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Gregory Portland Independent School District selected to first of its kind state advocacy program

The program aims at giving the district the tools they need to help advocate education priorities to state lawmakers.

PORTLAND, Texas — The Gregory-Portland Independent School District has been selected to take part in a new program called the Trustee Advocacy Program through Raise Your Hand Texas.

The non profit was created by HEB chairman Charles Butt with a goal of improving public education for the 21st century.

G-PISD is one of nine boards selected to take part in the program that aims to give district leaders the tools they need to influence what lawmakers make their priorities when it comes to the state education policy. 

"There are some special needs we have here in Texas especially in the Portland area," G-PISD Board President Victor Hernandez said. "We want to make sure they are aware of that what they do up there can impact our small community."

Hernandez also voiced his excitement to be a part of the Raise Your Hand Texas foundation.

"To be chosen for this honor, really excited to join Raise Your Hand Texas," Hernandez said.

With more industry in the area, G-PISD is considered a wealthy school district, something Hernandez said comes with positives and negatives.

"More revenue is great, but also means that some of this money is going back to the state," Hernandez said. "Keep as much as possible and there is a need to hold onto some of those funds from this tax area to use for the students." 

G-PISD Superintendent Michelle Cavazos said that their district, along with many others set their priorities that they want to focus on.

Some of the priorities the district has already identified are finances, academics, the teacher retirement system and even charter schools. 

"Looked at the priorities around Chapter 313 agreements, recapture and equalizing funding across the state," Cavazos said. "Another is ensuring charter schools are held to the same standards reporting requirements as public school systems."

The board members said they are looking forward to the next 18 months of the program in order to build their skill set while advocating for bigger outcomes for students and the community.

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