The Joint Select Committee on School Finance met this week and reviewed alternative sources of funding for public education. Sen. Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, proposed consideration of a statewide property tax to fund public schools. Talmadge Heflin of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank, proposed completely eliminating the property tax and expanding the sales tax to fund public education. Dick Lavine of the Center for Public Policy Priorities (CPPP) recommended a tax on sugary beverages and consideration of an increase in the tax on beer. This tax hasn’t been raised since 1984. The CPPP also supports a state income tax.
According to a report issued by advocacy organization Children at Risk, despite an average increase of 83,000 students statewide in each of the last four years, districts eliminated more than 10,000 teaching positions last year. That came as about a third of districts dipped into their emergency fund balances in 2011-2012 to compensate for state shortfalls. Below you will find an article about the report and a link to the complete report.
The Texas Education Agency is teaming up with the Region 11 Education Service Center in Fort Worth and the Texas Charter Schools Association to create an extensive support system for the state’s charter schools. The three entities have formed the Texas Charter School Technical Assistance Network. The goal of the partnership is to bring more training and technical support to charters, working together to help the schools get set up and maintained properly so that charter school officials can focus their energies on academics and innovative education approaches.
The newly identified High Performance Schools Consortium is expected to have its first meeting in October. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) announced last week that 23 school districts have been invited to participate in the Consortium, which will help develop innovative, next-generation learning standards, assessments and accountability systems. Members will have to move quickly on their homework. An initial report is due to the governor and Legislature by Dec. 1.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
The Senate Education Committee will meet at 9 a.m. on Monday, October 8, to hear testimony on interim charge: to study the growing demand for virtual schools in Texas. Review the benefits of virtual schools, related successes in other states, and needed changes to remove barriers to virtual schools.
The Senate Committee on Education will meet at Noon or upon adjournment of Joint hearing of Senate Education and Senate Criminal Justice, on October 30th to hear testimony on the following charge: to monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate Committee on Education, 82nd Legislature, and make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance, and/or complete implementation. Specifically: SB 6, relating to the establishment of the instructional materials allotment; SB 8, relating to the flexibility of the board of trustees of a school district in the management and operation of public schools; HB 1942, relating to bullying in public schools; the implementation of legislation related to the state’s accountability system and other reforms enacted by HB 3, 81st Legislature, and SB 1031, 80th Legislature, Regular Session.
Early voting begins October 22nd and ends November 2nd.
Election day is November 6th.