Bailes: School districts in District 18 share common concerns

State Rep. Ernest Bailes addresses a group of educators at Devers ISD.

By State Rep. Ernest Bailes, District 18

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of traveling throughout House District 18 (Liberty, San Jacinto, and Walker counties) to visit each school district and hold round table meetings. During these legislative round tables, I sat down with school administrators, teachers, and school board members to discuss issues most important to their school district and community.

These round table meetings provided an opportunity to not only discuss the legislative process and issues at the forefront of our public education system in our rural school districts, but serve as a crucial opportunity for the educators in the room to express their thoughts and concerns on the issues they want to see addressed during the upcoming legislative session, which begins in January.

During each of my meetings with the school districts, a common thread of concerns was apparent: accountability, school finance, and Teacher Retirement System (TRS). These topics as well as several other issues of importance, such as school safety and the ever-tough challenge of hiring and retaining quality educators, were discussed. It is important to keep in mind that each school district is affected by these issues differently, and a one size fits all approach may not suit all our needs in House District 18.

I remain passionate about public education and dedicated to tackling tough issues to improve the quality of education for each and every student in the state. I am working diligently and collaborating with other rural state representatives and state senators to ensure that public education gets the attention that it needs.

As I continue to work with my fellow rural legislators, I believe there is a strong, mutual agreement that public education needs to be addressed and marked as a priority for this next legislative session. Rural communities throughout the state need to see education reform to relieve the stress on our local school districts, so our educators can focus more on our students and less on mandates trickled down from the state. This will be no easy task as we also look to tackle property tax and eminent domain reform, however we must not let education take a back seat.

I will continue to be a strong advocate for House District 18.  As always, please feel free to reach out to my office at district18.bailes@house.texas.gov or at 936-628-6687 to express your thoughts and concerns.

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