The 83rd Legislative Session convenes Tuesday, Jan. 8, and Texas lawmakers will have tough decisions to make about school funding, accountability, and testing.
Superintendent Brian T. Woods said Northside ISD staff and Trustees will communicate regularly with Bexar County’s delegation of senators and representatives to make sure they have the information they need as they vote on legislation that affects students and schools.
“Over the next few months, legislators will pass laws that could have a dramatic and far-reaching impact on Texas public schools,” Woods said. “We will do everything we can 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, assessment, and accountability. Here are Northside’s 2013 Legislative Priorities:
- Support legislation that would fund student enrollment growth and recognize the challenges of the diversity of student populations.
- Support legislation that provides funding for Fast Growth Adjustment.
- Support a school finance system that calculates district revenue based on prior year values and fully funds current law provisions protecting districts that experience a rapid decline in property values.
- Support legislation that improves funding for facilities (Existing Debt Allotment & Instructional Facilities Allotment) to include a higher percentile of students.
- Support legislation that allows school districts to set maintenance and operations tax rates without voter approval.
- Support measures to maintain a defined benefit plan for the Teacher Retirement System.
- Support legislation that links state accountability standards and funding formulas.
- Support legislation that eliminates the 50 cent test that is used to evaluate new bond sales before the bonds are approved by the Attorney General.
- Oppose private school vouchers, tuition tax credits, or any private program funded with public tax dollars.
- Oppose cuts to the general revenue public education budget.
- Oppose any legislation that limits a district’s ability to maintain a healthy fund balance, penalizes healthy fund balances, or dictates the use of fund balances.
- Oppose the use of the Permanent School Fund to provide funding, credit enhancement, or financing for Charter School Facilities.
- Support legislation that returns control over calendars to local boards.
- Use the assessment results as a diagnostic tool to inform instructional decisions that support individual students.
- Support the permanent repeal of using the EOC tests as 15% of a student’s grade.
- Support funding for the actual cost of providing any and all programs required in legislation, rules and/or regulations.
- Support the reduction of mandatory testing by any of several means, including a reduction in the number of subjects and grade levels tested, and lessening the mandatory retesting associated with EOC tests.
- Support an accountability system that is understandable and provides meaningful and relevant information.
- Allow for independent school districts to use accountability information to hold themselves accountable to their communities rather than a one-size-fits-all state mandate.