Taxpayers, parents, students and educators in three local school districts attended a rally Thursday, Feb. 7 in support of the state’s children asking lawmakers to Make Education A Priority by adequately funding public schools. Carroll, Grapevine-Colleyville and Keller Independent School Districts joined together to organize the event. View the photo slideshow below.
Approximately 1,500 people attended the rally which was held inside the Grapevine High School gym. The rally was free and open to the public. Special T-shirts were sold for $10 with proceeds going to pay for the shirt and the cost of the rally.
“We really want to encourage people to get involved, to find out what’s going on in their district,” Carroll ISD Superintendent Dr. David Faltys said.
Officials from the three districts organizing the event hope this will be the first of more rallies held in regions all across the Lone Star State as the 83rd Texas Legislature continues to meet to consider the state’s budget. Rallies are already scheduled in Mansfield ISD, Burkburnett ISD and several in the Austin area.
Faltys added, “We want people involved because it’s their kids, their schools, their education.”
Carroll ISD Trustees, administrators, parents and students as well as community members attended the event. Local media included the Star-Telegram and CBS 11 covered the event. A press release issued by CISD is available by clicking here.
Carroll School Board President Read Ballew noted the importance of making lawmakers aware of the impact of cuts to public schools. Texas students and teachers have already felt the impact of $5.4 billion less in state funding as a result of legislative cuts.
Ballew said, “It really lets them know that there’s a tremendous amount of support for education and that’s really the fundamental message of the entire event.”
Also in attendance were, Texas Senator Wendy Davis, who represents District 10. Davis Tweeted supportive messages about the rally and public education throughout the evening. An aide to Representative Giovanni Capriglione, who serves House District 98 also attended. Capriglione, a Southlake resident and CISD parent was in Austin the night of the rally.
Rally organizers say they hope to send a clear message to lawmakers by rallying constituents to get educated about school finance, show their pride in Texas public schools and actively engage their local lawmakers. Members of the audience were encouraged to tweet during the rally, messages using the hashtag #supportTXschools were displayed on large screens to the crowd throughout the event.
Guests were treated to performances by talented students. The Carroll Drum Line joined drum lines from fellow districts to begin the rally. Carroll Senior High student Greg Stringfellow led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance and Texas Pledge. Carroll ISD classmates also took part in a student dramatization with students from other participating districts.
Event speakers included network sports reporter Lewis Johnson. Johnson is a taxpayer and parent in Grapevine-Colleyville ISD. Frank Bliss of Southlake Town Square and Nika Maples, 2007 Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year from Keller ISD also talked about the importance of public education. Colleen Monroe, a Carroll ISD parent spoke at the event.
“We all need to stay involved and stay informed and be advocates for public education.” Monroe said the purpose of the rally was to let legislators know that deeper cuts can’t happen. “We want to make sure that they know to make education a priority and not to cut our budget.”
A rally website is available online, www.supportTXschools.com. The site is under development and will serve as a resource for the general public to learn more about their local school budgets and how they can get involved in the discussion of funding of public education.