East Texas superintendents wish for fair education cutbacks

Roy Knight
Roy Knight
Mary Ann Whiteker
Mary Ann Whiteker

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The students of Lufkin ISD are worth less than students in other Texas districts.

East Texas educators worry even a special session won't change that.

"On one side, it basically says we have people standing up saying this is not right," said Mary Ann Whiteker, Hudson ISD superintendent, "The negative side is the rules change when you're in special session and there is always that possibility that they can create bills that can be worse than the one that was voted down."

Four billion dollars in cuts have to be made to Texas districts.

Legislation suggested six percent in cuts for every district in the first year six percent.

The second year, cuts would vary depending on the district.

"What that would've caused us to do is strongly consider the reduction of our early childhood programs, our full-day kindergarten and pre-k," said Roy Knight, Lufkin ISD superintendent, "Whereas some districts, the wealthier would have to consider whether to continue their elementary orchestra program."

From district to district, Deep East Texas superintendents say the same thing. They understand cutbacks have to be made, but they just want those cuts to be fair.

"The most troubling thing to me in one of the hearings I sat in, one of the representatives from a wealthier area said it's not fair to bring children in here and use them as weapons," said Knight. "I couldn't agree more. Neither is it fair to just count them as pawns being moved around on a chess board so someone else could keep their queen."

Superintendents worry that even with a special session it could be years before East Texas kids are considered equal with all Texas children.

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