Reporting Robbie Owens
SOUTHLAKE (CBSDFW.COM) – Several schools in Tarrant County will take their case for education funding to Austin on Thursday. Parents and school officials from the Keller Independent School District, Carroll Independent School District and Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District will be in attendance for Tarrant County Day at the State Capitol.
Representatives from the school districts gathered outside of Southlake’s Dragon Stadium early Thursday morning for a caravan to Austin. Organizers encouraged anyone from the community to join the effort, and distributed packets of information which directing supporters to local representatives.
Lawmakers can expect to get an earful from school officials and community members on Thursday about the importance of public education – not just in Tarrant County, but across the entire state. Tarrant County schools have adopted the ‘Make Education a Priority’ message which first began in the Aledo Independent School District with a letter-writing campaign several months ago.
School district officials around the state have already started preparing for drastic and devastating funding cuts, as lawmakers look to erase a budget shortfall of as much as $27 billion. With nearly half of the state’s budget devoted to education, it does not take much math to realize that education cuts are inevitable.
Still, Tarrant County school representatives plan to repeat their credo many times on Thursday, to ensure that lawmakers hear their concerns about the importance of funding Texas schools. And along with asking lawmakers to protect education funding, the Tarrant County group will also ask that state officials reject unfunded mandates and ensure that there is equitable funding for all districts.
Those who cannot make it to Austin on Thursday can still be represented. Tarrant County school districts have asked that community members mail postcards and letters in support of public education to state lawmakers. A number of those letters will be hand-delivered by the Tarrant County caravan.