Sponsored by the South Texas Association of Schools, the forum focused on public school finance and other issues that impact the 50 independent school districts she represents.
“One of the best ways to serve my constituents,” Senator Zaffirini said, “is to work hand in hand with local school officials in addressing and protecting the interests of our district.”
The meeting allowed SD 21 superintendents to communicate their legislative priorities and hear from statewide experts regarding priority issues facing the 81st Legislative Session, which convened on Tuesday (Jan. 13).
Speakers included Senator Zaffirini; Dr. Wayne Pierce, executive director, Equity Center; Lynn M. Moak, education finance consultant, Moak, Casey and Associates; F. Scott McCown, executive director, Center for Public Policy Priorities; and Jason Sabo, senior vice president, United Ways of Texas.
Senator Zaffirini presided at the meeting and assured the attendees that she will continue to champion adequate funding for public schools, including returning to equitable formula funding; supporting additional funds for students with greater needs; assisting districts with declining enrollment; seeking solutions for fast-growth districts; and providing funding for high-quality, full-day pre-kindergarten as part of the Foundation School Program.
Also attending were representatives of Senator Eddie Lucio, D-Brownsville; Rep. Abel Herrero, D-Corpus Christi; and Rep. Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City.
In addition to hearing from leading education authorities, participants offered suggestions and opinions about proposed plans. Speakers and attendees agreed that any plan the Texas Legislature implements should provide more funding for schools and equal access to an excellent education for all Texas children.
“Providing an excellent education is the best investment for our children and future generations,” Senator Zaffirini said. “We need to find a way to do so that is not only fair and permanent, but also increases state revenues for public education.”