State Board of Education members met before Thanksgiving and identified five legislative priorities for the Texas Legislature including: allocating necessary funds to cover the cost of the instructional materials; repealing the 15 percent requirement; re-naming the minimum graduation program to the standard graduation program; increasing the number of charter schools by 10, but enhancing TEA’s ability to close poor-performing schools; and restoring funding to the Foundation School Program.
The School Finance Lawsuit continues. In its 6th week, the suit is expected to be completed in January. Regardless of the outcome, appeals will be filed all the way to the Texas Supreme Court. It is likely to be late 2013 or early 2014 before the Texas Legislature will begin to develop a new finance system for Texas schools.
Lt. Governor David Dewhurst this week proposed using $1 billion from the Rainy Day Fund, which is projected to reach $8 billion by the end of the year, to create a new water infrastructure development bank to help cities and other municipalities build reservoirs. Focusing on the major challenges surrounding Texas’ brisk population growth, the lieutenant governor also said it might make sense to develop a similar bank for highway construction projects.
Texas tied for the third highest high school graduation rate in the country for all students and ranks number one in graduation rates for Asian and white students, according to preliminary data released by the U.S. Department of Education. The state-by-state comparison is available on the U.S. Department of Education website at http://www2.ed.gov/documents/press-releases/state-2010-11-graduation-rate-data.pdf.