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State Senator Holds Forum Concerning School Funding Shortfall

By Andrea Lucia, CBS 11 News
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A teacher prepares her classroom. (credit: Dave Einsel/Getty Images)

A teacher prepares her classroom. (credit: Dave Einsel/Getty Images)

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Gabriela Ortiz never worried about the state’s education funding, until her own daughters headed to school.

“The No. 1 thing is: class size,” she said.

Now she’s speaking out publicly about her concerns.

“I have a first grader, and I’ve been to her classroom throughout the day at different times.  It seems to be a bit chaotic with 19 kids,” she told an audience Saturday morning.

Ortiz was among a crowd of hundreds of people at a pair of town hall meetings in Tarrant County to learn about impending cuts to education.

“What scared me a lot was not understanding what the subject matter was, so I’m here to sort of put the pieces together,” she said.

State Senator Wendy Davis (D – Fort Worth), who’s dealing the funding problems first hand as a member of the senate’s education committee, hosted the meetings.

“When people understand why there’s a problem, then they push for a different result. And I’m asking our community to be a part of pushing for a different result,” she said.

Davis traces the cause of the current crisis back to 2006 when the state legislature cut property taxes.

The comptroller, Carole Keeton Strayhorn, at the time wrote a letter to Gov. Rick Perry, predicting a budget shortfall.

“The result will be devastating to our schools,” she wrote.

That letter was handed out to everyone who attended Saturday’s meetings.

For Davis, it is proof lawmakers are responsible for the current financial situation.

Ortiz said that while she still has much to learn about what’s going on, she is eager to be a part of the discussion.

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