Richardson Independent School District invited local elected officials to Richardson High School earlier this week to outline its legislative priorities for the coming year.
Superintendent Dr. Jeannie Stone, district trustees, and the RISD Council of PTAs welcomed senator-elect Nathan Johnson, Rep. Angie Chen Button, Rep. Ana-Maria Ramos and a staff member from senator-elect Angela Paxton’s office to the event catered by RHS culinary arts students.
Johnson said the November election was, in part, a referendum on education here in Texas. The freshman Democrat representing Texas Senate District 16 looks forward to working with RISD after he heads to Austin in a few weeks.
Chen Button has represented Texas District 112 for a decade, including much of the eastern parts of RISD. Chen Button said she always votes for public education, and she plans to do all she can to fix the state’s education funding formulas.
Ramos, another freshman legislator, represents Texas House District 102, which includes much of the northwestern parts of RISD.
She joins 27 other new members in the Texas House of Representatives, as Democrats picked up a dozen seats in the Lone Star State’s lower chamber, narrowing the Republican majority to 83 to 67.
RISD Trustees want all legislators in Austin to increase the state’s share of funding public education, which could potentially allow local school boards to lower property taxes.
RISD Board President Justin Bono said not all state-defined “property-rich” districts are created equal, and the funding formulas and weights used by the state must be adjusted to better reflect the actual costs of educating all students, including those who are economically disadvantaged.
RISD also calls on those convening for the 86th regular session of the Texas Legislature to adjust the current recapture mechanism to allow districts to retain a portion of dollars currently mandated for remittance, based on the percentage of economically disadvantaged students enrolled in that district.
Trustees also want to see state metrics updated to account for students with dyslexia.
The Board seeks increased state support of high-quality, full-day Pre-Kindergarten through existing funding formulas. RISD also believes the state should use its rainy day fund for one-time expenses associated with recovery efforts from disasters, such as hurricanes.
RISD continues to oppose vouchers or any legislation or program that divert public tax dollars away from public school districts to private entities without requiring the same mandates and accountability measures that are imposed on public schools.
The 86th regular session of the Texas Legislature will convene in January. Learn more about RISD’s legislative priorities here.