LEGISLATIVE ACTION UPDATES

HB3/SB3 - SCHOOL FINANCE REFORM

The Senate Education Committee will have its hearing on school finance reform TODAY, Tuesday, April 16. They will discuss House Bill 3 (HB3), which has already passed in the Texas House of Representatives, and it is important to contact everyone on the committee (links available HERE) to let them know that you support comprehensive school finance reform and especially an increase in the basic allotment. We need to be sure that the school finance reform that comes out of this session is comprehensive. Further, we need to be sure that the legislators do NOT require a special session to accomplish school finance reform—it is currently budget season, and districts need appropriate budget information ASAP so they can plan for the next school year.

If you are concerned about dedicated funding to Gifted and Talented (GT) programs, you can also mention to your senators that you do not want to repeal the GT allotment in Texas Education Code (TEC) Section 42.156. If you are interested in advocating for or learning more about GT education in Texas you can sign up with the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented (TAGT) here: https://www.txgifted.org/advocacy

HB242 - STAAR TEST REFORM

Texas PTA supports HB 4242, which urges lawmakers to reform the STAAR test. The bill as written would stop the penalties associated with the 2018-19 STAAR test and allow the test to be vetted by independent groups of educators to assess if the test is reliable in its readability. Several studies have found that the STAAR reading passages are inappropriately difficult and above grade level (or inconsistent in grade level readability) for grades 3-8. If you would like to advocate for this, please contact your state representatives and tell them that you support HB 4242. Information on STAAR reform bills here: https://www.statesman.com/news/20190409/committee-tackles-bills-targeting-staar

FIX SCHOOL FINANCE TOOLKIT

Finally, HISD has a Fix School Finance tool that will allow you to contact all of the members of the Senate Education Committee at once. You can find that here: https://www.houstonisd.org/fixschoolfinance The toolkit includes sample tweets and sample emails.

Important note: When contacting your representatives, be clear in the HB/SB that you are supporting/not supporting. The representatives’ offices keep tallies of constituent support/lack of support, and they use this information to make their votes.