These were the top issues from last night's Cy-Fair ISD school board meeting. The board unanimously approved both agenda items.
One Voice for Texas Public Education Coalition
CFISD trustee Bob Covey asked the board at Monday night’s work session to consider partnering with other districts in a new advocacy group called One Voice for Texas Public Education Coalition.
According to the coalition's website, the group represents about 200,000 students from more than 10 school districts across the state, including Fort Bend, Spring Branch and Klein ISDs.
The coalition’s three priorities are:
- To reform and adequately fund the Texas school finance system
- To support uniform standards and requirements for all state-funded school systems
- To overhaul state accountability and assessment systems
“In looking at our resolutions and our priorities, there were three that stood out that everybody felt were important," Covey said. "Although you might interpret and do things differently, they’re still important for the legislature to address. It’s important that the legislature realize how many people are behind this or how many students are being represented in this voice.”
Board President Darcy Mingoia said these legislative priorities align closely with the school district’s Community Leadership Committee’s and that she sees the benefit in working alongside other districts.
“I do believe that there’s great value in numbers,” she said. “When people can all talk about the same thing… you have a stronger position when you’re discussing these issues with your local legislators.”
Trustee Don Ryan said the board is unlikely to agree with One Voice on every issue, but participating does not necessarily mean signing resolutions. Several trustees questioned the coalition’s position on a tier-one finance system that would benefit property-rich districts over property-poor districts.
Noting that he does not want to “water down” the efforts being made by the CLC, Ryan said joining the coalition could make their voice louder.
“My feeling on our current legislative session is that, historically, they really don’t listen to us at all,” Ryan said. “Any time we can take advantage of the law of large numbers to try and scream a little louder, I’m in favor of that.”
Trustee John Ogletree said CLC has worked hard to connect with legislators, and he does not necessarily see the need to join One Voice. He said lawmakers already know where public school districts stand on these issues.
“If we can’t get the members of the legislature that are in our own community to vote for the things that we favor and suggest, what good is it to be a part of some large organization just to be a part of it?” Ogletree said. “What, really, are we going to get out of this?”
At Thursday’s board meeting, trustees took action to participate in One Voice.
Open transfer campuses
Officials said CFISD grew by more than 1,000 students this year, and projections are about the same for the upcoming academic year. However, several schools at less than 95 percent capacity will be open to transfers for the 2017-18 academic year.
Director of General Administration Kristi Giron said her team considered campus capacities, enrollment projections and staffing numbers. At Monday night’s board work session, she recommended one high school, 10 middle schools and 18 elementary schools be open for student transfers. The board will vote on the plan at Thursday’s scheduled meeting.
Parents can choose to transfer their children to any of these schools as long as they are able to provide transportation. Transfer requests will be accepted between April 3 and June 1.
“As you know, charter schools do not provide transportation either,” Superintendent Mark Henry said to the board. “We have 29 options available for parents if they would like to go somewhere else.”
Open campuses in Giron’s proposal include:
Cypress Park High School
Arnold Middle School
Campbell Middle School
Cook Middle School
Goodson Middle School
Hamilton Middle School
Hopper Middle School
Kahla Middle School
Labay Middle School
Smith Middle School
Truett Middle School
Adam Elementary School
Bane Elementary School
Duryea Elementary School
Emery Elementary School
Frazier Elementary School
Gleason Elementary School
Hairgrove Elementary School
Hoover Elementary School
Jowell Elementary School
Kirk Elementary School
Lamkin Elementary School
Lee Elementary School
Metcalf Elementary School
Sampson Elementary School
Walker Elementary School
Wells Elementary School
Willbern Elementary School
Woodard Elementary School