State teacher group official concerned with school funding

State teacher group official concerned with school funding
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The state legislative session is underway. How much funding for public education is on the minds of many teachers and their representatives in Austin.

Teacher candidates, commonly called student teachers, attend an orientation. They're warned of strict reviews.

Ginger Franks recruits new members for the Association of Texas Professional Educators.  They're entering a career field that faces 85,000 additional kids this year. This after severe funding cuts back in 2011.

"There's not enough teachers in the classroom," Franks said. "There's not enough money to pay for teachers, so it's very important that even though the money down that we do find the money to fund our schools."

The news is not to scare young teachers, but can it?

"The thing we have seen there has been a slight decline in enrollment in educator programs, but that's across the state," said Dr. Jannah Nerren, an associate dean at SFA.

"The average teacher only stays in the classroom three to five years, so schools are constantly having to spend money on training new teachers," Franks said.

Teacher organizations want to rally experienced educators and fledgling educators to fight for school finance.

"We teach them that it is important to be advocates for their profession," Nerren said.

While legislators divert attention to bathroom bills, State representative Travis Clardy is confident education will become a top priority.

"I think it will actually be the number one thing on the agenda," Clardy said. "I say that with confidence. To me there is no question that public education should be job one. That's what I hope our focus will get around to."

It will be constituents and educators who can encourage legislators to stay on task. It's a big one. Texas has about $8 billion less to spend than in 2015.

The Association of Texas Professional Educators is lobbying against the proposal of education vouchers and the elimination of payroll deduction for membership fees in educational organizations.

Clardy says at this point he opposes both proposals.

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