Dr. Blaine's Blog

Your immediate advocacy needed NOW

Dear Spring Branch ISD Family,

With only one week left in the 88th Legislative Session, we remain disappointed, frustrated and very concerned about the lack of commitment to the 5 million Texas public school students and their educators and families who have counted on our elected officials to adequately and fairly fund our public schools.

Instead, as of this morning, there is no firm legislation to raise the Basic Allotment and only a small amount committed for safety and security. SBISD and districts across the state have vocally advocated for a $1,000 increase in the basic allotment to address the impact of inflation since 2019 when the per student allocation was last raised.

Additionally, there is no firm commitment to increase educator pay or the other critical fiscal needs for Spring Branch ISD and districts across the state to continue to provide the strong, well-rounded educational experiences our students deserve and our communities expect.

This is why, at our first of two public hearings on the upcoming year’s budget at tonight’s Board Meeting, our community will not see any pay raise for staff or significant new money included for the upcoming biennium.  As noted in my April 12 message, SBISD stands to lose $80 -100 million over the next two years and faces devastating decisions if the legislature fails to act.*

With a record $33 billion state surplus, lack of sufficient funding for public education is unacceptable. The current lack of funding for public schools is especially troubling since nearly a third of the surplus is the result of locally- generated tax dollars paid by SBISD taxpayers and those from 160 recapture districts around the state taken by the state. These recaptured funds were reallocated to the state’s general fund, instead of being reinvested in public education.

As stated in my previous legislative updates, we believe there is room to address needed property tax relief- most recently estimated to be as much as $16 billion - AND properly fund public schools. Unlike some would have you believe, reducing property taxes does NOT put any new money into the Basic Allotment to fund programs, services and salaries for Texas school districts.

Texas leadership is holding up increased public school funding until a voucher proposal (also known as education savings accounts- ESAs) is passed.  SBISD’s position remains that no public funds should be used for ESAs unless the same amount is allocated per public school student and the accountability is the same. We are grateful the Texas House has repeatedly rejected Senate Bill 8, also known as the voucher bill.

Let your voice be heard in Austin NOW!

Today is a critical day to let your voice be heard in Austinwith the Senate Committee Substitute for HB 100 being heard this morning by the Senate Committee on Education. This is not a good bill for SBISD and does not address any of our legislative priorities.

Ask the Senate Education Committee Chair and Vice Chair and our Senator on the committee to fund public schools to cover inflation since 2019 and not to hold our public school teachers and students hostage.

Brandon Creighton, Chair (R-Conroe) brandon.creighton@senate.texas.gov

Donna Campbell, Vice Chair (R-New Braunfels) donna.campbell@senate.texas.gov

Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) paul.bettencourt@senate.texas.gov

Thank you, staff, students, parents and community members, for responding all spring as strong advocates for SBISD. Your voices have been loud and proud and have definitely been heard in the halls of the Capitol. Unfortunately, to date, the threatening voices of the Governor and Lt. Governor have kept our legislators from doing what many know is right for our kids and for the future of our great state.

We won’t give up! We have one more week to remind our legislators that our children are our bottom line.

Thank you,
Jennifer Blaine, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

*Watch our Board meeting, including the public hearing and budget discussion via livestream at this link.