Texas House committee hears news on school finance, state takeovers of school districts, and local accountability plans

On Monday, the Texas House Public Education Committee met to discuss the recent major school finance overhaul in HB 3 and HB 22, the bill that requires state takeover of districts if as little as one campus is consistently low-performing. 

The commissioner started the discussion on the many confusing aspects of the HB 22 law. He explained that 13 school districts require some sort of TEA intervention next year, but the statute does not clarify exactly what should be done. He said that takeover should only happen “when it is very justified.” Chairman Huberty said he would much rather have the legislature address a statutory fix with stakeholder input than for TEA to attempt to clarify through the less visible rulemaking process. Texas AFT agrees that the many unintended and harmful consequences of HB 22 should be delayed during the interim and addressed thoroughly during the next legislative session. 

During the discussion of HB 3, a panel of superintendents testified that TEA has denied approval for districts wishing to implement an innovative, local accountability plan. The issue that TEA had with these locally-developed plans was the lack of emphasis on the STAAR standardized test. The panel also asked for a delay on a commissioner rule that conflates “D” ratings with “F” ratings, causing many more districts to be subjected to state intervention. These superintendents also raised an alarm that many districts are still unaware of how much additional funding should be provided to their respective districts, causing many to provide less of a raise to teachers and support personnel.

For more information on HB 3, TEA has provided a series of 30-minute videos including subjects like the teacher incentive plan, reading practices, special education, and dyslexia. You can view them here.