Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!

  • On May 1, Keller ISD is joining with other districts in North Texas to make an emergency plea to stakeholders to contact their state lawmakers about school funding. 

    Graphic featuring a hand holding a megaphone and the words Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! Take 15 seconds to support your teachersWith only one month left in Texas' 88th Legislative Session, now is the time for our voices to be heard before the final gavel is struck on May 29. 

    We are declaring an emergency because the budget currently being proposed by state lawmakers leaves Texas public schools $7 billion short of what is needed to cover inflation since 2019. This will imperil our ability to give staff members a salary increase that will help them keep up with the cost of inflation. 

    To respond to this emergency, you can click here to contact your respective lawmakers. This will only take about 15 seconds, and will send a respectful message that urges more funding for our schools. 

    Not long ago, in 2019, the Texas Legislature made an historic commitment to public education in the form of House Bill 3. By redesigning the school finance system, shifting some of the burden off property tax payers, and adding billions in new funding for schools, the legislature set Texas on the path to becoming a leader in serving our students. Unfortunately, over the past four years, the pressures of the pandemic, inflation, and increases in property values have eroded much of that good work. Schools and property taxpayers are in desperate need of relief, and the legislature has the money to provide both, having realized a $32.7 billion budget surplus due to higher-than-anticipated property values. 

    How dire is the situation for Texas public schools? From June 2019 to February 2023, inflation in Texas increased 17%, according to the Texas Consumer Price Index. In March 2022, the Legislative Budget Board estimated that current school funding is at 2014 levels when adjusted for inflation. Our fixed costs for utilities, insurance, and fuel have risen dramatically, while we're struggling to hire and keep teachers, along with other critical staff like bus drivers, custodians, aides, and special education staff. Inflation, coupled with stagnant funding levels has eroded compensation for these jobs. 

    What makes this more painful for our taxpayers is that, as their property taxes have shot up, school districts have not received more money for maintenance and operations. Instead, the state's share of school funding has dropped precipitously. The current proposed state budget makes historic, and much needed, investments in reducing property taxes, raising the state share of public education funding to more than 50%. But that still does not increase funding for schools. 

    We are extremely grateful for the $7.4 billion already allocated in current versions of the state budget proposal and we recognize the constraints lawmakers face. However, school districts need help in closing the remaining $7 billion gap, simply to fulfill the promise of House Bill 3 from 2019. 

    With a month left in the legislative session, we know that many of our teachers and employees are watching what happens before accepting job offers for next school year. We hope that, hearing our distress signal, parents, teachers, business leaders, and students will contact their legislators to ask them to plug the $7-billion hole in the public education budget. 

    Again, you can click here to join us in this effort and contact your lawmakers, sending a message that seeks more funding for Texas public schools