Summit brings educators, legislators together
Longview ISD hosted an education summit on July 13 at the Mickey Melton Center at Longview High School, bringing together school district leaders and our Texas Legislators to develop a shared understanding to ensure equity and excellence for each Texas educator and student.
Dr. James Wilcox, Superintendent of Longview ISD, said the event provided an opportunity for school district leaders "to have a rich dialogue about what solutions they see for addressing public education funding for Texas schools, educators and students."
"Ultimately, these discussions provided insight to our legislators about where Texas school funding really stands," he said.
During his remarks to those in attendance Wilcox said one of the main goals was to encourage dialogue and allow both sides to understand the other's perspective.
"Were doing this to try to help you understand more about school funding," he said. "We know we’re not going to be able to do everything we ask, we just ask you listen with an open mind and just try to do what is best for the future of Texas, that is the only reason we’re here."
Representative-Elect Jay Dean and Representative Gary VanDeaver launched the idea of the summit.
“This whole summit is about readying our ship for the challenges ahead,” said VanDeaver. “We have some great experts lined up to speak to us today. I think we have a good formula here to really do something and do something that matters for the kids of this state.”
Dean and VanDeaver launched the idea and convened a group of 12 other elected officials to listen to the education leadership’s vision for our schools and to develop recommendations about how our elected officials can best support and represent our schools when session starts.
"Obviously we're all on the same side," said Dean. "We all want to do what's best for the public, who we serve. So open lines of communication and dialogue are a priority for all of us in what we're trying to do."
Included on the expert panel was Daniel Casey of Moak, Casey & Associates, Catherine Clark from the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), Tom Luek of Huckabee & Associates, Inc., Wayne Pierce, Ed.D, Executive Director of Equity Center, and Scott Milder, Founder and CEO, Friends of Texas Public Schools.
Other government officials in attendance included Rep. Matt Schaefer, Rep. Byron Cook, Rep. Chris Paddie, Rep. Travis Clardy, Representative-Elect Ernest Bailes, Rep. Dade Phelan, Rep. Trent Ashby, Senator-Elect Bryan Hughes, Sen. Robert Nichols, and Dr. Kevin M. Ellis, State Board of Education-Elect.
The presentations consisted of topics on how Texas public school funding works and how students get different funding. Other presentations included: "Fixing the System/ Without a Wrecking Ball," "How Funding for Texas Public School Construction Works," and "Great Things Are Happening in Texas Public Schools!"
The event was very optimistic, said Daniel Casey, Partner at Moak, Casey & Associates. “I think the representatives will be able to relate more with their schools and representatives now that they have some insight and understanding.”
It is very unusual for elected officials to give this kind of time for educators,” Executive Director of Equity Center Wayne Pierce said. “It was a remarkable event on several levels.”