Now is the time for your voice to be heard.
Dear Denison ISD families and staff,
In an unprecedented move, Governor Greg Abbott called a fourth special session of the 88th Texas Legislature for the purpose of passing voucher legislation to provide private school subsidies with taxpayer funds, among other items. Missing from his call was any reference to school funding increases, which are sorely needed to address record inflation, increase teacher pay, and fund new, unfunded state requirements related to safety and security that have impacted our district.
Just as you have felt the impact of inflation, Denison ISD is seeing significant increases in the cost of utilities, fuel, insurance, food, and other expenses necessary for operating our schools. Our teachers and staff deserve cost of living adjustments just to keep up with the rising costs of groceries, health care, and gas. Unfortunately, the school finance system does not increase funding when inflation rises, and contrary to common belief, when your property values rise, schools do not receive more money for raises or operating expenses. Instead, the state gets to fund less of the system.
This year, despite a historic budget surplus, state lawmakers have failed to allocate necessary funding to public schools. More than $14 billion in new per-student funding is needed just to give school districts across the state the same buying power as in 2019. To date, only $2.6 billion has been provided. Regrettably, instead of helping public schools keep up with rising costs, state leaders are focused on pushing through subsidies for private education.
Article 7 of the Texas Constitution states that it is “the duty of the Legislature of the State to establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools.” I am proud that our public schools serve every student who walks through our doors, regardless of their background or circumstance.
With significant increases in revenue expected over the next two years, the Legislature could choose to fully fund public education and stabilize our schools by tying funding to inflation. Instead, a faction of Texas politicians inspired by Governor Abbott are withholding teacher pay raises and public school funding for the purpose of forcing voucher legislation. This faction of Texas politicians is pushing a separate educational system that would divert public funds to private schools during a time when our public schools are underfunded by billions of dollars. Our elected Denison ISD School Board stands firm in opposition to through two resolutions that can be viewed here.
Please pay close attention to the actions of our lawmakers during this upcoming special session, and join me in being a champion for public education. Contact your representatives, ask them to support our teachers and staff, and let them know how important public education is to our state and community.
Dr. David Kirkbride, Superintendent of Schools
BIG THINGS ARE HAPPENING AT DENISON ISD! READ OUR SUNDAY STORIES...
RENEWAL OF DISTRICT OF INNOVATION PLAN
The District’s plan is to renew our District of Innovation exemption, by exempting the district from the uniform school start date.
This allows flexibility to consider starting school earlier in August and ending the school year prior to Memorial Day in May. It also allows for completing the first semester prior to Christmas Holiday break.
DENISON IS ESSER FUNDING
ESSER Funding for Texas School Districts
The U.S. Congress has provided financial support for districts and schools through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund to address the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Texas received $1.3 billion in ESSER I funding, an additional $5.5 billion in ESSER II, and $12.4 billion in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds (also referred to as ESSER III). To view the Denison ISD ESSER Use of Funds Plan, CLICK HERE