Speaking before a packed crowd, HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza and HISD Board of Education President Rhonda Skillern-Jones urged business professionals and state lawmakers to work with the district in advocating for changes to the state’s funding system for public education.
“The last time the state of Texas updated its school funding system, Ronald Reagan was President of the United States. That was 1984, and a lot has changed since 1984,” Carranza said. “We need a school finance system that will reflect the needs of today’s students and does not so heavily rely on local property taxes to fund schools. We continue to do more with less because the state does not give school districts their fair share for public education. We have lawmakers in the room right now, and we urge them to support a system that provides a better education for our children in the 21stcentury.”
Carranza and Skillern-Jones delivered their messages to more than 1,500 guests at the district’s annual State of the Schools luncheon, held at the Hilton Americas-Houston and hosted by the HISD Foundation. Keeping with the event theme “Rebuild and Reimagine,” both touted the district’s commitment to innovation, ensuring equity within all schools, and creating a world-class school district despite post-Hurricane Harvey challenges.
“We have a tough year ahead,” Skillern-Jones said. “Harvey wreaked havoc on our employees and students as it did our entire city. The water may be gone, but its devastation remains. We need your help to rebuild and reimagine.”
Hosted by the HISD Foundation and sponsored by Chevron, the program highlighted students, teachers, and schools from across the district. Among those participating were the Mickey Leland College Preparatory Academy for Young Men Barbershop Quartet, All-District Honors Jazz Band, the Lamar High School cheerleaders, and orators who performed monologues for the Project aDOORe exhibit.