Texas school board trustees are the closest elected officials to the people. They live and are deeply involved in their communities and fully accountable in representing the interests and wishes of the taxpayers in their districts. This means school boards have much to contribute to the larger conversations happening at our state Capitol.
We believe taxpayers deserve to have their voices heard through their elected school trustees in our state’s legislative process. However, there are some people trying to silence local voices. They are calling it “taxpayer-funded lobbying.” But really it is nothing short of community censorship.
Community censorship is bad for local taxpayers.
It seriously limits the ability of education leaders to advocate for what’s best for their local schools and communities.
School board members are unpaid volunteers who live, pay taxes, and often hold full-time jobs in their communities. They don’t have the time to decipher and track every education-related bill, meet with their lawmakers, or travel to Austin to testify on a regular basis or when unexpected legislative maneuvers require swift action.
All industries, issues, and causes have people at the Capitol dedicated to making sure their voices are heard. Shouldn’t public schools have the same right?
It’s more cost effective for districts to pool their resources and provide a legislative agenda to a team that works in Austin than to have more than 1,000 school districts hire individuals to follow and provide information to the legislature. Requiring our school trustees to travel to Austin from across this great state is not only impractical, but inefficient.
We ask our lawmakers at the Capitol to respect the democratic choices made by our communities in electing our school board trustees, as well as the choice of our school boards to work together to advocate for the common good.