2019.”

Representatives of 11 school districts, including Denton ISD, attended the news conference last week in Dallas. Dallas ISD says Lewisville ISD is supportive of the movement, though it wasn’t present at the news conference, which took place a couple days after the Texas House advanced a $4.5 billion school funding bill.

Supporters of public schools are encouraged to take 15 seconds to access this link that will send a request to their individual state lawmakers seeking more funding for public education.

Mark Smith
Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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