Dan Huberty, the state representative in the Texas House of Representatives for District # 127, updated the Humble ISD Board of Trustees at its meeting Nov. 8.
He focused on his expectations regarding educatifon in the upcoming state legislative session. Huberty is a previous Humble ISD Trustee who also served as its president. He now is a member of the Texas House Public Education Committee.
“I told people that this is the first time in five-and-a half years that the school districts are not suing us,” he said as he began his remarks. He joked about the Humble board waiting until he left the ISD and went to Austin before they joined in a former lawsuit.
Huberty explained the challenging impact of the recent Supreme Court decision that affirmed the state’s education funding system to be constitutional.
“One of the things the Supreme Court said was that even though the system was constitutional, it’s still broken and we have a problem, a big problem,” said Huberty.
He explained that an even bigger problem is a divided legislative body in Austin.
“On one side we have a Senate with one position on how to fix the school system and on the other, a House with a different position. I am not going to speak about what the Senate is planning, but I can tell you what the House is doing,” Huberty said.
He explained the education committee held multiple hearings during the past summer.
“The last one was on school choice and the one before that was a joint hearing with the house appropriations committee specifically about public education and the funding formulas associated with it,” said Huberty.
He explained how the various funding methods created to meet immediate needs as they come up are a major cause of the systemic problems in public education.
“The funding formulas that have been created over the years have just been Band Aids on top of Band Aids and have never really fixed the system,” said Huberty. He compared it to the various pieces of a puzzle, all handled differently and never completely put together correctly to solve the puzzle. The result is a broken system.
“Many of us believe we have to fix the system that currently exists,” he said, and explained to do so will require fixing the entire allotment method of distribution of state funds to the school districts. He described the situation using the example of Humble ISD, a district with a growing residential population, which is good, but without the big tax-base revenue sources say is necessary to generate proportional revenue growth. Those sources are mostly valuable taxable assets such as the refineries, factories and multimillion-dollar office buildings located outside of the district where the children live and go to school. The Band Aids of the past, including allotting specific sources of revenue from outside of these districts, are now inadequate to meet the growing needs of too many school districts.
“These are the issues we are going to try to tackle in the legislative session. There are other major issues, including school choice and changing/updating special education resources, but Joe Straus, our speaker of the house, has made fixing the funding issues the priority. I encourage you to get your plans together with other school districts to strongly represent your position when you come up to the legislature. If we could just get everybody on the same page, we could fix it. Unfortunately, you have big school districts, suburban school districts, rural school districts and mid-cap districts and they all want something different. It is going to be a challenge,” said Huberty.
School board meetings are normally held at 7 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month at the Humble ISD Administration Building, 20200 Eastway Village Dr. They are open to the public and agendas are posted on the district website humbleisd.net.