AUSTIN, Texas - Hundreds of parents, educators and students rallied on the front steps of the Texas State Capitol Monday.
They said they came to support public education.
“We are here today because Texas PTA is rallying in favor of Texas Public Schools. And public education in Texas and we think that it's important for us to be here to support their legislative agenda and their legislative priorities,” Fort Bend Independent School District Board President Kristin Tassin said.
Drummers from the Round Rock ISD led the group along the front of the Capitol grounds, and up the walkway to the south steps under the Capitol dome. Many were in Austin to meet with lawmakers asking that they keep money in public schools.
“It's important for me to be here today to represent all of our especially from our districts all across the state because we support public schools. It's important for our legislators and our senators to know that we need to fund public schools. Not vouchers. But for our public schools,” Fort Bend ISD Board Secretary Addie Heyliger said. “The least of us will not have money to help support and supplement the voucher money. We need to support all of our children in Texas. That's why I'm here today.”
KPRC 2 crews spotted parents from throughout the Houston area meeting with their senators and representatives. In Spring Branch ISD, a big concern is that their tax money could go elsewhere.
A group called “Parents for Full and Fair Funding of Texas Public Schools,” says the plan known as “recapture” or “Robin Hood” hurts the district.
We're here because we need more money in our public schools. And so one of the things that we're truly fighting for districts like Spring Branch which we represent, from Houston. We're one of the recapture schools that pay back money and our recapture money this year is $53 million. And in two years, it will be $93 million. So our school district is going to start running a deficit of $17 million,” a parent at Spring Branch ISD Kristi Thibaut said.
“So while we don't mind sharing our money, we absolutely do but at the point that it's a detriment to our school district is the point that our parents stand up and say we need more money in public education period,” Thibaut said.
Parent are concerned that in two years they could send nearly 22 percent of locally generated tax money to other parts of the state while their own school district suffers.
Spring Branch parent Denise Campbell said, “Here today, the most important are recapture districts. We're looking for some relief for the homestead exemption penalty. We have an exemption in our home school district. And even though we are not collecting tax dollars on 20 percent of our property values, we are taxed as though we are. We're taxed at 100 percent of the value.”
Watch for the rally live on Ryan Korsgard's Facebook page.
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