‘Nobody is hearing us’: Educators frustrated as school funding bill has not passed with days left in legislative session

KATY – The 2023 legislative session is just days away from coming to an end and a school funding bill has not passed, leading to the superintendent of Katy ISD saying enough is enough.

New bills have been introduced to the legislature to help ease the property tax financial burden on families, while also increasing teachers’ pay, but as Dr. Ken Gregorski points out, neither has happened.

In a letter sent out Tuesday, he wrote public school funding bills have stalled or been held hostage while negotiating vouchers for private school education.

“The basic allotment, which is the primary source of school funding that is also used to fund teacher raises, has remained at $6,160 per student since 2019,” Dr. Gregorski wrote.

Some Katy ISD parents said they’ve noticed the difference, seeing more overcrowding in classrooms.

“One of my kids had a special education spot that had a teacher, but then lost them and it was hard to find a second one,” Michelle Morsbach, a mother of seven said.

Dr. Gregorski’s letter went on to state, “The district cannot effectively take care of our teachers and staff when the state is more interested in passing policy that will send public funds to private schools.”

Jackie Anderson, the president of Houston Federation of Teachers, said his letter is spot on.

“Nobody is hearing us,” she said. “Nobody is hearing our cries. Nobody is hearing the fact that teachers have to work two and three jobs to make ends meet.”

She said they’ve been pushing for across the board raises for teachers and a minimum wage of $15 an hour for support staff.

“What’s at stake is an already strained education system, where we are seeing a shortage of teachers and a mass exodus of teachers in the past years, is going to continue,” Anderson said.

If a school funding bill isn’t passed, a special legislative session could be called.