Letters to the Legislature

The Issue:

HISD is at risk of losing $200 million in funding because of this law.

Think of all the things that public education provides. All the programs at your school. Your teacher and administration salaries. Everything that keeps the school running.  The state needs to do its part to fund schools.

We want the State of Texas to add at least an additional $1.2 billion to the budget for public education as well as pass an amendment to SB 1. 

How you can help:

Let your legislators know that this matters to you. Send an email to the following legislators with the following points:

1. HISD unjustly will lose $200 million in the next two years, depriving schools like yours
2. We strongly suggest adding $2.2 billion to the budget for pub edu
3. Include a personal experience of how underfunding has affected you.

The Actual Email Addresses (right click the name and go to “Copy email address”):

Senator Nelson  Senator Bettencourt Senator Huffman
Senator Nichols Lt. Governor Patrick  Senator Hinojosa

The Actual Email:

We’ve written a sample letter for you. Feel free to change it accordingly

Dear Senator <<Last Name>>,

My name is ____.  I am a high school student at _____ from Houston.  I am asking you to concur with Rep. Senfronia Thompson’s amendment to Senate Bill 1.  Ms. Thompson’s amendment recognizes half of the optional homestead exemption for over 200 school districts’ statewide, including Houston ISD.  Recognizing half of Houston ISD’s optional homestead exemption combined with the budget conference committee’s recommendation to add $1.2 billion to the basic allotment, keeps Houston ISD out of recapture the first year of the 2016-17 biennium.

Sometimes I feel like Austin isn’t prioritizing children.  As a member of the Houston ISD Student Congress, I have an interest in education policy, but things like this get me really disheartened.  I do not want current and future students impacted by budget constraints should HISD be subject to recapture, or return local taxpayer dollars to the state, in the 2016-17 biennium.

Over the years, Houston ISD has lost state funding.  However, taxes paid by local homeowners and businesses now cover most of the district’s annual budget.  About 95 percent of Houston ISD’s budget comes from local taxpayers; only 5 percent comes from the state.

As a student, I see firsthand the money that goes into public education 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.  By the time I graduate, I would have spent over 16,000 hours in school.

Money is what makes my school run.  Proper funding helps my principal improve programs, like after-school tutoring, and hire critical staff, like counselors, nurses and librarians. Quality programming and capable school staff help my peers and I succeed.

I know Houston ISD is a “property-rich” school district, but over 80 percent of us qualify for free-and-reduced lunch.  Without Ms. Thompson’s amendment and $1.2 billion in the basic allotment, Houston ISD would be subject to sending about $200 million of local taxpayer money to the state.  This is disappointing because we have growing needs in the classroom.  Returning much-needed local revenue to the state will impact my educational experience.

Therefore, I am asking for the SB 1 conferees to adopt Rep. Senfronia Thompson’s amendment. Our children, myself included, simply cannot wait.

Thank you for your time.

__________

Cc: Lt. Governor Dan Patrick

     SB 1 Senate Conferees

 

Bcc speaker@hisdstudentcongress.org in your emails for a chance to win a prize. Alternatively, send us a screenshot of your email. 

Social Media:

Spread the word about this on social media. Check our Facebook and Twitter pages for messages to post on your own accounts, and encourage your friends to post. This affects us all.

HISD is the largest school district in the state of Texas. Our voices will resonate with the legislature more than any adults’ will. Let’s show them that this matters to us.

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