AUSTIN (Covering Katy News) – The first day of a Texas legislative session is always a special time for lawmakers, especially when they are beginning their first term in Austin. That was the case on Tuesday when Katy’s newest state representative Gina Calanni took the oath of office.
“It was a monumental occasion, I was blessed to have my boys and mom sit with me as I was sworn in,” Calanni wrote in a social media post.
Calanni (D-Katy) defeated one-term incumbent Mike Schofield (R-Katy) by just 113 votes. She holds the District 132 seat which includes portions of Katy and Cypress.
Her top priority is reforming how public schools are funded by the State of Texas. The current formula has consistently reduced total state funding to the Katy Independent School District even as the district is growing in size. Cypress and other school districts have experienced the same phenomenon.
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Over the past 4 years, the state of Texas has reduced funding to Katy ISD by $100 million even as the district is adding students at a rapid pace.
To put Katy’s growth in perspective, Katy ISD chief financial officer Christopher Smith told Covering Katy that the average school district size in Texas is about 5,000 students, and Katy adds about that number of students every two years.
“You’re adding basically a school district every two years,” Smith said of Katy’s growth.
Yet funding from the state is projected to decline for Katy and many other districts into the foreseeable future.
Calanni also campaigned on improving flood control. In a recently published report, Calanni expressed reservations about the proposed third west Houston area reservoir because of the amount of time it would take to build – if it ever gets approved. She supports enacting solutions that can be implemented more swiftly.
The reservoir would be built in her district if it was approved and constructed but it faces regulatory hurdles and opposition from the environmental community.
Calanni also says her priorities include promoting affordable access to health care and ending human trafficking.
“I’m honored to represent Texas House District 132 and will do my best to make you proud,” Calanni wrote.