Local school districts worried about funding from Legislature

By  | 

MUMFORD, Tex. (KBTX) - The State Legislature meets in July and school finance is on the agenda. Some local school districts are expressing concerns about how education is being financed, with the state providing less pieces of the funding pie. On Thursday, students were learning summer lessons at Mumford ISD.

"No I'm not very optimistic that there's going to be any new funding for schools next year," said Pete Bienski, who is Mumford ISD's Superintendent.

He and some other area superintendents want lawmakers to make funding education a higher priority.

"If you listen to the senators and representatives they’ll tell you about how much more money they’re putting in education. But really what they're doing is putting in more money to take care of the new students and growth that's taking place in the State of Texas. So as far as new money coming into the school districts it's not happening," said Bienski.

Part of the legislature's special session includes considering a $1,000 pay raise for teachers, but districts like Mumford ISD wonder where that money will come from.

"I think teachers deserve an increase in pay but they're not planning on giving us any money to pay for that. And I think that's going to be a burden if that takes place. I don’t know where schools are going to get the extra $1,000 to give to teachers," he said.

"They're not funding our schools and they're not giving us the resources we can to work with our teachers," said Caldwell ISD Superintendent Andrew Peters .

Peters says that leaves you footing more of the bill.

"When you start making cuts to school funding it pushes the burden down to the little old taxpayer, but on top of that with less money it makes us harder to stay on top of problems," he said.

"Every year it seems like there's less money to be able to put up in reserve at the end of the year and at some point in time if you are going to have to start digging into your reserves that reserve is going to run out.," said Bienski.

Bienski added their finances at Mumford ISD are still in good shape. College Station ISD officials tell us they are moving forward with the coming school year not expecting major changes to school finance.

The special session begins in Austin on July 18th. State Representative John Raney tells us he agrees the state needs to do more to fund education. He's also concerned about how teacher pay raises would be paid for and is aware of the trouble some districts are facing.