Ysleta ISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Xavier De La Torre, in his role as chair-elect of the Texas Urban Council of Superintendents (TUC), testified before a state education committee in Austin to share the importance and benefit of increasing state funding toward the areas of early childhood education and English language learners.
Dr. De La Torre’s testimony addressed the Commission’s recommendations and possible financial impact in a general sense, as they have not been specifically incorporated into any filed bills.
However, the recommendations most likely to have an impact at Ysleta ISD are those regarding increased state funding for dual language programs, at-risk students, third-grade reading performance, and full-day pre-K programs.
Dr. De La Torre testified about the need to direct more resources to early education, as well as students with challenging economic circumstances at home who need to learn English to the level needed for rigorous academic instruction and achievement.
District officials shared that “Ysleta ISD has focused existing resources into these areas and seen overwhelmingly positive academic results, particularly among its English learners, who are outperforming their peers in the region and state on annual STAAR tests and End Of Course exams. This demonstrates the merits of the School Finance Commission’s recommendations if the Legislature opts to increase overall school funding.”
The Commission’s recommendations also call for increasing the per-student “basic allotment” and eliminating certain other categories of funding.
While the financial impact for Ysleta ISD ultimately depends on the basic allotment amount adopted by the Legislature, the Commission’s intent to increase funding in the target areas is very positive for Ysleta ISD and other TUC districts.
The TUC represents the nine largest urban school districts in Texas, which collectively educate 20% of all students in Texas who are economically disadvantaged or English Learners.
Dr. De La Torre was invited to the February 12th session to present comments to the House Public Education Committee of the Texas Legislature regarding recent recommendations by the School Finance Commission, a group tasked with analyzing education funding in Texas.
In December, the Commission approved dozens of recommendations that include increasing school funding by more than $1 billion to help improve student performance and the way the state distributes school funding, among others.