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Posts Tagged ‘Texas Education Agency’

Has Harvey changed anything politically?

You’d think it would, but it remains to be seen as far as I’m concerned. A month to the day after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, the reality of the storm was beginning to sink in on the minds of politicians, policy makers and advocates bracing for a long recovery. In short, any political […]

Some schools will have longer days

Seems like a reasonable approach, all things considered. School days will grow longer for students at 11 Houston Independent School District campuses after the Board of Education voted Thursday night to extend school days to stay in compliance with state law. The next step is for the Texas Education Agency to grant Houston ISD nine […]

More on recapture and the Rainy Day Fund

There are some conditions that have to be met to get our recapture money back. Houston Independent School District won’t have to hand millions of dollars to the state to spend at other schools if HISD needs that money to recover from Hurricane Harvey, but the district will have to apply for that money, Texas […]

HISD may get a recapture reprieve thanks to Harvey

Talk about a mixed blessing. The Houston Independent School District may be able to avoid paying part – or perhaps all – of its over $100 million state-mandated recapture payment. The potential reprieve comes after a school board lawyer found a state law allows districts that suffer storm damage to use recapture dollars to help […]

Don’t expect any STAAR slack

Sorry, kids. Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath said Wednesday morning that the state was not likely to let students displaced by Hurricane Harvey delay a required state test this school year — or to change the way school districts are graded at the end of the school year. “I would say, given the information I […]

What will this school year be like?

School has finally started for most of HISD and many surrounding districts, but with the devastation and disruption of Harvey, what can we expect from this academic year? Many students in Houston ISD lost everything – their homes, their school supplies, their clothes, their toys. Some are staying in the mega-shelters at the George R. […]

HISD gets some improvements, needs some more

Mostly good news. State school ratings released Tuesday showed academic gains across Houston ISD this year, but enthusiasm over the results was tempered by 10 struggling campuses again falling short of state standards, leaving the district under threat of state intervention and even takeover next year without more progress. District administrators heralded the results, released […]

HISD and the TEA

Still catching up on things. Texas education officials are warning that Houston ISD could be placed under the jurisdiction of state-appointed managers as early as next year if 13 district schools don’t show improvement. The warning was issued during a meeting [last] Monday between Texas Education Agency officials and Houston’s legislative delegation. TEA officials told […]

MALDEF gets injunction in recapture lawsuit

From their website: Please attribute the following statement on a Texas court ruling ordering state education officials to cease bypassing existing school funding rules to Marisa Bono, Southwest regional counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund): “MALDEF is pleased that the District Court saw through efforts by the Texas Education Agency to […]

One last look at the recapture re-vote

There’s a lot at stake here, and not a whole lot of people voting on it. For the second time in seven months, voters within the Houston Independent School District will determine how – and if – it should pay tens of millions to help subsidize districts that collect little in property taxes. The vote […]

Senate approves special ed reform bill

Good. The Texas Senate moved Wednesday to ban state officials from ever again imposing a cap on the percentage of students allowed to receive special education services. The chamber voted unanimously in favor of Senate Bill 160, putting the legislation just one step away from the desk of Gov. Greg Abbott, who already has indicated […]

Re-interview with David Thompson

Last year, I published an interview with attorney David Thompson, who has worked with HISD for a long time on legislative and financial matters, including on the endless litigation over school finance, to discuss the November referendum on recapture. He clarified a lot of items, such as the wording of the referendum, the things that […]

MALDEF files suit over change to recapture

This is a twist. Texas education officials illegally changed how property taxes are calculated in wealthy school districts, with the effect of substantially reducing the funds available for schools in poorer districts, a lawsuit filed Thursday charged. The change would cost the state’s poorer schools districts and their students approximately $440 million per year or […]

The updated bill for recapture and detachment

Here are the numbers as we now face them. Houston ISD voters will face a choice of either paying the state’s $77.5 million recapture fee, or risk losing $98.4 million in tax revenue over the next fiscal year, according to new dollar figures given to trustees. Those were the options presented to HISD trustees Thursday […]

Recapture re-vote will happen

Mark your calendars for May 6. On Thursday, the board voted 5-3, with one abstention, to put another referendum on recapture on the May 6 ballot. Placing a second referendum on the May ballot will cost the district $800,000, according to an HISD spokesman Trustee Rhonda Skillern-Jones, who campaigned in favor of not paying recapture […]

HISD Board to discuss recapture re-vote today

We should find out today if a re-vote on recapture is in our future. At their monthly meeting Thursday, trustees for the Houston Independent School Board will consider putting recapture back on the ballot. […] In November, HISD voters rejected the traditional way to send a check to the state. Now HISD must pay with […]

A re-vote on recapture?

This is very interesting. After reconsideration of an 18-year-old law, state education officials are adjusting their school finance calculations in a way that could save several dozen school districts roughly $100 million — while costing the state the same amount in revenue. One of the apparent beneficiaries is Houston ISD, where the change means taxpayers […]

Lawsuit threatened over special education limits

The clock is ticking. Disability advocates on Monday threatened to sue the Texas Education Agency unless the state permanently ends its special education enrollment benchmark within the next month. The advocates said immediate action is necessary because of the “devastating harm” caused by the benchmark. The state already has suspended and pledged to eventually eliminate […]

Senate to begin studying school finance changes

We’ll see what this looks like. Leaders in the Texas Senate are vowing to find ways to overhaul the state’s school finance system, saying a recent Texas Supreme Court decision granted them a prime opportunity to shake up the heavily criticized status quo. On Monday, they announced the creation of a Senate budget working group […]

New school grading system looks pretty harsh

Brace yourselves. Schools in poor neighborhoods overwhelmingly received the worst grades under Texas’ new rating system — but even typically high-performing districts got C’s and D’s, according to scores that will be released Friday. The “what if” grades show how schools and districts could fare in the new A-F system, which won’t take effect until […]

“Denied”: HISD and special education

There are problems here as well. Superintendent Richard Carranza announced Thursday that the Houston Independent School District has decided to conduct a detailed review of the way that it serves students with disabilities. The effort will include asking “independent, third-party experts to conduct a deep-dive analysis of our special education operation,” Carranza said. The newly-hired […]

Here’s your chance to give feedback on special education

The feds are coming to Texas to hear what you have to say about it. The U.S. Department of Education is sending representatives to tour Texas and take comment from school community members on special education, continuing to look at whether the state is denying services to students with disabilities. Representatives from the Office of […]

TEA officially backs off special education limits

We’ll see about that. Facing increasing criticism over its special education enrollment benchmark, the Texas Education Agency this week told schools that they must provide services to all eligible students with disabilities and that they will no longer be penalized for serving too many children. In a five-page letter, Penny Schwinn, the agency’s deputy commissioner […]

“Denied”, continued

Here’s Part 2 of the Chron’s reporting on special education limits. A few days before school began here in 2007, district administrators called an emergency staff meeting. The Texas Education Agency had determined that they had too many students in special education, the administrators announced, and they had come up with a plan: Remove as […]

TEA says no more special ed limits

We’ll see about that. The Texas Education Agency has agreed to stop auditing school districts that give specialized education to more than 8.5 percent of students, officials announced Wednesday, cheering experts, advocates and lawmakers outraged by the policy. In a letter to the U.S. Department of Education, which had ordered the state to eliminate the […]

Feds intervene in Texas special education mess

Good. The federal government on Monday ordered Texas state officials to eliminate an 8.5 percent benchmark on special education enrollment enforced in the state’s 1,200 school districts unless they can show that it had not kept children with disabilities from receiving appropriate educational services. The U.S. Department of Education directed the state to report back […]

Superintendents begin speaking out against special education limits

Good for them. The leaders of two of the state’s biggest school districts are calling on the Texas Education Agency to stop penalizing districts for giving specialized education to more kids than the agency has deemed prudent. Superintendents Michael Hinojosa of Dallas and Pedro Martinez of San Antonio came out against the arbitrary enrollment target […]

School district to join lawsuit over STAAR test

Interesting. Ben Becker, the Houston father who helped organize a legal fight over last year’s STAAR exams, has repeatedly challenged superintendents over the last few months to join him in court to fight for their students. Becker describes his group as a handful of Texas parents up against the state of Texas, backed by a […]

HISD board members against the HISD ballot item

I missed this when it first appeared. Three Houston school board members on Thursday evening publicly urged voters to oppose a measure that would authorize the district to forfeit $162 million to the state. Trustees Jolanda Jones, Harvin Moore and Rhonda Skillern-Jones went on the offensive at the live-streamed board meeting, asking voters to join […]

TEA will review special ed limits

It’s a start. Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath said Wednesday that his office is reviewing a monitoring system that sets an 8.5 percent benchmark for special education enrollments and strictly audits school districts with enrollments that exceed that rate for students with disabilities. The Chronicle reported Sunday that TEA officials had arbitrarily selected the 8.5 […]

Some officials take note of special education funding restrictions

It’s a start. The vice chairman of the State Board of Education, a Houston school board member, a key state senator and scores of parents and disability advocates all expressed strong opposition on Monday to a Texas Education Agency performance-based monitoring system that has kept thousands of disabled children out of special education since 2004. […]

“Denied”

This is worth your time to read. During the first week of school at Shadow Forest Elementary, a frail kindergartner named Roanin Walker had a meltdown at recess. Overwhelmed by the shrieking and giggling, he hid by the swings and then tried to escape the playground, hitting a classmate and biting a teacher before being […]

STAAR test lawsuit survives motion to dismiss

On to trial. After a group of parents sued the Texas Education Agency over the 2016 administration of STAAR exams, state lawyers argued this summer that the parents had no standing and asked the courts to drop the case. This week, the first day of school for many Texas children, Travis County District Court Judge […]

Strange HISD referendum to be on the ballot

This will be weird. Because of the state’s byzantine financing system, HISD will have to either send almost $162 million in local taxpayers’ money to the state or stand by to see some of the district’s most valuable properties assigned to other school districts by the Texas Education Agency. (Local businesses aren’t too wild about […]