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Town hall set to bridge gap between school administrators, TEA and community

Representatives James White and Joe Deshotel both plan to be part of the virtual town hall meeting to give Texans a chance to listen and ask questions

As the clock ticks down on the start of another school year, state representatives James White and Joe Deshotel are continuing to advocate for the needs of their constituents. 

In White's case, that would be internet access and clear guidance from the state. 

"We're dealing with a virus that's mutating, that's changing by the minute right so there might be some opportunities where we might have to make some changes," White said. 

Representative Deshotel believes that superintendents are in a tough position after the Texas Education Agency announced schools could risk losing funding if they shut down campuses completely due to orders issued by local health leaders. 

"They should not be penalized by loss of funding because they are trying to save lives of teachers and staff. So I think we need to give them wide latitude," Deshotel said.

RELATED: Local governments don't have legal right to stop schools from reopening, Texas AG Ken Paxton says

RELATED: State representative says work is underway to get internet access to children in rural areas of East Texas

Both of them are participating in a town hall next week put on by the Texas Legislative Back Caucus. Superintendents from local districts will be invited to join, along with TEA representatives. 

It's a move that is trying to help bridge the gap between the community and policy makers. 

"We wanna provide this platform for all of our parents and tax payers and students to get on this call and listen and even engage and ask questions," White said. 

Port Neches-Groves ISD, which is located in Deshotel's district, is one of the few districts not offering virtual learning. He believes it's a mistake. 

"For the district not have some backup way to support these kids, support these families I don't really understand that," Deshotel said. 

With a school year expected to be full of challenges, White says communication is more important than ever. 

"We're gonna continue to encourage our staff and teachers to continue talking with us and asking those constructive questions," White said. 

The virtual town hall will be held Monday, August 3 from 6 p.m to 7:30 p.m. on the Texas Legislative Black Caucus Facebook page. You can register here. 

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