East Parker Chamber approves resolution to HB 3

From left are Shawn Callaway, of the Aledo ISD Education Foundation and East Parker County Chamber board member; Susan Bohn,  Aledo ISD superintendent; Forrest Collins, Aledo ISD trustee; and Kelli Stumbo, with the East Parker County Chamber governmental affairs.

The East Parker County Chamber Board of Directors May 22 approved a resolution in support of a version of House Bill 3 that contains property tax relief as well as flexible school funding based on prior-year values that is not tied to performance on the STAAR test.

Kelli Stumbo, member of the East Parker County Chamber Governmental Affairs Committee, Shawn Callaway, Aledo ISD Education Foundation, and Aledo ISD officials took a trip to Austin to talk to State Rep. Phil King and Sen. Pat Fallon about HB3.

"After consulting with local construction companies, there is a collective belief that not enough emphasis is being focused on training students in the trade industry and too much emphasis is being spent on passing a test in our schools," East Parker County Chamber President and CEO Lisa Flowers said. "The trade industry is what makes the economy click. Due to the high demand and economic boom in the industry, there are thousands of jobs available but not enough skilled laborers. 

"As my husband always says, 'A man that can work with his hands, is a man that will never go hungry.' By supporting HB3, our teachers can focus on educating our future business leaders of the community."

The East Parker County Chamber Board Resolution reads as follows:

"Whereas, the East Parker County Chamber of Commerce (hereinafter EPCC) represents more than 2500 businesses and 6500 employees in East Parker County, and

Whereas, the EPCC recognizes the need for property tax reform that provides tax relief for the residents of Texas and a more transparent system, and 

Whereas, EPCC continues to recognize Aledo Independent School District (hereinafter AISD) as a main economic driver in Parker County. AISD through the years has continued to meet the changing needs of the community, placing deliberate focus on personalized instruction tailored to meet each students individual needs, while being ranked one of the top school districts in Texas, with continued emphasis on educating the whole child, and

Whereas, in order for school districts to provide for the needs of its student the districts need to continue to have flexible funding which allows the local school boards to make the best decisions for their community, and

Whereas, public school funding needs to remain based on prior year values. This provides a safeguard for school districts, enabling them to accommodate for enrollment fluctuations and prepare the budget for the upcoming year. Moving to current year values would force the districts to budget with arbitrary numbers, which would be to the detriment of the students, and

Whereas, EPCC opposes the current structure of the STAAR test as well as adding an additional writing component. Intertwining the school and accountability systems punishes students and schools already lacking in resources, heightens student anxiety and further pressures teachers to "teach the test," and

Whereas, it is the district's responsibility to cultivate wellrounded students to prepare to enter college or the workforce. By adding additional components and tying funding to test performance schools will be forced to divert attention and resources from other classroom needs, and

Now therefore, be it resolved that the Board of the Directors of the East Parker County Chamber of Commerce are in support of a version of HB3 that contains property tax relief and flexible school funding based on prior year values that is not tied to performance on the STAAR test."

The resolution was signed by Flowers and Chairman of the Board Craig Bagley.