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Posts Tagged ‘Sen. Florence Shapiro’

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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Posted in financing, funding, good stuff - not quite, texas education | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Texas PTA Action Alert – what you need to know!

Posted by Texas Education on April 7, 2009

Members of Senate Education will be considering a bill to create a voucher program for children with autism on Tuesday of this week.

Please call the following members of the Senate Education Committee and urge them to Oppose SB 1301, SB 183, SB 2204!

What you need to know:
Texas cannot afford to finance private education as well as public education. There are two ways to pay for vouchers-take money from already under-funded public schools or raise taxes. Both are unacceptable.

  • Public policy should respect parental choice but provide for all students. The best public policy is to provide parents with even more choices within the public schools, which serve 94.5% of Texas children. Legislators should concentrate on making all public schools stronger, safer, more challenging and accountable. Public tax dollars should be spent only to improve public schools-not to assist the small number of parents who choose to enroll their children in private academies or religious schools.
  • Inserting the word “private” doesn’t make a school good. There is no proof that private school vouchers would improve students’ academic performance. In fact, students attending private schools under the Milwaukee and Cleveland voucher programs did not outperform their public school peers.
  • Vouchers don’t create a “competitive marketplace.” Competition is based on an even playing field; there is no fair competition when “competitors” play by different rules. Public schools must accept all applicants, private schools don’t. Private schools are not required to provide transportation, special education, bilingual education, free and reduced price lunches, and many other programs that public schools provide.
  • While private school vouchers might cover a portion of the cost of education, many parents would not be able to afford the likely additional costs beyond the amount of the voucher.
  • State and Federal regulations such as IDEA that protect students with special educational needs require the development and maintenance of an educational plan for each student. This right is not guaranteed in private schools.
  • Not all communities have private programs for children with autism, so legislation would create this “opportunity” for a small number of children. Private programs for students with autism in more rural areas of Texas are few in number and therefore not a choice.
  • Special education certification is required for public educators, but not for private school employees. 
  • What you can do:

    Contact the following members of Senate Education and tell them the following:
    Sen. Florence Shapiro, chair @ 512-463-0108 – “I am a member of Texas PTA, with over 600,000 members and I oppose voucher programs such as those proposed in SB 1301, 2204 and 183.”

    Sen. Dan Patrick @ 512-463 0107 – “Please oppose Sb 1301, 2204, and 183. I am a member of Texas PTA, representing the 600,000+ members, and Texas PTA opposes voucher programs.”

    Sen. Kip Averitt @ 512-463 0122 – “Please oppose Sb 1301, 2204, and 183. I am a member of Texas PTA, representing the 600,000+ members, and Texas PTA opposes voucher programs.”

    Sen. Steve Ogden @ 512-463 0105 – “Please oppose Sb 1301, 2204, and 183. I am a member of Texas PTA, representing the 600,000+ members, and Texas PTA opposes voucher programs.”

    Sen. Tommy Williams @ 512-463 0104 – “I am a member of Texas PTA, with over 600,000 members and I oppose voucher programs such as proposed in SB 1301, 2204, and 183.”

    Encourage each Senator:
    Instead of funding a program for students to go to a private school, why not invest in on-going, comprehensive professional development for instructors of students with disabilities such as autism, so that teachers and teaching assistants are better equipped to work with students with special needs? This would be money well spent, money that would be used to improve the training of all teachers of students with disabilities, unlike voucher program funding that would be used for a few students without improving the educational environment for the students left behind. Several bills have been filed this session that create professional development academies and require on-going professional development in best practices related to education for students with special needs. The key is to fund these programs so that all school districts may take full advantage of them.

    Thank you for using your voice to help our kids!

    Posted in financing, In-the-news, Texas PTA, vouchers | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Texas PTA update – 3/20/09

    Posted by Texas Education on March 20, 2009

    Just in from the Texas PTA:

    BILL UPDATES

    ACCOUNTABILITY
    There was a hearing this week on SB 3 and HB 3, the filed bills on school accountability. We will have more information for you over the next few days and weeks, but here are a few pieces:
    • The bill creates a distinction tier for excellence in a variety of areas – growth in achievement, closing the gaps, workforce readiness, fine arts, physical fitness, second language learning. Texas PTA requested that this be included so that school districts would be encouraged to provide robust, challenging programs in fine arts and physical activity/fitness.  Schools can earn distinctions in multiple areas.
    • To earn a Post-secondary Readiness endorsement, the goal for all Texas high school graduates, where students complete 4 years of English, Math, Science and Social Studies, 2 foreign language credits and 8 credits or electives of their own choosing. Career and Technology courses, approximately 30 of them, would be allowed to count for 4th year of math and science. The bill also recommends the creation of new applied math and science courses.
    • The bill defines college readiness standards and skilled workforce readiness standards.
    • To maintain accreditation, student achievement or growth in individual student achievement toward post-secondary readiness would be assessed each year, but a 3 year rolling average for each student subpopulation would be allowed.
    • The bill aligns exit standards with skilled workforce and college readiness standards.

    ENVIRONMENTAL
    Rep. Diane Patrick, Arlington, has filed HB 4208 relating to school bus idling.

    STATEWIDE SMOKE-FREE WORKPLACES LAW
    Late last week, Rep. Senfronia Thompson, Houston, filed HB 3415, an alternative to HB 5 and SB 544, the comprehensive statewide smoke-free workplaces law that Texas PTA has endorsed.

    OTHER SMOKING RELATED LEGISLATION
    Sen. Hegar, Katy, has filed SB 2327, relating to a prohibition on smoking in a car in which a person under age 16 is riding.

    SAFETY
    We’ll put in a card of support for HB 149, regarding penalties for illegally passing a school bus.  We’ll put in a card of support for HB 1622, relating to a grant program to provide children at risk of hunger or obesity with increased access to nutritious foods.

    FUNDING
    Senator Shapiro, Plano, has filed SB 2392 relating to school finance.  This bill adjusts formulas that determine funding for school districts.

    VOUCHERS
    Sen. Shapiro, Plano, has again filed a voucher bill – SB 2204 relating to vouchers for students with autism.

    Vondebar (wonderful!) some awesome bills filed on behaf of our kiddos!

    Posted in accountability, financing, learning, Texas PTA, vouchers | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Yes!!!! Eliminating TAKS???

    Posted by Texas Education on March 2, 2009

    scaredmonkeyOk, I’ve been a bit bored, unenthused, and lacking any desire to blog. Yes,I said it, but I have had a bit of a spark lit in me, as of late. One, I took the test for the BCIS (yes, no one ever even knows what that stands for, but when I say “business,” they shake their head in undertanding – for the record it stands for Business Computer Information Systems).  I’m actually surprised I passed, I got sick the week before the test and was still a bit sick on test day. The second thing is, well, I’m back! I had a very good week last week subbing, have been painting my laundry room (ok, maybe that is getting a bit personal and off topic).

    But, what I’m all excited about is this article “Texas lawmakers’ plan would replace standardized tests.” Are you kidding me?? Could it be???

    Two Republican lawmakers plan to introduce legislation next week that would replace the state’s current school accountability system based on annual standardized testing of students with one based on charting an individual student’s progress over time.

    I like the sounds of that…

    Posted in accountability, completely unbelievable, Good Stuff, leadership, say what???, texas education, Texas schools | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »