Austin, TX-- Today, Rep. Drew Springer (R-Muenster) sent a letter to Governor Greg Abbott requesting that the special session call be expanded to address funding for small, rural school districts. As a representative of 22 rural counties in north and west Texas, Rep. Springer is well-aware of the devastating effects that the funding shortfall will have on small school districts and has stressed the need to continue funding for these schools. The letter was also signed by Rep. Ken King, Rep. Dustin Burrows, Rep. Poncho Nevarez, and Rep. Ryan Guillen.
When asked about his letter the representative responded, "The reality of the situation is that with the loss of funding several of our small, rural school districts are being forced to close their doors or provide a lesser quality of education than the majority of other schools around the state. A few of these districts serve an entire county and it is impractical to force them to close, only to bus those students over an hour away to another ISD in another county. We owe it to the children of Texas to ensure that these schools stay open and that the state doesn't overlook our rural communities."
This past session, both the House and the Senate offered legislative fixes to compensate for the expiration of Additional State Aid for Tax Relief (ASATR) funding for public education (effective September 1, 2017). Unfortunately, due to differences between chambers the legislature was unable to pass these measures. This ultimately sends small school districts, especially those that are the only providers of public education for a county, barreling toward a fiscal cliff. Currently, in Texas, there are twelve school districts that are the only district operating a campus in an entire county, eight of which will experience cuts from four percent to as much as forty-three percent in their Maintenance & Operation (M&O) revenue per average daily attendance.
Rep. Springer is hopeful that these schools can be helped in the Special Session beginning July 18th and encourages any constituents of HD 68 with questions or concerns to contact him directly at District68.Springer@house.texas.gov.