State Rep. Reggie Smith met with a group of superintendents from Grayson County school districts in Austin last week.
The group traveled to Austin to tell the District 62 representative about challenges their districts face. Smith said he enjoyed meeting with the superintendents.
“We discussed school finance reform and the challenges that our public schools face, as well as how schools serve as the center of our communities,” Smith said via email. “I have encouraged them to share their thoughts with me on any education-related legislation and look forward to using them as an invaluable resource.”
Denison Independent School District Superintendent Henry Scott said he was impressed Smith was willing to meet the group of superintendents.
“We discussed school finance and the direction it was going,” Scott said. “One of the things thrown out there was a $5,000 raise for teachers. The question is going to be if you give teachers a raise, where is the money going to come from to pay for all the support staff?”
Scott also said other issues discussed included charter schools and the impact they have on rural districts. He also said the issue of accountability continues to be a hot button issue for districts.
“Reggie seemed to be very knowledgeable about the issues we’re facing, especially those facing rural areas,” Scott said.
Whitewright Independent School District Superintendent Steve Arthur said Smith welcomed an open line of communication.
“The topic I was most interested in making Rep. Smith aware is Frontier Education Foundation recently filed an application for a charter school in Whitewright ISD about five miles from our campuses,” Arthur said. “I wanted to make him aware of the impact it would have on our schools in particular and the surrounding schools.”
Sherman Independent School District Superintendent David Hicks agreed Smith was very accommodating.
“He was absolutely responsive to our comments,” Hicks said. “He is a great supporter of education and a champion for the citizens in his district. I know he is looking forward to a great session representing the citizens here. We talked about how he can advocate for the children in his district as well as public school children and teachers across the state.”
Hicks said his priority was to get across the importance of local control, accountability and how the state can support local schools.
S&S Consolidated Independent School District Superintendent Roger Reed said the No. 1 issue facing districts right now is school finance.
“We are optimistic there will be some positive outcomes from this legislative session,” Reed said. “It sounds like everything is starting out positively.
Reed echoed the sentiment other superintendents shared in stating Smith encouraged them to reach out any time.
Among the 10 school district administrators who met with Smith were also Van Alstyne Superintendent Independent School District David Brown, Van Alstyne ISD Assistant Superintendent Ryan Coleman, Bells Independent School District Superintendent Joe Moore, Tom Bean Independent School District Superintendent Kelly Lusk, Howe Independent School District Superintendent Kevin Wilson and Pottsboro Independent School District Superintendent Kevin Mathews.