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TASB History — How It All Began

TASB has been working on behalf of Texas public schools since 1949. We provide innovative solutions and services to help lessen the burden of government.

The Texas Association of School Boards was established in 1949 — a landmark year for public education in Texas. After years of neglect due to the Depression and World War II, schools in the Lone Star State were finally the focus of needed reform that year via the Gilmer-Aikin laws enacted by the Texas Legislature. The same laws established the Texas Education Agency as the state’s administrative agent to supervise the public school system.

Leading up to that year of change, a small group of school trustees in the Houston area had been meeting to discuss the formation of a state association of local school board members. They wanted local school boards across the state to be able to share experiences and information with each other and to form a unified voice that supported and promoted public education.

In November 1949, their dreams were realized. Approximately 100 trustees gathered in Fort Worth to establish the new nonprofit member organization that would initially serve 26 school districts. Today, TASB serves nearly all 1,025 school boards in Texas. With headquarters located in Austin, the outreach of the Association spans every region of the state.

TASB Throughout the Years

Take a journey through the decades to learn about TASB's long history of supporting its members with high-quality solutions and services.

School Improvement Study

Texas public schools, like all schools across the country, suffer from neglect after the Great Depression and World War II. To study improvements needed, including a more efficient district structure and the reform of public school finance, the Texas Legislature forms the Gilmer-Aikin Committee.

Major Effects From Gilmer-Aikin Laws

The 51st Texas Legislature passes the Gilmer-Aikin laws, which will reorganize state administration and establish the Foundation School Program and the Texas Education Agency. School districts are consolidated in the interest of higher efficiency and better funding.

The Founding of TASB

In November, a small group of school trustees gathers in Austin to charter the Texas Association of School Boards. The purpose of the nonprofit organization is to educate Texas school board members about their roles and responsibilities, inform them about education issues, and help them provide input on improving public education in Texas.

TASB’s First Publication

TASB releases the first issue of Texas School Board Newsletter (the first TASB publication for members) in March.

The First Convention

On November 24, TASB holds its first convention. Board members from across the state attend three sessions and a business meeting at the event, held in San Antonio. Membership grows from 26 to 170 by the end of the year.

Texas Committee of 10

The Texas Committee of 10 is established, with five representatives each from TASB and the Texas Association of School Administrators. The committee’s goal is to study the working relationships between board members and superintendents.

Resources for School Boards

TASB publishes the premier version of its Handbook for Texas School Board Members.

The First TASA | TASB Convention

TASB and TASA hold their first joint convention, enabling a more robust selection of topics.

Council Established

TASB develops the Texas Council for Public Education, a liaison group made up of presidents and executive officers of major organizations and state agencies that deal with public education.

Members Form Delegate Assembly

TASB members hold their first Delegate Assembly on Sept. 23 in Austin, after voting to create it in 1966. At the Assembly, members determine the overall direction of the organization — from electing who will serve on the TASB Board to approving education issues that will be included in the TASB Advocacy Agenda.

Outreach to Legislators

The first TASB legislative program is established. Weekly legislative reports to members begin the next year, and in 1974 the first Legislative Network will include at least one trustee from each school district in the interest of expanding outreach to legislators on education issues.

Policy Service Begins

Although TASB has assisted members with policy issues since the early years, the Association begins phasing in the official Policy Service division over a four-year period to develop model policies, form a policy clearinghouse, and provide an updating service for districts. A comprehensive Policy Reference Manual will premier in 1976, when legislation requires all school boards to codify policies that govern school operations. Localized policy manuals for districts will also be created that year.

Field Reps Cover the State

Field Services takes form as TASB staff begin to support school districts going through the policy development process. In 1991, Field Services representatives will be dispersed into regional offices throughout the state to serve as a primary resource for information about TASB programs.

Workers’ Comp Fund Established

After the Texas Legislature passes SB 283, requiring districts to provide workers’ compensation for all employees, TASB creates the Workers’ Compensation Self-Insurance Fund, essentially beginning TASB risk management services. (It will continue as one of many offerings of the TASB Risk Management Fund in the future.)

Assistance With Unemployment Compensation

TASB establishes the Unemployment Compensation Group Account, offering services tailored to school districts, as districts are now required by law to provide the coverage.

GR Leads Advocacy Efforts

The advocacy arm of TASB has always been in place but begins to be identified as Governmental Relations this year with the publication of TASB Legislative News and staff representation of school district views at legislative committee meetings.

Attorneys have already been assisting Policy Service as legal reviewers when, as Legal Services, they begin assisting members with issues that require legal research, presentations, and written summaries of legal developments.

Connecting School Attorneys

The TASB Council of School Attorneys is established to create a statewide forum on practical legal problems faced by local public schools and their attorneys and to promote closer relationships among school attorneys.

Getting the Word Out

Informing members has been a critical TASB function since the beginning, but in 1978 the Communications division is defined. Besides promoting public education through campaigns and recognition programs, Communications will eventually extend its reach to members through the magazine, website, social media, and other channels.

Assisting School Board Development

Training has been a function of TASB from the beginning, under different divisions, but in 1979 it is designated as its own division, Education Services. Later iterations will include Leadership Team Services and Board Development Services, providing not only training for school trustees but also consulting services, conferences/events, and information resources.

The TASB Legal Assistance Fund, a joint effort by TASB, the Texas Association of School Administrators, and the TASB Council of School Attorneys, is created to provide support to school districts that are defending legal challenges with the potential to affect public schools statewide.

Additional Risk Coverage Formed

Because school districts are having trouble purchasing property/casualty insurance (premiums are high and options limited in the commercial market), TASB forms another self-insurance program, the Property/Casualty Joint Account.

A Member Magazine

Texas Lone Star magazine debuts, replacing the quarterly Texas School Board Journal and newsletters from various divisions.

Texas School Services Foundation

The Texas School Services Foundation is created as a nonprofit organization to function as a separate legal entity administering services in the risk management area. By 1987, TASB and TSSF will begin combining some common services (such as communications and data processing) to benefit members. When an IRS ruling in 1999 clears the way for streamlining TASB’s structure into one entity, TASB and TASB, Inc., merge to become one entity: TASB.

Recognizing Superintendents

TASB debuts the Superintendent of the Year recognition program.

New Service for Personnel Management

Although TASB has previously assisted members with personnel relations, in 1984 TASB and TASA develop Personnel Services jointly to provide specialized services for personnel management in education, as many HB 72 measures are affecting personnel. Localized consulting services will begin in 1986. Eventually, the service will be solely administered by TASB and will acquire a new name, HR Services.

Texas Learning Technology Group

Because math and science education are lacking, TASB creates the Texas Learning Technology Group, in partnership with the National Science Center Foundation and 12 Texas school districts. The goal is to involve educational groups in the integration of new technologies into curriculum delivery systems, evaluate their effectiveness, and provide support to schools in teaching technology. A physical science curriculum using interactive videodisc technology is created and will have several years of success nationwide.

Keeping Track of Credit Hours

Continuing education credit is offered for the first time at the 1986 TASA | TASB Convention, as the passing of HB 72 requires school trustees to receive 20 hours of accredited training in 12 standards set by the State Board of Education. TASB creates a continuing education credit database for all Texas board members in 1986. In 2001, members will be able to access this data online through the TASB Continuing Education Credit Reporting Service.

School Cash Management

TASB develops the Texas School Cash Management Program, responding to scant funding provided by HB 72 and the necessity of school districts to stretch already limited funds to meet mandates.

TCER Advances Education Research

In response to the Edgewood ruling on school finance, TASB establishes the Texas Center for Education Research to serve as an independent research facility providing reliable, unbiased information on school finance and other education topics.

School Building Compliance and Planning

An environmental program for school districts is created in response to increased regulations for public buildings and will eventually expand into facilities planning. The name of this TASB service will become Facility Services in 2016.

Superintendent Search Support

TASB begins assisting school districts with superintendent selection, initially as Superintendent Search Services and later as Executive Search Services.

SLI Is Launched

The first TASB Summer Leadership Institute is held in Austin, blending two events offered in the late 1980s: Preparation for Leadership and Board Presidents and New Board Members Institute.

Grassroots Advocacy

To further advocacy efforts, TASB initiates regional Grassroots Meetings, held in even-numbered years. Members gather at these meetings to discuss issues that will eventually be crafted into TASB Advocacy Agenda priorities, which guide TASB during the legislative session.

Investment Pool for Schools

The Lone Star Investment Pool, a TASB affiliated entity, is created to help school districts maximize investment income to benefit educational improvements.

Helping Leaders Grow

Leadership TASB, a program designed to allow experienced school board trustees to be proactive, visionary leaders who promote educational excellence for Texas public schoolchildren, launches with its first cohort.

Special Education Solutions

A year after the School Health and Related Services program is implemented, TASB begins to assist school districts in documenting their student services and recouping eligible funds through SHARS and Medicaid Administrative Claiming. The service will eventually be known as Special Education Solutions.

Recognizing School Boards

A new TASB program, School Board Recognition Month, gives parents and students the opportunity to thank school board members for their invaluable dedication and service.

Online Policy Assistance

Policy Online becomes the first interactive application on the TASB website.

Risk Management Fund Created

With origins in 1974, when the TASB Workers’ Compensation Self-Insurance Fund was established, TASB risk management programs are combined into one multi-line fund called the TASB Risk Management Fund (a TASB affiliated entity). Coverages include employee benefits, property/casualty, unemployment compensation, and workers’ compensation.

Purchasing Help With BuyBoard

TASB, in conjunction with Region 2 ESC, Texas Municipal League, and service contractor Ambac Connect, Inc., creates the Texas Local Government Statewide Purchasing Cooperative and introduces a customized electronic purchasing system, BuyBoard.® The next year, TASB will assume ownership (it is now a TASB affiliated entity).

Advocacy Efforts Strengthen

The TASB School Board Advocacy Network opens to school board members from across the state.

New Electricity Pool

TASB creates an electricity aggregation pool to offer member school districts better rates than they could receive flying solo in the state’s newly deregulated electricity marketplace.

Convenient Training

TASB launches the Online Learning Center so that members can receive training at their convenience in their own home or office.

BoardBook® Assists With Meeting Prep

Created in response to an increasing demand for paperless board meetings, BoardBook® is designed to help school boards reduce time and costs associated with compiling and distributing board meeting agendas and materials. A new version, BoardBook® Premier, will appear in 2019.

First Public Created

First Public, a TASB affiliated entity, is introduced as a financial services company that offers expanded financing and investing services for school districts. Its precursor was TASB Financial Services. A wholly owned subsidiary of TASB, First Public offers the Lone Star Investment Pool and TASB Benefits Cooperative.

Training for Administrative Staff

TASB welcomes nearly 200 administrative professionals to its first TASB Administrative Professionals Conference.

Employee Benefits for District Staff

The TASB Benefits Cooperative, a TASB affiliated entity associated with employee-/employer-paid benefits for school districts since 2002 and fully formed in 2007, is administered by First Public. (Previously, an Employee Benefits Joint Account was offered through TASB Risk Management.)

DataCentral for Personnel Managers

TASB HR Services launches DataCentral, an online data tool for creating customized survey reports on salaries.

SLI Expands

To accommodate growing participation, TASB begins hosting the Summer Leadership Institute conference in two locations, San Antonio and Fort Worth.

Electricity and Energy Services

The TASB Energy Cooperative, a TASB affiliated entity, is created to help governmental entities with the procurement of electricity, transportation fuels, and other types of energy products, commodities, and services.

The Star Keeps Members up to Date

TASB’s electronic newsletter for members, The Star, debuts to complement Texas Lone Star magazine with important reminders and updates on deadlines, events, and education news.

BuyBoard Goes National

The BuyBoard National Purchasing Cooperative is created as a service to governmental entities outside of Texas.

Assistance During Funding Crisis

TASB responds to the state’s school funding crisis by waiving registration fees to key training events in the upcoming fiscal year. Also, the TASB Risk Management Fund freezes rates, reducing costs an additional 10% through the use of Members’ Equity Credits, and provides a two-year rate guarantee for most Fund members.

Serving Community Colleges

TASB has served community colleges since its inception in 1949, originally as entities governed by member school districts and later as independent educational institutions, with the first joining in 1974. In 2012, enhanced services are formed and defined as Community College Services.

Student Video Contest Debuts

The TASB Student Video Contest debuts, encouraging Texas public school students to create short videos showing why their schools are outstanding. The contest, held every other year, awards cash prizes to winning school districts.

A New Podcast

The podcast TASB Talks joins the list of TASB sources of information, featuring Texas education experts and focusing on subjects of interest to school leaders.

Service to Members During Pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic causes schools to shut down, TASB begins to transition conferences, workshops, and programs to a virtual format for members, while Legal Services produces numerous FAQ documents related to COVID-19 and HR Services produces 180 articles for the HR Exchange newsletter.

Additional Support for Special Populations

TASB introduces Student Solutions, offering a broad range of services for staff involved with special populations in schools. Services include program reviews, staffing analysis, professional development, and customized support.

Training New Trustees

TASB Board Development Services launches the Texas Trustee Institute, an immersive learning experience designed to support new trustees.

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