Continued funding needed for opportunities


This was the general impression my friends and I had when we walked into Kerr at the beginning of the year. We were amazed at how everything seemed to just open up over our heads. All the equipment. The clubs. The after-school programs. The field trips, the distance-learning classes, the college fairs, the sheer access we had to opportunities. In middle school, funding was a constant issue that got in the way of everything. At Kerr, in contrast, people seemed to get things with a snap of their fingers. So this, we thought, was where all the funding had been going!

There can be no denying that access costs money. Now, however, state legislators are considering reducing school funding in order to curb the budget. Such reductions may mean that Alief will lose funding, and that some of the things that made Kerr so amazing will be lost. This would be a sad thing indeed, because we receive opportunities through school that we wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise.

As I mentioned, the district pays for many things to supplement our educations. Those include distance-learning classes, late-activity buses, field trips, after-school activities and tutoring, research databases and class websites. Funding buys equipment for fitness and technology programs. It buys up-to-date textbooks, good computers, internet access and protection. All of which, I think, we don’t want to lose.

An additional point of concern is the fact that many of us wouldn’t be able to access all these things if it weren’t for the fact that Alief pays for it. We shy away from things when payment is involved. According to the Houston Association of Realtors, 78.5% of Alief students are “economically disadvantaged.” At Kerr, 55.8% of students are considered disadvantaged. Unlike some other places, many of us students can’t pay for individual tutoring or virtual classes. Our parents are often too busy to drive us home after school, and our computers and printers can be in questionable condition, especially when major projects are due. In other words: we need funding, or else we run the risk of losing touch and falling behind.

We are, however, not entirely helpless. The budget cuts have only been proposed—not enacted. This means that we as students still have time to voice our opinions. The important thing is to voice them to the right people: our legislators. If we really want to keep our funding, we need to tell our senators and representatives, and make sure that they understand exactly how important it is to us. We as students have the right to voice our opinions, after all, but what is the use of having that right if we do not exercise it?  If we have convictions, we need to make them heard. According to interventionist Eugene Miller, even a phone call can help get your opinion across. The more you work to communicate, however, the more likely it is that they will listen. What doesn’t help is saying nothing, and then complaining about changes after it is too late.

So find the right people and bug them repeatedly. If we want to continue having an enriched Kerr experience, we need that funding.

To contact legislators who represent this area:

Joan Huffman, State Senator (Senate District 17)

6217 Edloe
Houston TX 77005
Phone: (713) 662-3821

Glenn Hugar, State Senator (Senate District 18)

P.O. Box 1008
Katy TX 77492
Phone: (281) 391-8883

Hubert Vo, State Representative (House District 179)

7474 South Kirkwood, Suite 106
Houston TX 77072
Phone: (281) 988-0212