By Elsa Maxey
It looks like Fort Bend ISD got some help from students in voicing a message aimed at the state legislature. For the students, it was probably a real life lesson in government complete with first amendment rights, the right to assembly, and it was also sanctioned by school officials. Campus and Sugar Land Police were also in the loop about a student organized rally last Wednesday and they were on-site ensuring safety.
As the Easter three-day weekend kicked-off, surprising news came from State Education Commissioner Robert Scott Friday evening. An announcement about Texas receiving $830 million in federal money for use towards public education this year prompted Scott to release an important statement. “We will work with lawmakers to get this much needed funding to our school districts as quickly as possible,” he said about Texas receiving the federal funds from the U.S. Department of Education.
The money comes a year after most states received their portion of $10 billion set aside to protect education jobs. The Texas funds were held up in a political dispute reported between Democratic U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Austin and Republican Gov. Rick Perry. Speculation indicates that the funds will be used to factor into the state’s current budget under development, which may free up more funds for additional spending.
As for the students rally, the high school students had picked Town Center as their original location, but a permit was needed from the property owners since the city could only authorize the students to assemble on the city hall steps, they said.
About 100 plus Clements students took to the streets alongside their high school on Sweetwater Boulevard in support of 33 teachers whose positions have been cut. “No teacher be left behind, Save Our Teachers, Honk for Education,” they sounded –off with their chants also displayed on signs they were carrying. Those who spoke to the “Star” said they are concerned about the quality of their education, class size and they said they wanted the state’s Rainy Day Fund to go to education.
Now that Texas will be receiving its share of federal funds, reports indicate they may go through state funding formulas for use by the school districts and there still remain many unknowns until the state approves its budget in June. A source said that had the federal funds been released to Texas last fall, they could have been used to save jobs.