By LIBBY CLUETT
It's important for citizens to tune in to what the 83rd Legislature plans for the future of public schools and, according to Mineral Wells ISD Supt. Gail Haterius, it's “very important to the Mineral Wells community for school funding to be a state and legislative priority.”
At issue are adequacy and equity when addressing public school funding, according to Haterius.
Adequately funding school districts, like MWISD, is “the best way to build and grow our economy to a level that our community expects,” she noted. “In Mineral Wells we have many students who come from lower-income households. Many of these students require extra teaching, tutoring and resources to help them adequately learn the curriculum. That requires extra teachers, paraprofessionals, time and funding.”
Over 70 percent of MWISD students are considered low income and “need these extra services to succeed,” she added.
“At Mineral Wells ISD we are concerned about both equity and adequacy issues for public education. We don’t believe that a zip code should be the determining factor for the quality of education that is funded,” said Haterius. “I personally think that adequately funding schools is necessary in order to preserve our democracy.
“Thomas Jefferson counseled us 'To educate and inform the whole mass of the people … (as) They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.' I interpret his statements to mean that the populace of all of our towns and cities need to be educated in order to continue having a free society that knows enough to be the economic driving forces for our great country but also the watch dogs of society. We don’t need a leveled society in which only certain classes of society are well educated,” she added.
Yet, in Texas, public school districts have largely been held to the same “target revenue” funding system since 2006-07, Haterius said. This target revenue has not increased despite rising costs in fuel, utilities an staffing.