Earlier this week, e-mails circulated to Mission Consolidated Independent School district program directors for activities like Future Farmers of America, DECA, Business Professionals of America and Health Occupation Students of America groups that reportedly stated funding for travel to compete this year was nonexistent. Students said they were told to quit practicing and studying because of the lack of funds to send them to compete.
Superintendent Dr. Cornelio Gonzalez said funding for the Career & Technology department, which funds the travel for these groups, was unexpectedly cut this week.
The surprising cut was due to fewer students taking these types of courses, he said. With a 10 percent less contact between students and teachers in these areas, the cut was made.
Gonzalez said on Wednesday that he wasn’t sure how much money was cut or which trips would be affected. But Gonzalez and board trustees told the dozens of students and parents who attended this week’s committee meetings that the students would compete.
District officials said they’d look at the budget and other possible sources to send students to their competitions this year.
“We are going to find money so you can go,” Gonzalez told the students.
Next year’s travel is another story. Trustees urged the students to realize how the budget cuts next year wouldn’t just affect their teachers, but now even their programs.
“Things are not going to be normal anymore,” said board Vice President Moises Iglesias, adding that next year, the organizations themselves might cut or condense competitions to address their own budget constraints.
Officials said next year the district will have to look at different fundraising options to pay for traveling.
Trustee Oscar Martinez urged parents to contact their local delegation to inform them of how budget cuts aren’t just affecting the district’s employees, but their students, as well.
“We know the kids have to go,” Gonzalez said of this year’s competitions. “We will make it happen. I don’t know how.”
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