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Central Texas school districts prepare legislative priorities list

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HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) – Monday night, three local school boards will discuss what they want from lawmakers. The Texas Legislative session begins in just two months.

It comes at a critical time when many schools are trying to bounce back from the pandemic and parents are demanding better school security and mental health services.

Hays CISD junior Alyssa Jones is just one of many students focusing on her mental well-being after a few challenging years.

“Following the COVID-19 pandemic and shootings in schools in places as close to us as Uvalde… that kind of impacted students. Made them anxious to even go to school where they’re supposed to feel safe,” Jones said.

Mental health is an area where both Jones and Hays CISD would like to see more state funding.

“Having those mental health resources, having access to counselors… improvement to those services, as well as additional new ones,” Jones said.

Hays CISD listed increased spending on mental health as one of its top ten legislative priorities. Along with that, several Central Texas schools would also like to see improvements to school safety as well as increasing how much money districts receive per student.

Right now that’s $6,160. They want that raised to keep up with inflation.

Once finalized, the lists will be sent to lawmakers for consideration on funding and policy recommendations.

For Jones, there’s one more thing she’d like to see on the list: addressing opioid addiction.

It’s something that’s hit her Hays CISD community close to home after losing four students this year to Fentanyl overdoses.

“If we had some sort of, you know, like hotline where students who were struggling with drug addiction could call in, maybe be able to meet with some sort of counselor or therapist, would help to work them through that,” Jones said.

The 88th Texas Legislature begins Jan. 10.

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