Northside ISD gears up for the Legislative Session

December 31, 2010

The 82nd Legislative Session begins Jan. 11, and of the roughly 7,000 bills that will be introduced, about a quarter of them will be related to education.

In addition, school districts stand to lose a significant amount of state funding as legislators grapple with a huge budget deficit.

Northside ISD staff and Trustees will make sure Bexar County’s delegation of senators and representatives have the information they need as they enact legislation that affects students and schools.

“The decisions our state elected officials make this Legislative Session could have a huge impact on public education,” Superintendent John Folks said. “We want to make sure they understand the repercussions of their decisions.”

Before each new Legislative Session, the NISD Board of Trustees traditionally adopts “legislative priorities” in the areas of finance, governance, and school choice. Here are Northside’s 2011 Legislative Priorities:

FINANCE 

  • Support legislation that would provide for an equitable formula funded school finance system that allows community access to equal amounts of total revenue per local tax effort. Allow school districts to fully capture the benefit of increasing local property values and recognize communities’ unique challenges arising from differences in student populations.
  • Support legislation that would increase facilities funding to include a higher percentile of students who would benefit from the funding and allow for the needs to be met at a lower tax rate. Legislation would enhance the current Instructional Facilities Allotment and Existing Debt Allotment.
  • Support increasing state funding for technology, including distance learning programs, equipment, online testing, technology based interventions, information management systems, and staff training. The Legislature should begin by appropriating funds it has previously committed to $60 per student.
  • Support an increase in funding formula sufficient to maintain and operate a pupil transportation system, especially in light of the current inflationary pressures on the instructional budget. No such adjustments have been made since the last legislative adjustment of the formula in 1985.
  • Support legislation that provides funding for implementation of programs such as Student Success Initiatives, Extended Year / Summer School and Accelerated Instruction.
  • Oppose the use of the Permanent School Funds to provide financing of Charter School Facilities.
  • Support the level of Undesignated Fund Balance that provides academic and financial stability to the school district, students, local taxpayers and the community.
  • Support legislation requiring community housing development organizations to pay full ad valorem taxes to public schools when using tax exempt bonds to acquire existing affordable housing (with the intent to renovate).
  • Support legislation on access of equalized maintenance and operation tax rate without voter approval.
  • Support legislation prohibiting unfunded mandates.
  • Support funding for increased teacher compensation.

GOVERNANCE

  • Support legislation that would amend the Texas Government Code to authorize school districts to impose construction residential impact fees on residential developers.

SCHOOL CHOICE

  • Oppose private school vouchers, tuition tax credits, and other such programs funded with public tax dollars.