State education hearings, scheduled and anticipated

The state Senate Education Committee will meet next Monday, November 6, at 10 a.m. at the University of Houston Hilton to receive testimony on the policy and financial implications of Hurricane Harvey for public education. The committee will specifically consider these two interim study topics:

1) Assess and make recommendations for state and local K-12 hurricane recovery efforts. Examine the crisis management response of the Texas Education Agency and identify changes to the Education Code that would expedite the state response to school districts and public charter schools in the aftermath of any disaster.

2) Determine the impact on school finance of possible state actions such as, but not limited to, changes to student enrollment calculations or property valuation. Assess student displacement caused by Hurricane Harvey and consider actions the Commissioner of Education may take to adjust attendance levels or calculations in the wake of a disaster. Make recommendations for legislative action including potential changes to the process and timeliness of payments to districts by private insurers, FEMA and the state.

As yet we are not sure if the hearing will be livestreamed, but we’ll let you know.

On the same day, the steering committee appointed to conduct a long-range planning initiative for the State Board of Education will be meeting back in Austin. Presentations and discussion will focus on family engagement and empowerment along with equity and access to educational funding, advanced courses, and technology.   The committee has three further meetings scheduled for Austin and also will host two-hour evening community forums in other locales as follows:

  • ​Nov.  2- El Paso Community College, Administration Building Auditorium, 9050 Viscount Blvd., El Paso
  • Nov. 14 – Region 7 Education Service Center, Oak Room, 909 North Longview St., Kilgore
  • Dec. 5 – Region 11 Education Service Center, Rooms A-D, 1451 S. Cherry Lane, White Settlement
  • Feb. 8 – Region 4 Education Service Center, 7145 West Tidwell, Houston

According to TEA, the recommendations prepared by the steering committee, as well as results from an online survey and the community meetings held around the state, will be considered by the board when it ultimately adopts a new long-range plan (tentatively scheduled for fall 2018).

Anticipated but not yet scheduled is an important hearing of the House Public Education Committee that will explore whether accountability requirements and sanctions should be eased to reflect the massive educational disruption caused by Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath. Stay tuned for the announcement of a hearing date and venue.