School Funding

   December 13, 2018
  

Will school finance commission recommend more state education funding?

That question remained unanswered as the study panel prepared to complete work on its report to the Legislature next week, Dec. 19. One member, Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, who also chairs the House Public Education Committee, was adamant that the panel recommend that lawmakers increase funding for public schools. “I would not be willing to sign a report that doesn’t say that we’re going to spend more money or new money on public education,” he said. But Chairman Scott Brister, an appointee of Gov. Greg Abbott, said he was “uncomfortable…telling the Legislature they have to inject new money.”

The commission on Tuesday discussed a draft report that would provide school property tax relief, establish a teacher “merit pay” option for districts and earmark funds for specific programs, often based on performance. But the preliminary report didn’t include a recommendation for an overall spending increase.

Gov. Abbott already has proposed strict, new limits on school property taxes but has not proposed a plan for replacing that revenue with more state funding.

Regardless of the commission’s final recommendations, TSTA will continue to advocate for an overall increase in funding for public schools and an across-the-board increase in teacher pay. We believe the best way to provide relief from school property taxes is for the Legislature to increase state funding. 

Check TSTA’s website, tsta.org, and our Facebook page for the commission’s recommendations next week.

State panel suggests school finance overhaul 

Gov. Greg Abbott’s proposal would provide more tax relief than new school funding 

Austin ISD proposes closing 12 schools, among $55M in cuts 




Alvarado wins special Senate election in Houston;
Ed Austin candidate wins runoff


Rep. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston, beat Rep. Ana Hernandez and two other candidates to win the state Senate seat vacated by Sylvia Garcia, who was elected to Congress in the general election. TSTA did not make an endorsement in that race because both Alvarado and Hernandez are strong advocates for public education, students and educators.

In another special election this week, Arati Singh, an education program designer and evaluator, won a runoff for an at-large seat on the Austin ISD board. Singh was supported by Education Austin.




Apply by Jan. 15 for athletic grants for your middle or high school

These Thomas R. Brown Athletic Grants from California Casualty are worth $1,000 to $3,000. They can be used by athletic programs in need to purchase uniforms and sporting equipment. TSTA members who are athletic coaches, PE teachers or involved in ADAPTS programming at public middle and high schools are eligible to apply.


TSTA accepting entries for 2019 young artist contest through Jan. 30

This contest is open to all students in kindergarten through 12th grade attending Texas public schools. Its purpose is to showcase student talent; recognize students, parents and teachers; and display prize-winning creations at TSTA headquarters. Winners will be selected by delegates to the 2019 TSTA House of Delegates convention in Frisco April 26-27.

The top five winners will receive gift cards ranging in value from $50 to $200 and a certificate from TSTA and will have their work displayed at TSTA headquarters in Austin for one year. Here is more information on contest rules and how to enter. The entry deadline is Jan. 30.




TEA releases final 2018 accountability ratings

Check here for an overview or for a link to final ratings for specific districts and campuses. Remember, this is the first year districts were given letter grades under the new A-F grading system. Campuses are scheduled to begin receiving letter grades next year.



NEA urges Congress to put students ahead of politics

The National Education Association has gone on record in support of the Keep Our PACT Act, which has been introduced by U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland). The bill would create a 10-year mandatory glide path to fully fund both Title I and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. This could help ensure education is a priority in the federal budget.

“We urge Congress to put students, educators and working families ahead of politics and pass the Keep Our PACT Act because it provides opportunities to all students,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia.




TSTA offices will be closed, Dec. 20-Jan. 1

We wish everyone happy and safe holidays. Enjoy your well-deserved time off and your celebrations with friends and family. And recharge your batteries. Our offices will reopen on Jan. 2, six days before the Legislature convenes.
 


BLOGS

Is school finance study commission the real thing…or a charade? 

An open letter to Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education 




HEADLINES

Mystery donor fulfills more than $600,000 worth of Dallas-area teachers’ wishes in time for Christmas

National center awards UTEP $300K teacher training grant 

Robin Lock named interim dean of Texas Tech University’s College of Education 

Turner: City-backed nonprofit could seek to run 15 Houston ISD schools 

Richardson ISD’s student demographics have significantly changed. The makeup of its school board hasn’t. 

Controversial virtual school operator pivots to job training 

Texas school district’s enrollment drops after mass shooting 

These seven cities are focus of The City Fund, a big new education player 

Ed department to erase debts of teachers, fix troubled grant program 

20,000 more reasons to never go to a for-profit school 

Make America eat again:  Rolled-back school lunch rules put refined grains, low-fat chocolate milk back on menu 
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