An email from Mike Villarreal, Texas State Representative:

Dear Friends,
Speaker Straus has appointed me to serve on two Select Committees, one on Fiscal Stability and the other on School Finance, in addition to my standing committees. I’m honored by his trust in me. The first committee will study how well the state’s revenue and spending align, and whether we need structural changes in our budget. It’s an opportunity to build on my efforts to examine corporate tax breaks, ensure taxes are fair, eliminate wasteful spending, and secure sufficient funding for education and other investments that strengthen our economy.
But today I’d like to focus on the School Finance committee and ask for your input.
This committee will propose changes to how we distribute education funding, giving us an opportunity to improve the education that Texas students receive. The legislation creating the Committee, HB 3646, also tasks us with making recommendations on closing the achievement gap, measuring college and workforce readiness, revising the education accountability system, and promoting efficient and effective support structures for public schools.

Over the course of the year, we will hold public hearings around Texas. In addition to learning about the technical details of funding formulas, I will also make this an opportunity to work on our funding model for quality pre-k programs inside and outside of the traditional public school setting.

I would also like to learn from you about what education strategies or programs are working in your community. The education challenges we face are significant, but the negative stories too often overshadow the hard work, innovations and success stories around our state. We need to do a better job celebrating, studying and replicating those successes.

Let’s start now. Join the conversation on my blog and let me know what is working in your community.

– Mike
P.S. Check out my other recent Community Forum blog posts about my daughter reading for the first time, the need for volunteers to help families file for their tax refunds, working on the state budgetdeficit and more.

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