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Posts Tagged ‘schools’

Where the education reform bills stand

As we know, the attempt to take a first stab at school finance reform did not make it to the House floor. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t some action on school-related issues. This Chron story from the weekend recapped a couple of the major bills that did make it through. Lawmakers likely could have killed […]

HISD mostly declines to rezone its schools

Lots of noise, not nearly as much action. A divided Houston school board on Thursday rejected most of the rezoning proposals designed to reduce class sizes after dozens of parents expressed concerns about families having to send their children to different campuses. Only two of the six proposals passed, with parents and board members in […]

Senate passes a voucher bill

Hopefully, this will die in the House. Some low-income families unhappy with their public schools would get help paying private school tuition under a plan that won tentative approval in the Texas Senate Monday. Senate Bill 4, which would use state tax credits to entice up to $100 million in business donations to fund a […]

Mostly positive reviews for the Aycock school finance plan

So far, so good. A plan from a top House lawmaker to overhaul the state’s public education funding system received largely favorable reviews from school districts during a marathon legislative hearing that ended late Tuesday night. “While this bill, some consider it not to be perfect, for us fortunately it is a significant step in […]

Fort Bend ISD

A lot going on over there. With a fifth-grader in Palmer Elementary School in Missouri City, Steve Brown has begun to think about where his son should attend middle school. The campus is just a two-minute drive from the current one but the change has him concerned. According to the latest accountability rating, the middle […]

La Marque ISD gets a stay

Not so fast. Galveston County’s La Marque ISD received a lifeline Wednesday when state Education Commissioner Michael Williams agreed to put the district’s closure on hold. Williams said he would not shut down the district in July, as he had previously ordered, but would wait to make a final decision until the Texas Education Agency […]

Here comes the school finance bill

It’s a big deal. The House education chairman on Tuesday unveiled a $3 billion proposal he hopes will overhaul the way Texas funds public schools and derail a looming lawsuit in the process. “My objective when I began this was to simplify the situation that we’re in,” Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, said before providing […]

Budget passes House as most amendments get pulled

It was a long day in the House on Tuesday and Wednesday but not a terribly bloody one as many of the budget amendments and riders that had been queued up got withdrawn. A brief recap of the action: Border “security”: House Democrats tried — and mostly failed — to divert funds allotted for border […]

Let the budgetary games begin

The House takes up the budget today, with over 300 amendments and riders queued up for votes. A couple of things to watch for as the debate goes on: Killing vouchers. Lawmakers in the Texas House will have a chance to draw a line in the sand over private school vouchers during the upcoming battle […]

House will address school finance

Good. With a plan that would add $3 billion to the state’s public education budget, the Texas House has decided to take on school finance reform this legislative session. As he announced a deal Wednesday that would put $800 million on top of the $2.2 billion the chamber had already allocated to public schools, Public […]

HISD postpones redrawing school boundaries

This stuff is hard, y’all. The school board [had planned] to vote Thursday on the district’s biggest rezoning plan in recent years, involving more than two dozen campuses. The proposal mostly would redraw attendance boundaries to shift homes from more crowded schools to campuses with space. The major impact may not be immediate, however. As […]

More pre-K bills filed

The Observer has the best reporting on the latest pre-k bills that have been filed in the Lege. There’s widespread support around the Capitol for more state spending on pre-kindergarten programs, and much less agreement about how to do it. State Reps. Eric Johnson (D-Dallas) and Marsha Farney (R-Georgetown) have proposed a $300-million-a-year plan to […]

Judge Dietz would like the Lege to please fix school finance already

So would the rest of us, Your Honor. In his first major appearance since finding the Texas school finance system unconstitutional in 2014, state District Judge John Dietz said Sunday that a solution to the state’s unequal and ineffective public education system should come from the Legislature. “We are dooming a generation of these children […]

Tax cuts >>> public education

Well, what did you expect? Senate budget writers have enjoyed praise from conservatives for their focus on tax cuts, but they’re about to get an earful from educators who think their promises could cost Texas public school students. The starting budgets of the state House and Senate, released last month, are similar on many fronts, […]

HISD considers a different kind of redistricting

It would likely be just as contentious as the usual kind. Houston school officials may rezone students from roughly two dozen elementary schools over the next few years in an effort to meet the state’s class size limits. District officials presented a proposal to the school board Thursday morning. It would be the largest redrawing […]

School finance case timeline announced

Mark “later this year” on your calendars. The Texas Supreme Court will hear the state’s appeal of last year’s far-reaching school finance decision later this year under a timetable laid out by the high court on Friday. Justices gave the state 80 days to file their briefs in the case and the plaintiff school districts […]

Aycock files school finance reform bill

Interesting. A key House Republican said Texas lawmakers should not wait for the outcome of a sprawling school finance lawsuit to discuss changes to the state’s current public education funding system. “While we do not know the final outcome of the school finance lawsuit, I believe it is appropriate to foster broad conversations on this […]

HISD Student Congress

Kids today, with their “getting involved” and their “having their voices heard”, I tell you. The high school students gave up their Saturday afternoon, meeting at the downtown library with laptops and legal pads to brainstorm ideas for improving the Houston Independent School District. “Let’s say class sizes are too large at some schools in […]

HSPVA groundbreaking

Looking forward to seeing how this turns out. A slab of cracked cement painted over with yellow parking lines sits at the corner of Rusk and Austin – with downtown skyscrapers looming overhead. Come Tuesday, the cement will be ripped up and construction will begin on a new five-story, 168,000-square-foot building for the Houston ISD’s […]

The Lege is unlikely to do anything substantive on education this session

Oh, there will be lots of sound and fury, as well as various sideshow distractions, but in the end the main issue to resolve – school finance – will be at best “tweaked”. For anything more than that, we will have to wait till the Lege is forced to act by the Supreme Court. Public […]

Abbott puts on a moderate act

He cares about education! During a Capitol news conference in which he announced the selection of his senior staff, Gov.-elect Greg Abbott said Monday that education will be his top policy priority. Abbott said he wants to improve the educational foundation that students receive in pre-kindergarten through fourth grade. “I want to ensure that all […]

How Texas can improve its pre-k programs

From Raise Your Hand Texas: Raise Your Hand Texas recently released a report highlighting research-driven practices proven effective in public pre-kindergarten programs across the country, and comparing how Texas’ pre-k program stacks up. “Pre-Kindergarten for the Modern Age: A scalable, affordable, high-quality plan for Texas” was prepared by Dr. Robert Pianta, Dean of the Curry […]

RIP, Father TJ Martinez

Some sad local news. Father TJ Martinez seemed comfortable anywhere and with anyone. Raised in Brownsville and educated at some of America’s finest universities, he could charm princes of industry and encourage children born to paupers to study hard to make something of themselves and their community. To greet first lady Laura Bush, he donned […]

SBOE adopts history textbook changes it hasn’t read

Awesome. After adopting hundreds of pages in last minute updates and corrections, the Texas State Board of Education approved new social studies textbooks Friday. All but the five Democrats on the 15-member board voted to accept products from all publishers except Worldview Software, which they rejected because of concerns over factual accuracy. “When I think […]

House starts thinking about school finance

Good to see. For the past several weeks, state lawmakers have been meeting to discuss how to better fund public education in the wake of a court ruling calling Texas’ school finance system inequitable, inefficient and illegal. Education Committee Chairman Jimmie Don Aycock, R-Killeen, confirmed he and 12 to 15 members of the state House […]

HISD Board approves one cent tax rate increase

Still a low tax rate, just slightly higher now. As architects prepare designs for dozens of new campuses, the Houston school board on Thursday approved a 1-cent tax rate increase to help pay down debt from the largest school district construction bond in Texas history. The board voted 7-1 to raise the tax rate, the […]

Gov debate II: That’s more like it

The second Governor’s debate was a lively affair. Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott, who has mostly avoided direct confrontation with his opponent in the race for Texas governor, took a hard swing at Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis over her ethics as a lawmaker in a televised debate Tuesday night. And she let him have it […]

Endorsement watch: Chron for Collier

Add the Houston Chronicle to the list of papers endorsing Mike Collier for Comptroller. [Sen. Glenn] Hegar knows politics; Collier knows the numbers. In our view the choice is clear: Texas needs the numbers man, not a politician who wants to use the office as a stepping stone to higher office. Texans know what can […]

Abbott appeals school finance case to Supreme Court

No surprise. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott on Friday appealed to the Texas Supreme Court a district court finding that the state’s school finance system is unconstitutional. State District Judge John Dietz’s Aug. 30 ruling called Texas’ current school finance system inefficient and inadequate, saying it created an de facto statewide property tax in violation […]

Dan Patrick loves the poor folks

He says so himself, so it must be true. State Sen. Dan Patrick told a wealthy Houston business group Thursday that he would advocate for the poor and people of color if elected lieutenant governor in November, at one point advocating compassion toward immigrants who brave dangers to cross Texas’ southern border. The shift in […]

On school districts selling stadium naming rights

Raise your hand if this surprises you. When Bert Brocker wanted to advertise his auto business on the entrances of New Caney ISD’s new football stadium recently, the district offered another, bigger possibility: Naming rights to the entire $20 million, 8,000-seat facility. Brocker, who runs the Texan GMC and Texan Dodge auto dealerships in Humble, […]

HISD’s volunteer reading army

HISD’s number one priority is, or at least needs to be, improving reading performance. I really hope this will help. Leaders of the Houston Independent School District turned to the community on Thursday, launching the district’s largest volunteer recruitment effort in recent years – all to help solve HISD’s intractable literacy problem. The nation’s seventh-largest […]

Time again to talk textbooks

Kathy Miller of the Texas Freedom Network sounded the alarm in the Sunday op-eds. The last time Texas adopted social studies textbooks – in 2002 – political activists and members of the state education board themselves demanded scores of changes to content they didn’t like. Publishers resisted some, such as demands to downplay slavery as […]

What next for school finance?

That depends on the Attorney General and the Supreme Court, but one way or the other it’s up to the Legislature. State lawmakers from both parties agreed the responsibility for funding public schools falls on them. But history suggests the Legislature is reluctant to act until its hand is forced. “I would be surprised if […]