Valley leaders reflect on struggles and improvements in education field
A panel of three leaders met Tuesday in Edinburg for the State of Education Conference.
Edinburg CISD Superintendent Mario Salinas, UTRGV President Guy Bailey and Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa - a member of the Standing Committee for Education – attended the conference to discuss advancements, struggles, and plans in education.
Salinas and Bailey cited success in maintaining and increasing enrollment at their schools.
“Our enrollment went up far more than we had projected during the pandemic,” Bailey said.
Salinas said enrollment increased by about 1,000 students in the Edinburg school district, and they anticipate continued growth.
Bailey also addressed learning losses caused by virtual learning during the pandemic.
“The GPAs of our freshman during the pandemic year — the 2021 year — the lowest they've ever been,” Bailey said. “Now they went back up after that as we started doing more face-to-face things.”
Salinas said Edinburg CISD still faces 30 teacher vacancies that will likely remain unfilled by the first day of classes.
“If there's any other schools out there that maybe they're fully staffed, but don’t have the student enrollment, we may have to reassign teachers," Salinas said.
Sen. Hinojosa said the state is expecting a surplus of about $36 billion in the next legislative session with plans to prioritize school funding.
“I think it's important that we look at increasing [teacher’s] salaries,” Hinojosa said. “For our teachers, we need to provide them a better health system to help them pay for their health-related costs."