Pastors, Superintendents Call for More School Funding

Alan Scaia
October 11, 2018 - 11:45 am
US Capitol Building

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DALLAS (KRLD) - Pastors and school superintendents are meeting to present a unified voice to the state legislature for next year's session. They say the state should increase school funding.

"We're a state-wide organization, and we go into every Texas community, and we get preachers and teachers together," says Rev. Charles Johnson, the executive director of Texas Pastors for Children.

Alan Scaia

Hundreds of pastors have joined the group from across the state. This week, they have met with the superintendents of the Fort Worth and Dallas Independent School Districts.

"This is important, the district has made some significant improvements, and it's important to keep that momentum going," says Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa.

Dallas ISD will be considered "property rich," so the district will have to contribute money to the state fund to be sent to poorer districts. This is the first time Dallas has received the designation, but Hinojosa says 90 percent of students in the district still live in poverty.

Dallas is asking for a property tax increase this fall.

Last month, the Texas Education Agency released a budget with a $3.5 billion cut in state funding over the next two years because of an increase in local property tax revenue.

The state is still planning an increase in funding for school security, special education and mental health services for students.

Pastors for Children says the state should, instead of focusing on vouchers or school choice, send more money to districts.

"Communities and community leaders are sick and tired of the legislature, particularly the Texas Senate, not supporting public education," Johnson says.

"So often, strengthening neighborhoods also means strengthening schools, so as a faith leader, I'm always interested in the whole person, not just someone's spiritual life, but the whole person," says Andy Stoker, the Senior Minister at First United Methodist Church of Dallas.

Stoker launched the "One+One" program in Dallas, connecting students from low income backgrounds with mentors.