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Legislative session finished…for now!

Posted by Texas Education on June 4, 2009

Yes, yes you don’t have to tell me I have been lax in updating my blog! Just haven’t been up to it much. I guess I get tired of always being the bearer of bad news, pretty much anyway. I know I’m the one who chose to blog about texaseduation! So, I need to man up, as they say, or is it womanup? I’ve been twittering more, much more fun! Seems to be my niche also! Well, here is the poop and nothin’ but the poop!

A compromise school finance bill was passed (HB 3646), and it now awaits the Governor’s signature. The main components of this “school finance reform bill are:

Directs $1.9 billion of new money into public schools – this has been consistent with all versions of this bill.

Increases the basic allotment, guaranteed yield, and equalized wealth level, putting districts with low revenue targets back onto formula funding – we know enough now to determine that this provision only impacts the lowest WADA districts (about 350) districts in the state. We, (Humble ISD) along with about 70% of the districts in the state remain on a new total target revenue system, now frozen at the 2009 level of revenue.

Provides every district a minimum $120 per Weighted Average Daily Attendance (WADA) increase – this is the amount of new state funding we will receive, and it means an approximately $4 million increase for us in each of the next two years.

Provides an across-the-board educator pay raise of the greater of $800/year or each educator’s share of $60/WADA for the district and includes speech-pathologists in the educator pay raise – the $60/WADA here is how our teacher salary increases for next year will need to be calculated. So effectively, our “new additional funding from the state” for operating budget is actually $2 million in each of the next years!

Establishes a permanent “roll-forward” for the Existing Debt Allotment (EDA) program – this is a very good thing, but there was no increase in EDA funding.
Establishes a new program to guarantee bonds for new school construction – this will hopefully be very helpful to us as we begin to sell Bond 2008 bonds and pursue Bond 2008 needed projects.

Provides an additional $50 career/tech allotment for students in sequences leading to certification, and provides for funding of certification exam fees – we will realize some additional dollars here.

Provides funding for credit recovery classes for students – this too will get us a few more dollars.

So where are we with this now passed “school finance reform” legislation? W e are left with a system that did not improve our equity lot relative to WADA funding, and we will continue to have to confront deficit operating budgets over the next two years. So especially now, THANK YOU Humble ISD Community for passing the tax rate election this past year! That at least will keep us solvent through the next legislative session.

Humble ISD is  also now working with their legal counsel, as they assess whether or not to file suit against the state.

The legislature also passed a compromise Accountability bill. Unfortunately, it is going to take a few weeks to really decipher and understand how the new system will work, but it is very unfortunate, that this new legislation does not even come close to resembling what the Select Committee on Accountability recommended after a year of public hearings throughout the state!

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Posted in accountability, financing, funding, good stuff - not quite, texas education, Texas schools, Texas State Legislature | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

WADA gap widens under HB 3646

Posted by Texas Education on May 20, 2009

If we didn’t have enough problems with funding, HB 3646 by Rep. Scott Hochberg, well, suffice it to say that under HB 3646 Humble ISD will receive a $100 per WADA increase. Katy ISD, which already receives approximately $300 more per WADA than we do, will receive an additional $272 per WADA under HB 3646! Looks like the equity gap widens to me! And Sheldon ISD which already receives about $1,100 more per WADA than we do, will receive the same $100 per WADA increase as we do under HB 3646.

Also under HB 3646 is a $1.9 billion school finance reform package that purports to improve funding equity among districts and provides a $800 across the board salary increase for teachers. However for us, is much too little by way of needed relief for the next biennium and it is far from equitable!

HB 3646 will provide between $4 – $5 million in new money to our district in each year of the biennium and nearly half of those funds would have to be used to fund the $800 salary increase to teachers! Now there is no debating that teachers not only need and deserve a salary increase of way more than $800, BUT here we go again with the Legislature giving with the right hand and taking some back with the left hand trick! Having cut $27 million from our operating budget since 2002 and being frozen at the 2005-06 total operating revenue level, we need much more than $4 – $5 million annually from the state to even get close to where we were in 2004-05!

Our only hope for getting the right thing done in Austin now lies with Lt. Gov. Dewhurst and the Senate. Whether the Senate Education Committee advances Sen. Van de Putte’s SB 982 or Sen. Shapiro’s SB 2392, we need them to right the wrongs of HB 3646!

PLEASE contact the members of the Senate Education Committee and urge them to truly address adequacy and equity in funding to our schools. For me, it is not a threat, it is just a statement of fact, the only outcome of HB 3646 for us is heading back to court.

Sen. Florence Shapiro, Chair
Sen. Dan Patrick, Vice Chair
Sen. Tommy Williams
Sen. Leticia Van de Putte
Sen. Royce West
Sen. Mario Gallegos
Sen. Steve Ogden
Sen. Wendy Davis
Sen. Kip Averitt

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My rantings

Posted by Texas Education on December 18, 2008

Ok, I’ve been blogging for about 7 months now! I’ve mostly put educational “information” out there, and some personal comments, some may say more. But, nevertheless, today I felt the need to do a little venting.  This morning, while getting ready, I was watching a morning show. There was a journalist being interviewed and was stating why our country and our economy is in the tank, my word not his. Talking about the bailout, one of his comments was that the people handling our “money” don’t know what they are doing. He exclaimed we need better educated people, in other words.  I agree! We are now seeing the $700 billion dollar bail out is as poorly implemented, monitored and NOT transparent,  as anything else.  I find when trying to deal with insurance, clerks, sales people, almost anyone, there are mistakes after mistakes after mistakes being made, which only add to the cost of everything.  Companies are cutting back and putting more on the ones left, we are cutting back on what makes our schools run better and all we ever hear is how people whine the teachers have it made, or God forbid they have two periods to make parent phone calls, grade the hundreds, no make that thousands of papers, input grades, work on the tons of paperwork for their 504’s or ARDS, or modified work. Create lively, energetic, informative, substantial, engaging lesson plans, just to mention a “few” of the duties of teachers. I get it. I understand the ones in charge, the ones that keep getting elected into office are the ones who are undermining public education all for the sole purpose of vouchers, having a “choice” where they want their children to go to school. But, people, what are we talking about, a mere $3-4000 a year to put your child in a school that charges that…per month?

People are losing their jobs, their homes, their livelyhood. Our children are suffering to the nth degree, and it’s only going to get worse if we don’t change course and change it hard and fast. We are cutting programs that enhance a student’s interests, dreams and sometimes the pure motivation to go to school. I’m talking about art, music, technology, all the extra curricular  activities.

Thank God I had drill team when I was in school. I honestly don’t know what I would have done, where I would be now, if it were not for drill team. It literally saved my life. My home life was…well, not so much. I can relate, which is why I feel, sometimes, I have a connection to my students.  I know what it’s like for school to be a safe place! And it was for me, and it was exciting,  and I enjoyed learning.

Why aren’t we putting more into our schools? Producing a workforce like no other? Using the latest technology, non-stop?  What I see are computers sitting in classrooms gathering dust. Just big paperweights. When, the one thing students know and like more than anything is…technology.

As much as I’ve enjoyed subbing, again! I miss teaching. Teaching my own classes. Having my own students, my own parents. I create engaging lesson plans, I teach manners, leadership, I hold students accountable. I make sure to make connections with students, colleagues, administration, parents, even the community. I’m flexible, nice, very well organized, contrary to some beliefs. I’m computer literate, and incorporate that into what I do, what I teach and am amazed at how others, well, frankly, don’t. I try to improve my knowledge of technology, and other pertinent information concerning teaching and worldly stuff. Most of all I care, I’m compassionate,  and I’m completely dumbfounded as to why I sit here and I don’t have a classroom. I do wish someone would enlighten me, please!

Ok, I’m done, I wish I could say I feel better, but I don’t!!  The world is still cold and losing ground, I’m still, basically, unemployed and I need to get dinner before I do or say something I might regret, if it’s not already too late!!!

For your entertainment:

1976

1976

Yeah, that’ me, front and center!!

Posted in accountability, bizzare, Ethics, financing, Good Stuff, good stuff - not quite, leadership, learning, personal, teachers, teaching, teen leadership, texas education, Texas schools, vouchers | 2 Comments »

The new yearbooks are in, the new yearbooks are in…

Posted by Texas Education on August 13, 2008

Finally!!!!! I’m all for putting in all that you can in a yearbook (the whole year,) but waiting till school starts the next year, I bet there are always going to be some that paid (not cheap – full, I mean full color) and didn’t get them because they “graduated” and that’s the last thing on their mind, going off to college, or they moved away. How easy would that be with over 3,000 kids. I guess the saying “everything in Texas is big” applies to the yearbooks too. Humble’s you needed a cart to carry it too. I’m referring to the new AHS (Atascocita) yearbooks. Now, if anyone really knows me, they know I was so not a fan of last years. Well…this years, only thing I can say is, you can read the names. But, that’s probably about the only nice thing I can say. All color is overkill, and expensive. I voiced this concern last year, but was poo poo’ed, of course. This year, an AHS student (who was looking at it with me this a.m. referred to it as a magazine.) And I would have to agree. Way, way, w-a-y too busy. And with quite a few typos, and that was only on the water polo page. I must say (and here goes a bit of a nice thing) they did put Water Polo in there, but what my daughter was quoted as saying “It a fun experience, we did really good for only have four practices, we made fourth in state ,” she sounds like she only has a 2nd grade education, because of all the typo’s. Kids are labeled wrong, and they have a bunch of polls, which take up too much space and are ridiculous. Polls like: “The top 8 friends of Brandon B.”, “How do you pick your friends?,” this is the best one (sarcasm) “Individual style is one thing, but when it comes to prep chic, it doesn’t come cheap. Who’s worth the pay for your style?,” and they have listed in bar graph form, Hollister, Abercrombie & Fitch, Aeropostale and American Eagle, with the percentages next to them. I have to admit, my daughter is on the water polo page a lot. I like that!

I’m sorry if I offend anyone on this, but I have put together quite a few yearbooks, and this is not how I would do it. I would include more kids, less teachers, it’s not their book anyway, more kids in the pictures (is how I was taught to build a yearbook.) There are way to many fonts on each page, and I would not put quite so many quotes on a page either, etc., etc. Not too crazy about the theme this year either, “stand OUT.” They have labeled the book “The Aerie,” definition:

Etymology:
Medieval Latin aerea, from Old French aire, probably from Vulgar Latin *agrum origin, nest, lair, from Latin ager field — more at acre

1: the nest of a bird on a cliff or a mountaintop
2
obsolete : a brood of birds of prey

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