The Texas School Alliance (TSA) and Texas Urban Council of Superintendents (TUC) have joined efforts in writing a letter to Gov. Abbott addressing the concern of reopening schools in the fall. Fearing a possible reduction in funding due to likely lower attendance rates this year, school districts face uncertainty as they attempt to set up their budget necessary to handle the crisis.
The letter requests: 1) the Commissioner of Education waive student attendance requirements for the following school year now that conditions are significantly worse than they were in the spring when schools first closed; 2) setting a floor for average daily attendance (ADA) for the next year, meaning that no district would need to think of reducing staff or other budgets during a critical time that students and families need the most support, and; 3) allow for districts to be flexible in designing their instructional systems that meet the needs of families and staff during these worsening conditions. Some districts might be able to hold in-person classes, but for our most vulnerable districts where the virus is spreading at greater rates, online learning might be the only safe option.
These are the necessary steps to take to ensure the health and safety of all students without districts fearing the loss of much needed funding. Countless educators, school staff, and now superintendents have come together to express their concerns. We don’t always agree with superintendents, but when we do, it’s time for the governor to listen.