School finance reform is top priority for Texas Legislature

AUSTIN, Texas (KTRK) -- Among the thousands at the Capitol on the first day of the 86th legislative session was a group of 50 HISD students from nine different high schools.

They were the guests of Houston attorney Carlos Doroteo, who organized the educational trip to Austin.

"I want them to get the exposure," Doroteo said, "To learn about what their government is doing and I think what a perfect opportunity on the first day of the session."

They are here at a good time when the focus is on how schools get funded, and among those with whom they met was HISD's governmental liaison, Ashlea Turner, who says these next 140 days are pivotal.

"You hear the governor, the lieutenant governor, the presumed speaker, and legislators talking about the need to fix school finance," Turner said. "And we couldn't be happier."

Just last week, Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted, "What a joke. HISD leadership is a disaster. Their self-centered ineptitude has failed the children they are supposed to educate."

Sterling High School senior Heather Coleman, one of the students on the trip, doesn't like the idea of the state taking control of HISD and replacing its board.

"Those are the people that helped us build up HISD where we are now, and they could be fired because some schools are not meeting the requirements," Coleman said. "No, I don't (like the idea). "

There could be legislation that changes the structure of HISD's board, in addition to a revamping of the way the district and every other in the state gets funded.

Quite a lesson in education for these Houston high school students.

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