A Message from Katy ISD Superintendent, Ken Gregorski

Dear Katy ISD Staff and Community,

You may recall that when the 88th Texas Legislative Session commenced this past January, our state elected officials declared that supporting school district efforts to recruit and retain highly qualified teachers would be a top priority.  In fact, Governor Abbott charged the Texas Education Agency with developing a Teacher Vacancy Task Force to recommend such policy by the conclusion of the session. Right alongside that very important objective, was school safety. If recent tragedies have taught our state anything, it is that being prepared and equipped for the unimaginable, is of the utmost importance for our school communities.

However, the 88th Texas Legislature will soon come to an end on May 29th, and to date, not a single meaningful bill supporting teachers, school safety, nor the stagnant per student Basic Allotment, has been sent to the governor for signature. Unfortunately, instead of addressing issues of teacher shortages, safety, and school finance, our Texas Legislature has been hyper focused on passing education savings accounts, aka “vouchers” to fund private schools in Texas. As a result, public education bills have stalled, or simply put, been held hostage while these latter concerns are negotiated.

The Basic Allotment, which is the primary source of school funding that is also used to fund teacher raises, has remained at $6,160 per student since 2019. This is even whilst inflation has skyrocketed, and the state has a $33 billion dollar surplus. Katy ISD teachers are the heart of our students’ success. The district cannot effectively take care of our teachers and staff when the state is more interested in passing policy that will send public funds to private schools.

As superintendent of Katy ISD, I have been through three legislative sessions, though have not once felt the need to send our school community a letter about state politics, until now. With six days left in the 88th Legislative Session, and no bills passed to address teacher shortages and compensation, safety, and school finance, Texas school districts are at a disadvantage. And please know that my voice on this matter is not an indictment of our Texas House and Senate.  But actions, and in this case, the lack thereof, speak volumes. Adequately funding public schools, taking care of teachers, and keeping our schools safe no longer seem to be a top priority for our state legislature, as evidenced by the lack of such bills having passed this session.

I encourage our community to reach out to your elected official in the House and Senate. Ask them to prioritize the issues they said they care about.  Our Katy ISD students deserve nothing less.

Ken Gregorski, Ed.D.