Saving the Alliance Schools
Since 2000, the rate of students passing the TAAS test in Alliance Schools has increased at nearly double the statewide pace. "This money helps support a process that helps teachers, parents, and principals work together," said Ofelia Zapata, co-chair of Austin Interfaith, the local IAF chapter. "I know how important this is. The Alliance Schools have helped me learn what my role is in my children's education."
Last week -- even as bills were being filed to direct state funding to private schools via vouchers -- IAF leaders got word that House education budget writers had zeroed out the Alliance Schools. Parents from around the state showed up on Friday to protest the cut. The education-funding subcommittee agreed to restore $4.9 million of the funds -- still only one-third of what was provided this year. The IAF continues to lobby for Alliance School funding to be cut by only 12.5%, the amount recommended for across-the-board cuts by the Texas Education Agency. "A lot of representatives are publicly supporting of us," says Zapata, who testified at the hearing. "I hope the rest will come around. This is the only money that goes towards training parents to be leaders in the schools."