I had the privilege of joining citizens from across District VI tonight at a town hall meeting held at Revere Middle School. Big thanks to Principal Christian De La Riva and the team at Revere for hosting this event, and in particular to the school’s dance and martial arts students who performed their hearts out! (Check out the videos of both the martial arts and dance troupes on Twitter at @LundinForHISD!)
After initial introductions, attendees had the opportunity to pose questions directly to district representatives. Almost all were directed to the superintendent, and focused on concerns related to funding for magnet schools. (Specifically, a proposal was shared with the board last week during a special session that would have dramatically altered funding levels that campuses could expect in the future.)
Superintendent Carranza apologized for any confusion that came from the introduction of this document, stating that the framework shared with and discussed by the board last week was not in fact a final proposal and would not be put forward for ratification at the June meeting. When directly questioned by a parent as to whether his child’s magnet school would face cuts for the 2017-18 academic year, the superintendent pledged that it would not.
Though I appreciated the superintendent’s willingness to take responsibility for how the introduction of this proposal had led many families to justifiable concerns, a different statement he made gave me pause. Specifically, he asserted that, in order to make sense of our district’s funding formulas for specialty campuses, we inherently need to “centralize” more of the decisions currently made by our school leaders.
I would respectfully suggest that this premise creates a false choice. We can simultaneously develop a funding formula that ensures schools receive resources based on their unique programmatic needs, WHILE ALSO maintaining school leaders’ abilities to lead their schools (supplemented by thoughtful support and resources on the district level) in the ways that best fit the needs of their students and communities.
There was one other interaction this evening that captivated me, and I left feeling deeply proud of our teachers in District VI. Ms. Watson and Ms. Johnson, fourth grade teachers at Bonham Elementary, passionately articulated the needs for improvements to campus facilities for the students they serve. It was wonderful to watch these dedicated individuals independently take the initiative to advocate on behalf of their kids, and this was just one more testament to how great teachers go above and beyond on a daily basis.
I would love to hear your thoughts on tonight’s meeting as well. Feel free to share your responses to this post on the “Robert Lundin For HISD” Facebook page, or just e-mail me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org!