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Desiree Venable
Texas House District 17






Additional Information

Candidate Survey Responses


1. If elected, what are your top priorities for public education?

Expanding funding for public schools and increasing wages for teachers, fighting for teachers to have the right to unionize without losing their benefits, reliable broadband expansion to rural schools and more equitable distribution of funds.

2. Voucher programs take many forms (tax credits, scholarships, education savings accounts, etc.) and are either universal or aimed at specific subpopulations (special education students, low-income students, students attending schools with poor A-F accountability ratings, etc.). Would you vote to create a voucher program of any type to pay for students to attend non-public K-12 schools, such as private or home schools?


3. In 2023, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill (HB) 3 requiring a number of new school safety measures. However, many believe the Legislature did not adequately increase funding to cover the cost of the mandates in HB 3 or other locally adopted school safety measures. How would you work to make schools safer and ensure such initiatives are properly funded?

I would work to make schools safer by increasing access to mental health resources for the children in the schools (as well as expanding mental health access to all community members outside the school system), working towards sufficient funding to keep security measures in good repair/upgraded, working with local law enforcement to put in place a program of response plans and training, and supporting common sense gun laws.

4. Despite a record-breaking surplus of $38 billion during the 2023 legislative session, school funding formulas were not increased to keep pace with inflation since they were last adjusted in 2019. Do you believe Texas public schools should receive additional funding? If so, how should the state pay for it?

Yes, the state could allocate more money for public education in the state budget, use the surplus mentioned above, create new taxable sources (such as legalizing marijuana), and advocate for additional federal funding/grants.

5. Texas has faced growing teacher shortages in recent years, with many schools hiring uncertified teachers to fill the gaps. How would you work to ensure Texas public schools have an adequate number of trained and certified teachers?

I would fight to increase wages and support legislation that would offer incentives to obtain their qualifications (or advanced certifications to specialize in a given area) by way of loan forgiveness programs or increased benefits.

6. Inadequate compensation hampers the recruitment and retention of high-quality educators. Do you support a state-funded across-the-board pay raise for all Texas educators?


7. The high cost of health insurance available to educators is a significant factor decreasing their take-home pay. How would you address the challenge of rising health care costs facing Texas educators and ensure access to affordable health care?

I would support legislation to increase teachers salaries and benefits, expand Medicaid, and advocate for additional funding for health centers, specifically in underserved communities.

8. What do you feel is the proper role of standardized testing in the Texas public education system? For instance, should student test scores be used as a metric in determining teacher pay, school accountability ratings, evaluating teachers, measuring student progress, etc.?

While there are some benefits of using standardized testing as a metric for these decisions, such as teacher accountability or identifying efficient educational methods, I believe there are more disadvantages, such as disincentivizing employment in challenging subjects/environments or a focus on teaching to test rather than a more broad and inclusive approach to education.

9. In your opinion, what is the proper balance between accommodating an individual parent’s or student’s wishes and the taxpaying community’s interest in directing and maintaining an optimal educational environment for the student population as a whole?

I think individual opinions absolutely have to be heard and taken into consideration, but ultimately they aren't the determining factor for decisions being made for the whole of the student body. If accommodating these wishes does not harm anyone or have a significant impact on the educational environment, then it should be accommodated. The more individuals that are behind the adjustment, the more weight the opinion should hold. In the end the, if the solution is not clear, the determining factor should be the decision that best protects and creates equal opportunity for everyone.

10. Do you believe the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) should be maintained as a traditional defined-benefit pension plan for all future, current, and retired educators, or do you support converting TRS to a defined-contribution structure that is more like a 401(k) plan, in which future benefits are not guaranteed?

Personally, I would prefer a traditional defined-benefit pension plan to guarantee I would receive them, however, this may be a situation where public/teacher polling is needed to determine what the majority would prefer.

11. State law allows educators and other public employees to voluntarily choose to join professional associations such as ATPE and have membership dues deducted from their paychecks at no cost to taxpayers. Do you support or oppose letting all public employees continue to exercise this right?

I support the ability to exercise this right, this is a personal financial decision.

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