In talking to scores of Park Cities residents over the last couple months in connection with my campaign for the HPISD School Board, I realized that many people aren’t aware of the major issues currently facing the HPISD.  This includes both parents of HPISD kids and other residents.  Two of the key issues are the impending cuts in state education funding and the growth in our student population.

The cuts in state education funding will have a major impact on the HPISD in the immediate future.  Under the bill proposed in the Texas Senate, our district funding would be cut by an estimated $3.5 million in the first year, and $4 million in the second year.  This is considered the best case scenario.  Under the House bill, our funding could be cut by as much as $10 million!

This is not a temporary problem and won’t go away when the economy improves.  Because of a series of actions taken in Austin back in 2005 (which in effect instituted a statewide property tax), the system is broken.  For further detail on this issue and to see how the HPISD is reacting, I recommend that you read the series of articles by Dr. Dawson Orr, which are available on the HPISD website. (There are also links to these articles on my Facebook page).

As for the growth in student population, there are many things driving this growth.  In the past year, the district hired a demographer to study these trends, and formed a Demographic Advisory Committee (consisting of HPISD parents and other community leaders) to make recommendations to the School Board on how to deal with them.  The fact is that all of our district campuses are going to be at or near capacity in the next few years, and some action will need to be taken.  If you’re interested in this issue, I recommend that you read the report from the Demographic Study Committee, which is available on the HPISD website.

As a current member of the HPISD Finance Committee, and having served on the Demographic Advisory Committee, I am well-versed in the key issues facing the HPISD.  I look forward to having the opportunity to meet these issues head on as a member of the HPISD School Board.  Like always, with dedicated leaders and involved citizens, we will solve these problems.

Early voting in the School Board Election starts Monday, May 2, at the HPISD Administration Building on the corner of Lovers Lane and Westchester (next to Scotland Yard).  The polls are open from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. the week of May 2, and from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. on May 9 and 10.   The election is on May 14 in the cafeteria at the Highland Park Middle School.  Polls are open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. on election day.  Please get out and vote early!

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