From Enterprise Staff
The Board of Trustees of the Livingston Independent School District recently joined a coalition of other East Texas school districts, approving a resolution expressing opposition to educational savings accounts, more commonly known as vouchers.
Through the resolution, the ISDs are united in calling on Texas legislators to fully fund public schools at the national average per pupil by increasing state weighted funding per pupil to $14,347 as a minimum standard. This would be an increase over the $11,400 that Livingston ISD currently receives per pupil.
The coalition is also calling on legislators to discuss, debate and vote on public school funding separately from any voucher debate, funding or legislation.
“Tying these two individual issues together is unfair to the 350,000 Texas teachers and the almost 5.5 million public school students who are being negatively impacted by these schemes,” the resolution states.
The board met in a special called meeting Nov. 27 for the purpose of holding a budget workshop. The resolution was the only action item from the called meeting.
The resolution states that “the current coordinated and deliberate attack on public schools in the State of Texas has created a need for unity amount ISDs.
“The Texas Constitution clearly charges the state legislature for providing the citizenry with a free quality public education and Texas public schools have been historically underfunded and are currently funded 43rd lowest out of the 50 U.S. states; and public schools in Texas produce learner outcomes that are consistently higher than the funding level, currently at 35th out of the 50 U.S states,” the resolution continues.
Higher-than-average levels of inflation since 2019 have led to deficit spending by many school districts and charter schools. Voucher schemes divert public funds to private entities, undermining the financial stability of public schools. Such voucher programs disproportionately benefit students from affluent families, leaving behind students from lower-income backgrounds and those with special needs, thereby exacerbating education inequalities.
Whereas, adequate funding would allow for smaller class sizes, expanded extracurricular opportunities, enhanced instructional resources and a diverse range of academic programs.
In addition to Livingston ISD, the other 45 ISDs and Texas Public Charter Schools – which combined represent over 71,000 students in East Texas – who have adopted the join resolution are: Arp ISD, Beckville ISD, Big Sandy ISD, Broaddus ISD, Brownsboro ISD, Carlisle ISD, Cayuga ISD, Center ISD, Central Heights ISD, Chireno ISD, Cumberland Academy, Cushing ISD, Douglass ISD, Elkhart ISD, Elysian Fields ISD, Excelsior ISD, Fruitvale ISD, Garrison ISD, Gary ISD, Hallsville ISD, Harmony ISD, Hawkins ISD, Hemphill ISD, Karnack ISD, LaPoyner ISD, Longview ISD, Lufkin ISD, Marshall ISD, Martinsville ISD, Mount Enterprise ISD, Murchison ISD, Nacogdoches ISD, New Summerfield ISD, Overton ISD, Panola Charter, Pine Tree ISD, Sabine ISD, San Augustine ISD, Spring Hill ISD, Tatum ISD, Trinidad ISD, Union Grove ISD, Waskom ISD, West Rusk ISD and White Oak ISD.