ECISD advocates for funding, residencies

Apr. 6—Multiple members of Ector County ISD have been testifying before the Texas Legislature in the last couple of weeks about funding and a teacher residency program.

A bill, House Bill 11, that has teacher residency embedded in it was filed by Rep. Harold Dutton, D-Houston.

"Yesterday we spoke directly to House Bill 11 which contains a lot of opportunity for teachers — everything from increasing the Teacher Incentive Allotment, which would require more funding, to developing a fully paid teacher residency model between school districts, colleges and universities. So again, that funding would be required to continue to develop that," ECISD Superintendent Scott Muri said during his media call Wednesday.

They discussed funding for technical assistance so districts can develop teacher pipelines and pathways to encourage more people to enter the profession. But also funding for the basic allotment ECISD receives as a district.

It's a certain amount of money for the students the district serves. They get a little over $6,100. Muri said they have not seen an increase in the basic allotment in about four years, although costs have significantly increased in the last four years.

"The last area that we talked about is safety. The state is very interested in ensuring that our schools are safe for both students and staff members, but that safety is going to require some dollars and so advocating for more dollars invested in the safety and security of our students and staff members," Muri said.

"What we're advocating for is local flexibility. We have rural, urban and suburban school districts and a solution for one may not be a solution for another, so our efforts are to advocate for dollars that would support safety," Muri said.

Currently, the state of Texas provides $9.72 for every student served, Muri said.

"That is safety money. ... That $9.72 is all that we currently receive from the state of Texas to support the safety of our children so we're advocating that that $9.72 be bumped up to $100 per student so that every district in Texas can receive an appropriate amount of funding to allow us to do the work that we need to do locally to keep our students and staff members safe," Muri said.

About 55 educators from around the state and staff from the Texas Education Agency visited ECISD Wednesday because of the work the district is doing in data driven instruction and instructional practices and strategies.

"... We've seen significant improvement in our organization because our teachers and leaders are having important conversations about children and data and then using that information and those conversations to make ... teaching and learning decisions. Today, the group that was here was watching that happen," Muri said.

He added that they are trying to make sure local legislators understand the critical nature of investing in public education.

For every $1 Texans invests in children's education the return on that investment is $56.76, Muri said.

"That's quite a return and certainly supports the investments that we continue to make in public education," he added.

On a separate item, Muri said Friday is a holiday, but Monday is a bad weather make-up day, so school will be in session.

On Thursday, Muri and other educators will participate in a leadership summit put on by the Permian Strategic Partnership and Education Partnership of the Permian Basin.

"We are going to talk a little bit about CTE (Career and Technical Education). There is a new pathway that has been developed and the PSP has been part of that development. It focuses on energy. The large portion of tomorrow (April 6) is focused on human capital" and helping the Permian Basin, including West Texas and Eastern New Mexico develop strategies that will allow districts to recruit, attract and retain the "very best teachers for the students that we all serve," Muri said.