• Fort Worth ISD Legislative Priorities

A Message from Fort Worth ISD

  • October 17, 2023
    Dear ڶ Communities and Families,

    We are reaching out to share some insights on a critical educational issue that is currently in the spotlight - school vouchers. As responsible members of our community, it is essential for us to stay informed and understand the implications of this policy. Please take a moment to read through these observations, as they provide a perspective that might not always be presented in the media. We encourage you to form your own opinions after considering these points.

    Freedom of Choice in Education
    We firmly believe that parents should have the right to choose the educational path that best suits their child, whether it's a public school, charter school, private school, or homeschooling. However, this freedom should come with equal accountability and transparency, especially when taxpayer money is involved.

    The Issue with Vouchers
    Certain elected officials have been attempting to pass a bill that would allow public tax dollars to flow into private schools without adequate transparency. To circumvent public resistance, these elected officials have reframed vouchers as Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) and other terms. It's important to recognize these tactics and understand the potential consequences.
     
    Governor Abbott’s Proposal
    Governor Abbott has called for a Special Session of the Texas Legislature to push for a voucher bill. He is linking additional public school funding to the passage of vouchers, creating a contentious situation. Rural areas and regions with few private schools will be disproportionately affected, as our tax money might support families who already send their children to private schools.

    The Reality of Private School Costs
    While vouchers might seem like a solution, the economic reality is different. The average private school tuition far exceeds the voucher amount, leaving economically disadvantaged families with limited options.

    Accountability and Transparency
    Public schools are held to high standards of accountability and transparency, ensuring equal access to education for all students. Private schools, however, are not subjected to the same level of scrutiny, potentially leading to unequal opportunities for our children.

    Your Voice Matters
    We urge you to reach out to our elected officials, express your concerns, and let them know where you stand on this issue. Your voice is crucial in shaping the future of our community's education system.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this message. Let's work together to ensure that our educational system remains accountable, transparent, and accessible to all.

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      Highlights of Major Bills - 88th Legislative Session

      • Updated May 19, 2023

         

        School Safety

        State lawmakers passed a bill on Wednesday, May 17, that requires courts to report involuntary mental health hospitalizations of juveniles aged 16 and older for inclusion in the federal gun background check system. The bill received bipartisan support.

        • This closes a loophole that allowed juveniles with serious mental health issues to legally purchase firearms. In Texas, the problem lies in the decentralized storage of court records related to juvenile mental health, with records spread across 450 district and county clerk's offices statewide. Consequently, the FBI needs to check records at each of these locations when approving gun purchases from licensed dealers.
        • The bill enables the state to comply with a new federal law, ensuring that investigators verify the absence of mental health history issues that would prevent 18 to 20-year-olds from buying guns.
        • Furthermore, the bill enhances the connection between state and federal databases and streamlines the process.
        • The bill mandates court clerks to report relevant information to Texas DPS, which in turn transmits it to the national instant criminal background check system (NICS).

        Status: The bill, receiving unanimous support in the Senate, now awaits the Governor's approval.

        HB 1905 (Talarico, et al.)  allows a school district to provide school safety training courses, including certain active shooter training courses, available at no cost to employees of accredited private schools located in the district, child care facilities, or other organizations providing out of school time care to children younger than 18 years of age who reside in the district.

        Status: Passed House, unanimous support in Senate Education committee on May 18.

         

        Vouchers/Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)/ Parental Empowerment

        The Texas House's Public Education committee convened on Monday, May 15, to deliberate on a revised 80-page version of the Senate's priority voucher proposal, SB 8. The committee exclusively heard testimony from invited guests. House committees must vote on Senate bills by May 20.

        As previously mentioned:

        • The proposal aims to reduce the number of eligible students for the program.
        • It introduces changes to standardized testing in the state.
        • It eliminates the restriction on teaching about gender and sexual orientation, resembling Florida's recently enacted "Don't Say Gay" policies.
        • The House version also mandates students in the program to take a state assessment test.
        • Additionally, the House version removes a Senate provision that intended to allocate $10,000 per child for five years to districts with fewer than 20,000 students if the child enrolls in the savings program and leaves their district. This provision aimed to persuade rural communities to support the bill.
        • By the 2027-2028 school year at the latest, the Texas Education Agency would be responsible for developing a new test called the Texas Success Initiative Assessment, aligning it more closely with classroom learning.

        Many concerns persist, including the lack of requirement for private schools to admit students with disabilities and the insufficient funding provided for student education. The average cost of a private school in Fort Worth is $28,000 per year, excluding expenses like uniforms and books. Critics also express apprehension that the savings accounts divert much-needed funds away from public schools.

        There are significant concerns regarding the proposed testing changes. The testing provisions in the House substitute include:

        • Maintaining the STARR provisions for students in grades 3-8, excluding the eighth-grade social studies exam.
        • Adding three additional testing events for grades 3-8 STAAR, with mandatory through-year testing unless otherwise specified by commissioner's rule.
        • Increasing the number of high school exams from five to six.
        • Introducing more testing for 11th-grade students concurrently taking additional college entrance exams.
        • Restricting retakes until after high school graduation, despite students making college attendance decisions prior to graduation.
        • Eliminating all State Board of Education involvement in the state assessment program.
        • Amplifying the stakes of the already high-stakes A-F accountability system solely for ISDs, while private schools attended by voucher recipients remain exempt from state ratings.

        Status: On Wednesday, May 17, the committee chair announced no intentions to bring the bill to a vote. Governor Abbott has vowed to call a special session if the House does not "expand the scope of school choice." (Texas Tribune, May 17, 2023)

         

        Miscellaneous


        SB 418 (Paxton et al.) proposes allowing students to transfer to any public school with available capacity.

        • School districts would be prohibited from charging tuition to these students.

        Concerns arise regarding the definition of capacity, the potential for creating an uneven playing field in student athletics, and insufficient time for school districts to plan for these changes.

        Status: SB 418 was left pending before the committee adjourned to go to the House floor on May 16.

        HB 1883 (Bhojani et al.) aims to grant school district boards of trustees or open enrollment charter schools' governing bodies the authority to consider holy days and periods of observance likely to be celebrated by students during the school year, subject to certain restrictions.

        Status: Passed in the House; voted out of the Senate Education Committee on May 18.

        HB 1614 (Dutton) would mandate the commissioner of education to establish and administer a grant program supporting school districts and open enrollment charter schools in fostering partnerships with community-based child care providers to offer pre-K classes.

        Status: Passed in the House; left pending in the Senate Education committee on May 18.


        Updated May 12, 2023

        School Safety

        After another mass shooting in Texas, this time in Allen, a number of advocates descended on Austin to push for raising the minimum age to buy a semi-automatic rifle in Texas from 18 to 21.

        Legislation proposing the change, HB 2744, was introduced by Representative King, who represents Uvalde, where an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 children and two teachers in an elementary school last May.

        The House Select Committee on Community Safety unexpectedly convened and voted 8-5 to advance HB 2744 to the House chamber on Monday.

        However, lawmakers failed to ensure the bill met a key deadline on Tuesday, effectively killing the bill this legislative session. The committee was required to schedule a house vote by Tuesday, and the bill faced an uphill battle, as many Republicans, including the Governor, had already indicated they would not support it. Advocates have already stated their intention to return in 2025.

        HB 3266 (McKinney)

        On Thursday, May 11, the Texas House approved a bill that would outlaw devices used to modify handguns into fully automatic firearms.

        • Criminalizes possessing, manufacturing, transporting, repairing or selling these devices.
        • The devices, known as “Glock switches,” are already illegal to possess or manufacture under federal law. The bill would give local authorities the ability to levy charges.

        The House passed SB 763 on Monday, May 8.

        School boards could replace counselors with chaplains in a bill that has now passed both the Texas House and Senate. 

        • The bill is permissive, which means it is up to the school board to make the decision to use chaplains. However, all school boards must take an up or down vote whether they intend to add the school chaplain’s policy.
        • The bill has language of “assurance” that candidates are not on a sexual offender registry.
        • Funding would be allocated out of funds to promote school safety.
        • Texas requires one school counselor for every 500 students in Texas public schools. Most will have a graduate degree, two years in the classroom and a valid school counselor's certificate. Chaplains under Senate Bill 763, have none of these requirements.
        • An amendment to broaden access to other faith traditions failed.

         

        Vouchers/Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)/ Parental Empowerment

        The Texas House's Public Education Committee is set to convene on Monday, May 15, to review an updated 80-page version of the Senate's priority voucher proposal, SB 8. The committee will only hear invited testimony. House committees are required to vote on Senate bills by May 20.

        • The proposal would reduce the number of students eligible for the program. 
        • It would make changes to the state's standardized testing. 
        • It would remove the bill's restriction on teaching about gender and sexual orientation, similar to Florida's recently passed "Don't Say Gay" policies.
        • The House version would also require students in the program to take a state assessment test.
        • Additionally, the House version eliminates a Senate provision that sought to give districts with fewer than 20,000 students $10,000 for five years for every child who enrolls in the savings program and leaves their district. The provision was seen as a way to convince rural communities to support the bill.
        • The Texas Education Agency would be tasked with creating a new test called the Texas Success Initiative Assessment no later than the 2027-2028 school year. The new test would be more aligned with what children learn in the classroom.

        Many concerns remain, including the fact that private schools are not required to accept students with disabilities. Moreover, the amount of money offered is not nearly enough to cover the cost of education. The average private school in Fort Worth costs $28,000 per year, not including uniforms, books, and other expenses. Critics also worry that the savings accounts divert much-needed funds away from public schools.

        There are also major concerns about the testing changes proposed in the House substitute, which include the following provisions:

        • Maintain the STAAR provisions for students in grades 3-8, except for the eighth-grade social studies exam.
        • Add three testing events for grades 3-8 STAAR, with mandatory through-year testing unless otherwise provided by the commissioner's rule.
        • Increase the number of high school exams from five to six.
        • Add more testing for 11th-grade students who are also taking additional college entrance exams.
        • Limit retakes only after high school graduation, even though students make college attendance decisions before graduation.
        • Remove all State Board of Education involvement in the state assessment program.
        • Raise the stakes of the already high-stakes A-F accountability system only for ISDs, not for private schools that voucher recipients will attend (as private schools are not subject to state ratings).

         

        Miscellaneous

        HB 3908 (Wilson), also known as Tucker’s Law, passed the Texas House on Tuesday, May 9.

        Mothers, whose children have died from fentanyl poisoning, asked lawmakers to do something. Stefanie Turner lost her 19-year-old son, Tucker Roe, in 2021, after he purchased illegal narcotics via social media.

        If signed by the Governor, the new law would ensure the following:

        • A course for students in grades 6 through 12 will be implanted for no more than 10 hours of education throughout the school year.
        • It would also include a poisoning awareness week.

        Status: the bill must now pass the Senate.


        Updated April 28, 2023

        School Safety

        HB 3 (Burrows)

        Approved by the House. 

        • Incentives for school employees to get certified to carry a weapon. 
        • Installation of a silent panic alert button in every classroom. 
        • Regular safety inspections of school buildings. 
        • Grants to students who want to attend another school district if their current one is not complying with safety standards. 
        • Gives schools $100 for each student who regularly attends classes, plus an additional $15,000 each year to upgrade their security. This change would raise the cost of the bill from $300 million to about $1.6 billion.


        HB 13 (King)

        Approved by the House. 

        • Armed security officers at every campus during school hours. 
        • District employees would be given a $25,000 incentive for each year they are certified as a school guardian, meaning a staff member who can carry a gun. 
        • Law enforcement would be required to do regular walk-throughs of school buildings. 
        • District employees would be required to attend a mental health and first aid training program if they regularly interact with kids.


        SB 838 (Creighton). HB 669 (Thierry) was the identical House bill

        Approved by the House. 

        • Districts would be required to use part of their school safety budget to place silent panic buttons in each classroom. •
        • This is related to the police radio failure during the Uvalde shooting last year.

        The Senate has allocated nearly $1.3 billion for school security.

        Status: Both houses must negotiate what will make it into the final budget.

         

        School Funding

        HB 100 (King) 

        • The bill would increase the amount of state money that schools get per student. 
        • The amount is currently $6,160. The amount would increase to $6,250 in 2024 and $6,300 in 2025. 
        • The state would then consider further increasing the allotment to account for inflation. 
        • The allotment has not changed since 2019. 
        • The bill would also raise the portion of the state’s dollars that school districts are required to use to pay for teacher raises from 30% to 50%. The Texas American Federation of Teachers estimates that the proposal would likely give teachers about $80 per paycheck. 
        • The bill also updates how much a teacher makes based on their experience. Currently, a teacher with ten years of experience has to be paid a minimum of $45,630. Under the bill, a teacher would now be paid at least $55,000 if the person does not have a teaching certificate and at least $60,000 if they do have one. 
        • The remainder can be used for other expenses, such as maintaining buildings and purchasing supplies. 
        • Most of a school’s funding will still be calculated using average attendance; however, the state will swap that metric for enrollment when counting how many children are bilingual, poor, or in special education programs. It is unclear how much of a difference this change will make for school districts.

        Status: The bill overwhelmingly passed the House. Both the House and the Senate will now need to agree on funding.

         

        Teacher Retention

        HB 11 (Dutton)

        Approved by the House.

        • As Texas, along with other states, struggles with retaining teachers, the bill aims to boost training programs for aspiring teachers and offer incentives to increase the odds that educators will stay longer in the profession.
        • The bill would allocate funds to assist school districts with more teacher residencies – programs that place would-be teachers with mentors for a year. This training would help would-be educators gain real-life experience before they are hired as full-time educators the following year. Currently, if a district wants to host this type of residency, it must find the funds to pay for the program. Under the bill, districts would receive between $22,000 and $42,000 to pay for each residency student.
        • The bill is the lower chamber’s response to the recommendation of a task force formed by Governor Abbott after the pandemic exacerbated Texas’ teacher shortage. The bill would also expand and give more funding to the Teacher Incentive Allotment, a program that promises to pay teachers up to six-figure salaries if they meet certain performance requirements. About 4%, or 13,000 teachers, currently qualify for the program. The raises are largely tied to how well teachers improve scores on standardized tests. The bill adds funding for school districts to rehire retired teachers to stem the teacher shortage.
        • Teachers would be allowed to send their children to pre-K in the districts where they work if the program is available. However, pre-K is not mandated in Texas. The state will only cover the cost for students who do not speak English, are homeless, or have parents who are active members of the military.
        • The bill would also waive the cost of certain teacher certification exams when individuals take them for the first time. The bill instructs the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to conduct a “time study” to understand why teachers are spending time completing their work outside of their work hours. This was another recommendation from the teacher shortage task force.

        Status: The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

         

        Miscellaneous

        SB 418 (Paxton) 

        Voted favorably in the Senate Education Committee. 

        • Permits students to transfer to any school district with capacity.
        • Prohibits the district from charging tuition.

        Status: Now goes to the full Senate for consideration.


        SB 595 (Kolkhorst)

        Voted favorably in the Senate Education Committee.

        • Requires parental consent for psychological or psychiatric examination, testing, or treatment conducted by school district employees.

        Status: Now goes to the full Senate for consideration.


        SB 1072 (Hughes)

        Voted favorably in the Senate Education Committee.

        • Allows a school board to add to the duties of its school health advisory council the policies, procedures, and circumstances in which a district employee may discuss human sexuality with students, and a campus may host extracurricular events related to human sexuality.
        • District employees would be prohibited from discussing human sexuality with students, and campuses from hosting extracurricular events related to human sexuality unless the board adopted a policy stating otherwise.
        • The state attorney general or appropriate district or county attorney would be allowed to bring a cause of action on behalf of the state if they believe a school violates this law.

        Status: Now goes to the full Senate for consideration.


        SB 1515 (King)

        Passed the Senate. 

        • Requires that each public school classroom display a copy of the Ten Commandments. 
        • Must be displayed in a "conspicuous place" in a "size and typeface that is legible to a person with average vision from anywhere in the classroom." 
        • The act applies beginning with the 2023-2024 school year.

        Status: now goes to the House for consideration.


        SB 1396 (Middleton)

        Passed the Senate. 

        • This bill would require schools to allow time for students and employees to pray and read the Bible each school day.

        Status: now goes to the House for consideration.


        SB 1471 (Bettencourt)

        Voted favorably in the Senate Education Committee. 

        • Adds private schools to the list of schools that must do background checks on employees.

        Status: now goes to the Senate for consideration.


        Updated April 20, 2023

        Budget

        HB 1 (Appropriations)

        After marathon debate, the Texas House approved a $302.6 billion state budget with tax cuts and teacher and state employee raises.

        • $17.5 billion for property tax cuts
        • $5 billion in new money for schools
        • $1.6 billion on school safety
        • $3.5 billion for cost of living pensions increases for retired teachers

        Some lawmakers voting against the bill cited too little funding increase, as well as the ban on diversity, equity, and inclusion programs. Moreover, a recent legislative commission stated that special education is underfunded by $2 billion.

        The Texas Senate passed a $308 billion budget plan.

        • Major negotiations with the House must follow, as there is a $5 billion difference in state dollars between the two plans.
        • The additional $5 billion in the Senate plan would pay for teacher school raises and other educational programs, including costs associated with offering parents private school vouchers
        • $3.7 billion for cost of living adjustments for retired teachers
        • $650 million to improve security at schools. With the emergency spending bill, senators have approved nearly $1.3 billion for school security.
        • $900 million in new funding for mental health care, in addition to $2.3 billion in a separate spending bill.

        Both chambers are constitutionally required to pass a balanced budget each legislative session.

         

        Vouchers/Education Savings Accounts (ESAs)/
        Parental Empowerment

        The Texas Legislature Youth Health and Safety Committee began at 8 a.m. on April 11th and heard from speakers until after 2:30 a.m. mainly regarding vouchers, specifically House Bill 4340 (Frank).

        • It would establish an Education Savings Account to use public money to pursue educational alternatives. A number of speakers spoke both for and against the bill from North Texas.

        Status: The bill was left pending in committee.

        SB 8 (Creighton) is the Senate version of the bill.

        • The bill creates an $8,000 per year ESA with $10,000 per student to districts with enrollments of 20,000 or fewer students that lose due to taking ESAs.
        • Concerns include the fact that private schools are not required to report student achievement to the State of Texas, nor must they accept all children. Teachers also are not required to be certified. Texas already ranks 40th in per student spending and the rate of inflation since 2019 is 14.5% per the Comptroller.

        Status: The bill was approved in the Texas Senate on April 6th along party lines.

         

        School Safety

        SB (Nichols) is related to the issue of school safety.

        • The Texas Education Agency (TEA) would be given authority to monitor and enforce school safety plans at Texas schools.
        • The Office of Safety and Security would be created by the TEA with a Chief of School Safety appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate.
        • Districts who fail to meet state standards could have a conservator assigned to oversee school safety.
        • Schools will be subject to an intruder detection audit every year.
        • School safety funds will be allocated as follows: the largest school districts will receive $16,800 per campus per year, while smaller districts will be allotted $15,000.
        • Shortens the time before a chronically truant student is referred to truancy court
        • Requires notification of parents of any violent event on campus in a school district.
        • Requires districts to share disciplinary records and behavioral health assessment of new or transferring students.

        Status: the bill was passed by the Senate and now heads to the House for consideration.

         

        Funding

        HB 3708 (Buckley)

        • Relates to the creation of an allotment for non-enrolled students to participate in University Interscholastic League (UIL) activities.
        • The funding mainly affects home-schooled students
        • The funding would further offset expenses school districts incur when including these students in UIL activities.

        Status: the bill was left pending in committee

         

        Teacher Retention/Recruitment

        HB 11 (Dutton).

        • Related to the rights, certification, and compensation of public school educators, including financial and other assistance provided to public schools by the Texas Education Agency (TEA).

        Status: Reported favorably as substituted with changes related to the State School.

        SB (Creighton) is the Senate version of this legislation.

        Status: Passed April 6th by the Senate.

        SB 588 (Hughes)

        • Relating to creating a temporary educator certification for certain military service members and first responders. The Senate Committee on Education considered this bill on April 12th.
        • The bill is meant to address the ongoing teacher shortage in Texas.

        The Bill was not voted out of committee.

        HB 4646 (Thimesch, et al.) relates to the creation of a temporary teaching certificate for teachers certified by other states.

        • This bill is meant to address the ongoing teacher shortage in Texas.
        •  The teaching certificate would last for one year.

        Status: the bill was left pending in committee

         

        School Library Books

        HB 900 (Patterson) related to the regulation of library materials sold to or included in public school libraries. (HB 1655 Patterson is a duplicate).

        • Restricts explicit and adult-designated educational resources.
        • Will require new library standards for a collection.
        • TEA will post a list of vendors who do not comply with ratings.

        Status: Passed the House on April 19

        SB 13 (Paxton) is the senate version of this bill with some additions.

        • Requires ISDs to provide notice to parents of their option to receive notice every time their child obtains library material.
        • Requires Boards to create a local advisory council of at least five members with a majority being parents to ensure the local community values are reflected in school libraries.
        • Requires the Texas State Library and Archive Commission to propose school library standards to the SBOE for approval.
        • TEA would create a form to allow parents to challenge certain materials in school libraries.

        Status: Passed the Senate earlier in April

         

        Miscellaneous

        HB 4969 (Schaefer) related to a parent-directed supplemental services and instructional materials program for public schools; establishing an allotment under the Foundation School Program; authorizing a fee.

        • This bill would allow parents to purchase educational tools as needed for their children.

        The bill was left pending in committee.

        HB 2127 (Burrow) known as “the preemption bill,” the bill would override many types of regulations including local worker protections.

        • Supporters argue that the bill addresses the patchwork of local regulations which make it difficult for business owners to operate and harm the economy. Texas jobs are concentrated in urban areas.
        • The bill would block mandatory paid sick leave
        • Eliminate water breaks for construction workers in Austin and Dallas
        • Many feel the bill is so broad that it will be difficult to know the full extent of its ramifications, such as the age of when teens can work in Texas and bond programs.

        Status: House passed the bill.

        S 814 (Creighton) is the Senate’s counterpart

        Status: the bill now goes to the Senate for debate and a possible vote.

         

        Possibility of Special Session

        Lt. Governor Dan Patrick reiterated his calls for a special session in a recent interview with a reporter. The two major issues of concern are property taxes and vouchers. These issues and others must be resolved in the next 5 weeks before the regular session concludes.


        Updated March 30, 2023

        Budget 

        HB 1 (Bonnen)- appropriations bill 

        • Contains a rider that sets aside $5B that will invest more state funds in the following: Basic Allotment (adds $50), Teacher compensation, Teacher Incentive Allotment, School safety, and Instructional Materials Allotment.
        • 50% of new money must be spent on teacher compensation. 
        • Includes $17 B for property tax relief Status: House floor debate on April 6 

        SB 30 (Huffman) – supplemental appropriations bill

        • Includes $1.6 B for school safety for the 22-23 school year (rather than the $600 M  

        Status:  House floor debate on April 6

         

        Vouchers/ESA’s (Parental Empowerment)

        SB 8 (Creighton) 

        • Outlines parents’ rights over their children’s education, sets out guidelines for parental notifications regarding their children, allows parents to request a review of instructional materials, amends the grievance process, prohibits instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity, and requires all districts to create an instructional materials parent portal.
        • Creates an education savings account (ESA) voucher program for students currently in public school or who would be entering prekindergarten or kindergarten. 
        • Specifies the accounts would be managed by new, third-party "educational assistance organizations" to administer the application process, oversee the expenditure process and assist applicants/participants with understanding approved education-related expenses and finding approved educational providers. 
        • Requires the organizations to prioritize two-thirds of awards to applicants attending schools with C, D, or F ratings. 
        • Specifies that ESAs must be used on tuition and fees for a private school, instructional materials, uniforms, academic assessments, private tutors or teaching service, transportation, and educational therapies or services. 
        • Authorizes each participating student would receive $8,000 per year, with installments paid quarterly by the comptroller. 
        • Specifies that school districts with 20,000 or fewer students, will receive $10,000 for the first two years a student participates in the program.
        • Requires the educational assistance organizations to contract with a private entity to randomly audit accounts and student eligibility each biennium to ensure compliance. Note:  It is estimated that 25,000 students would participate in the first year of the program (2024-25 school year), with the number of participating students increasing after that. The bill is estimated to cause a net loss to the state of $527 million in 2025, with the cost rising to more than $1 billion by 2028.

        Status:  Adopted by Senate Education Committee; awaiting Senate floor debate

          

        School Safety 

        HB 3 (Burrows)

        • Raises student safety allotment to $10 and each campus gets $15,000.
        • Requires one armed security officer at each district campus.
        • Bond proceeds must be used by ISDs to come into compliance with the school safety standards.

        Status: Left pending in committee.

        HB 13 (King)

        • Raises student safety allotment to $100 per student. 
        • Requires district employees to complete mental health first aid training that will be reimbursed.
        • Creates a school guardian program allowing authorized employes to carry a weapon; establishes an annual $25K stipend for a school guardian.
        • Requires adoption of an active shooter preparedness plan.
        • Requires TEA & Texas School Safety Center to establish a list of approved vendors. 

        Status: Left pending in committee

         

        Teacher Retention/Recruitment

        HB 11 (Dutton)

        • Increases teacher salary by $80/month.
        • SBEC cannot sanction teacher’s certificate for abandoning contract within 45 days of first day of school for certain reasons stated in the bill. 
        • Modernizes minimum salary schedule.
        • Prohibits uncompensated continuing education.
        • A teacher’s child will automatically be eligible for PreK. Status: Referred to the House Public Education Committee

        Status: Referred to the House Public Education Committee

        SB 9 (Creighton) 

        • Prohibits sanctions against teachers who relinquish positions under various contracts for certain reasons and requires boards to provide – by the 15th day before the first instructional day – calendars for each teacher, librarian, and counselor containing days on which the employee is expected to work.
        • Creates a grant program to reimburse districts for increased TRS contributions when they hire teachers who retired prior to Sept. 1, 2022.
        • Includes a mandatory teacher pay increase with an additional increase for districts with fewer than 20,000 students.
        • Requires TEA to train and assist districts and charters regarding strategic compensation, staffing, and scheduling; grow-your-own teacher programs; and programs or strategies to establish clear and attainable behavior expectations while supporting students.
        • Creates a Texas Teacher Residency Partnership Program in which educator preparation programs would form partnerships with districts and charters to provide residency positions within schools.
        • Adds teachers to the list of individuals whose children are eligible for free public prekindergarten and requires a principal to create a return-to-class plan before a student can return to a classroom where they have been removed by the teacher under certain disciplinary circumstances.
        • Increases stipends under the Teacher Incentive Allotment and entitles districts to $2,000 for each teacher up to 40 participating in an approved mentoring program. Status: Reported from Senate Education Committee

        Status: Reported from Senate Education Committee

        Library Books HB 900 (Patterson)

        • Called the Reader Act which stands for Restricting Explicit and Adult-Designated Educational Resources.
        • Will require new library standards for collection.
        • School book vendors must provide ratings to books and may not sell a sexually explicit book to an ISD. 
        • TEA shall post on the website a list of schoolbook vendors who fail to comply with ratings. 
        • ISDs may not purchase a book from a schoolbook vendor on the list. 

        Status: Reported favorably as substitute

        SB 13 (Paxton) 

        • Requires districts to provide notice to parents of their option to receive notice each time their child obtains a school library material. 
        • Requires The Texas State Library and Archives Commission to propose school library standards to the SBOE for approval. 
        • Requires Boards to create local school library advisory councils of at least five members with a majority being parents to help ensure that local community values are reflected in school libraries.
        • Requires Boards to adopt policies for the procurement of library materials that incorporate the local school library advisory councils, provides public review of proposed materials, complies with approved standards, and provides for public approval or rejection by the board.
        • TEA would also have to create a form to allow parents to challenge inclusion of materials in local school libraries.

        Status:  Left pending in Senate Education Committee

         

        Accelerated Instruction/HB 4545 Flexibility

        HB 1416 (Bell, K)

        • Cleanup to HB 4545 (2021)
        • Abolishes acceleration learning committee.
        • Changes 30-hour targeted instruction to no less than 15 hours, or once a week, or summer school.
        • Relaxes 3-to-1 teacher/student ratio.

        Status: Left pending in committee

        HB 2162 (Dutton)

        • Requires districts and charters to contract with a private, third-party tutoring service and make the service available to a parent of a student who is determined to need reading intervention for two consecutive school years. 
        • Prohibits the cost for contracting tutoring service may not exceed $1,000. 
        • Requires the commissioner to adopt a list of reading instruments for student in K-3; and the instrument must include phonemic and phonological awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension; and it requires the commissioner to adopt procedures to ensure reading instruments are valid and reliable, identify students at risk for dyslexia, and apply the results of the reading instruments to intervention practices. 
        • Limits the administration of reading instruments to three times during a school year. 
        • Removes the option for a district-level committee to adopt a list of reading instruments for grades 1-3. 
        • Includes additional criteria that reading instruments must meet in order to be adopted by the commissioner. 
        • Requires reporting the results to parents within 30 days after the reading instrument is administered. 
        • Requires continued reading intervention for students in K-3 until the student achieves "satisfactory performance." 
        • Requires the commissioner to prioritize providing technical assistance in school districts with the highest rate of student performance below satisfactory on the reading instruments.

        Status:  Left pending in committee

         

        Virtual Education

        HB 681 (Bell, K.) 

        • Removes sunset dates regarding virtual instruction at a public school and certain teacher certification requirements for virtual courses instituted during the pandemic.

        Status:  Left pending in committee

        SB 1861 (Bettencourt) 

        • Authorizes the commissioner to indefinitely authorize school districts and charters wishing to operate full-time virtual campuses or full-time hybrid campuses. 
        • Requires the commissioner to revoke virtual campuses that receive a D or F for two out of three years or perform unacceptably according to the commissioner’s approved performance evaluation. 
        • Requires the commissioner to evaluate the performance of a private or third-party acting as a whole campus virtual instruction provider for a district or charter. 
        • Prohibits students from being forced to take virtual courses and authorizes students to participate in extracurricular activities as if they were taking courses in person. 
        • Prohibits teachers from being coerced into providing virtual instruction (VI) or be required to teach virtual and in-person courses during the same class period.  
        • Requires teachers to take professional development in VI and have sufficient previous experience.  
        • Authorizes a school to charge tuition and fees to a student who is not eligible to enroll in public school or who “is not enrolled in a course not offered” at the school.  

        Status:  Left pending in committee

         

        High Quality Instructional Materials

        HB 1605 (Buckley)

        • 49-page bill on instructional materials and the allotment.
        • Limits ISDs to $40/student for SBOE-approved textbook and $20/student for OER materials.
        • Immunity for teacher who teaches SBOE-approved instructional materials. 
        • The agency may contract for the purchase of instructional materials/ technology for use by ISDs.

        Status: Left pending in committee.

        SB 2565 (Creighton)

        • Requires the commissioner to create or secure open education resource instructional material for public schools to voluntarily use free of charge. 
        • Requires districts to make teaching materials and tests readily available to parents in person and, if applicable, through a parent portal.
        • Requires Boards to establish a process by which a parent of a student may request an instructional material review.
        • Requires districts to provide foundation course teachers with full subject tier one instructional materials unless the teacher’s contract states otherwise.
        • Creates an allotment for schools, $40 per student, for costs incurred procuring instructional materials under these new provisions. 

        Status:  Left pending in committee

         

        Miscellaneous

        HB 8 (Van Deaver)

        • Establishes the financial aid for swift transfer (FAST) program to allow eligible free/reduced students to enroll at no cost to the student in dual credit courses.
        • Requires ISD to determine whether a student meets the criteria and to notify the IHE.
        • Requires a district to notify the parent of each student enrolled in grade nine or above of the availability of funding.
        • Requires TEA and the THECB to adopt rules as necessary to implement the FAST program.

        Status:  Reported from House Higher Education Committee   

        HB 5121 (Hinojosa)

        • Seeks to slow down the raising of the cut scores related to CCMR indicators.
        • Provides direction to TEA to ensure a cut score necessary for a district to receive an “A”. 

        Status:  Referred to House Public Education Committee

        SB 946 (Sparks) 

        • Requires all school district elections authorizing the issuance of bonds or a tax increase be held in November.  

        Status:  Left pending in committee

         

        Property Tax Relief

        HB 2 (Meyer)

        • Compresses school district Tier 1 M&O rates by $0.15.
        • Applies a 5% appraisal cap to all real property. 

        Status:  Reported from House Ways and Means Committee

        SB 3 (Bettencourt)

        • Increases homestead exemption from $40,000 to $70,000.
        • Provides hold harmless for schools on the M&O side of the equation and a hold harmless for losses on I&S for debt authorized before September 1, 2022.

        Status:  Passed out of the Senate

      Updates

      Fort Worth ISD 88th Session Texas Legislative Representatives

      • Dr. Camille Rodriguez, President, District 1

        Senate District 9


        House District 90

        House District 95




        Tobi Jackson, District 2

        Senate District 9

        Senate District 10


        House District 90

        House District 95

         

         

        Quinton 'Q' Phillips, District 3

        Senate District 9

        Senate District 10


        House District 95




        Wallace Bridges, District 4

        Senate District 10


        House District 90

        House District  95




        Kevin Lynch, District 5

        Senate District 9

        Senate District 10


        House District 90

        House District 97

        House District 99




        Anne Darr, District 6

        Senate District 9

        Senate District 10


        House District 95

        House District 97





        Dr. Michael Ryan, District 7

        Senate District  9

        Senate District 10


        House District 97





        Anael Luebanos, District 8

        Senate District 9

        Senate District 10


        House District 90

        House District 95

        House District 97





        Roxanne Martinez, 2nd VP, District 9

        Senate District 9


        House District 90

        House District 93

        House District 95