It is my hope that we can continue our mission of serving students in the tri-county area and that we can work with our sister school districts to advocate for real changes in education funding this session.
South Texas ISD will hold a Tuesday press conference on an ongoing legislative push to restructure its funding mechanisms.
The push, which became public in January, includes at least nine other local school districts who’ve approved resolutions supporting the reform or elimination of STISD’s taxing authority.
Donna ISD’s board approved its resolution just last week.
Those critics argue that South Texas ISD is disproportionately better funded and that it’s grown beyond the mandate that originally justified its funding mechanisms.
Leadership of Edinburg CISD has emerged as perhaps the most vocal of those critics, even pleading their case in front of the Edinburg City Council.
Two Rio Grande Valley legislators have said that they’d consider legislation on that front, representatives Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, and Sergio Munoz, D-Palmview.
Munoz told The Monitor earlier this month that he hoped to introduce legislation by the end of February.
South Texas ISD, meanwhile, has disputed critics’ appraisal of its funding mechanisms.
The district argues that the removal of its taxing authority would threaten its very existence, that critics are misinforming the community and that it provides a valuable service to the Valley.
“STISD has done a remarkable job in its history serving students, expanding educational opportunities, and working to provide unique and innovative learning experiences,” STISD Superintendent Marco Antonio Lara, Jr. wrote in a release Friday. “We are proud to have some of the best schools in the nation, and we are proud of all that we continue to accomplish in providing our students with the latest resources, technology, and educational opportunities, so they can all go to and achieve their higher education and professional dreams.”
STISD began ramping up its own legislative efforts late last month, hiring a well-known public relations consultant to that effect and outlining a strategy to sway legislators to the district’s side.
District leadership has also floated the idea of banding together with critics to push for funding benefiting all Valley districts, although it’s unclear how realistic that goal is or whether the strategy has weakened the resolve of critical districts.
“It is my hope that we can continue our mission of serving students in the tri-county area and that we can work with our sister school districts to advocate for real changes in education funding this session,” Lara wrote Friday. “Changes to school finance do need to be made, but not at the expense of our district and our students.”
STISD’s press conference and public presentation on the funding push is slated for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Biblioteca Las Americas in Mercedes, the release said.
To find a comprehensive list of bills filed — and the status of those bills — visit MyRGV.com and click the 88th Texas Legislative Session tab, which has an interactive spreadsheet and a comprehensive list of AIM Media Texas’ legislative coverage.