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Schools Say They May Sue To Get Money For Students

By Bud Gillett, CBS 11 News
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Students work during a math class. (credit: JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)

Students work during a math class. (credit: JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)

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AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM) – Trustees from four North Texas school districts hint they’ll do whatever it take – even suing the state if necessary – to get the money they say they need for their students.

Trustees from Arlington, Cedar Hill, Dallas, and Plano claim to represent the thoughts of 161 districts locally.  They insist the proposed house budget would mean $900 to $1,000 less for each student… and say the senate version is not much better.

The districts promise they’ll do what they have to do for students, even as far as going to court.  “Historically, to truly change funding in the state of Texas, what’s occurred?  Lawsuits,” said Arlington ISD trustee Bowie Hogg.

Hogg and the others trustees say their districts have already been through rounds of cuts.  They hint unless if the legislature ignores them, they will go to court.   “Do we want to go down that option?” Hogg asks, “ Not at all; that’s not a good way for everyone to work together in the state of Texas.”

The alternative, they say, is to tap the state’s Rainy Day Fund beyond what legislators already have… and to close existing tax loopholes.  “We are asking our legislators to minimize the cuts to education and to fix the underperforming tax policy,” said Plano’s Missy Bender.

Kelly Hunter has two kids in Plano’s schools. “The single most important thing our government can do is educate our kids.”  Hunter has watched as rounds of cuts have already gone through the system.  “It was a crushing blow to see some of the people that we lost at the district level in the first round of cuts; but it’s really disconcerting to see the cuts come in the classroom both as a parent and as a friend of educators.”

She worries what will happen to the learning experience if class sizes grow from 22 to 30-students per class.  Active in her PTA, she says the first thing parents like her must do… is to be aware of—and get involved with—what’s going on, adding, “The second thing is make our voice heard.   If we don’t tell our legislators is the primary importance, they can’t act on our behalf.  Cutting in the class room is a dangerous precedent to set.”

Hunter adds if parents can’t go to Austin directly, they need to add their voices to interest groups, especially a local PTA.

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