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2022-24 TASB Advocacy Agenda

TASB’s Advocacy Agenda is created by Texas school board members. See the legislative issues most important to Texas trustees in the official 2022-24 Advocacy Agenda.

As amended September 24, 2022, by the TASB Delegate Assembly

TASB Advocacy Agenda Cornerstone Principles

The following Cornerstone Principles guide TASB's Advocacy Agenda and organizational conduct.

  • Excellence in student achievement for all Texas students and fair accountability for academic progress.
  • Locally elected trustees and locally governed and controlled public schools.
  • Safe and secure schools that foster the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of students and staff.
  • Adequate and equitable funding levels to provide an exceptional education in a safe environment.
  • Efficient and effective school management.
  • Strong family and community engagement to create optimal opportunities for each child
  • Fulfillment of public schools’ unique constitutional duty to educate every child by preventing the diversion of public funds through vouchers, tax credits, education savings grants, and other mechanisms.
  • Promotion of equity, intentional eradication of systemic racism, and the recognition of all cultures and races that have contributed to the rich history of Texas and the United States to include support for diversity and cultural awareness initiatives throughout the state.

TASB Advocacy Agenda Priorities

Teacher Recruitment and Retention

TASB calls upon the Texas Legislature to provide additional state funding to help elevate the profession of teaching by providing more substantial financial aid and other programs to incentivize students to enter the field, increasing educator and staff compensation, improving staff health and retirement benefits, and decreasing the burdensome mandates that increase an educator's workload.

Student and Staff Mental Health

TASB calls upon the Texas Legislature to improve access to evidence-based mental health services and mental health professionals either within a district or a collaborative network. At the same time, the Legislature should reduce the burden on educators and districts to identify and solve student mental health issues.

Vouchers

TASB calls upon the Texas Legislature to prevent any transfer of public funds using vouchers, education savings accounts, or corporate tax credits to private schools or individuals, including the expansion of virtual instruction by corporations.

State Accountability

TASB calls upon the Texas Legislature to expand opportunities for locally determined accountability frameworks; to continue to reduce mandatory state assessments by eliminating those not required by federal law; to remove the high stakes inherent in the A-F rating system and assessments that impact students, teachers, and schools; to reduce the time students spend taking state tests; and to prohibit standardized tests from serving as the primary indicator of school and student performance.

School Finance

TASB calls upon the Texas Legislature to update the school finance system and basic allotment using student enrollment and taking into account regional cost differences to more equitably distribute future funding, reduce recapture payments, increase funding for student education, and teacher compensation, and provide automatic property tax relief for taxpayers; in addition, any and all excess “revenue in excess of entitlement” must be returned to the basic allotment and not into the general fund or other fund not benefitting traditional public education.

School Facilities

TASB calls upon the Texas Legislature to recognize the disparities in property values and adequately fund and update the state’s current facilities programs or create a statewide funding mechanism to assist school districts with building new facilities that accommodate student enrollment changes, reduce the need for additional debt, and renovate aging facilities with safe and efficient buildings that are conducive to meeting the needs of students in a modern classroom.

Ballot Language Honesty

TASB calls upon the Texas Legislature to allow school district bond and voter-approved tax ratification propositions to include ballot language that accurately informs voters of what the measure seeks to accomplish.

Restoring Local Control

TASB calls upon the Texas Legislature to remove existing statutes and prevent new legislation that grants unelected state officials and executive agency staff discretion over how to implement legislation, thereby providing more clarity regarding state law as well as preserving the governance structure of local school boards.

Parental Partnerships

TASB embraces parents as partners with educators, administrators and school trustees in their children’s education as outlined in Chapter 26 of the Texas Education Code and encourages productive engagement between them without undue involvement from the state.

Charter Schools

TASB calls upon the Texas Legislature to restrict the expansion of charter schools and to reduce the impact charter schools and other educational institutions receiving public funds have on the state budget and local public schools by limiting funding to a rate no higher than that of local districts. The Legislature should increase the transparency and accountability of charter schools and other educational institutions receiving public funds, especially with regard to student enrollment processes/recruitment, student expulsion practices, business operations, and expenditures.

Preventing Community Censorship

TASB supports the statutory duty and right of local school boards to advocate and associate for the educational needs of all students and communities.

TASB Advocacy Agenda Resolutions

Accountability and Assessment

TASB advocates for an accountability system in which districts that have demonstrated sustained academic excellence over a period of time are able to opt out of state mandates.

TASB advocates for an accountability system that does not apply the same sanctions to campuses and districts that receive a D rating over three consecutive years as the sanctions applied to F-rated campuses.

TASB advocates for an accountability system in which the Texas Education Agency informs school districts about accountability standards no later than the beginning of the school year in which the standards are to be applied.

TASB advocates for an accountability system that includes a college, career, and military readiness indicator for middle school.

TASB advocates for a statewide work group to develop a new accountability system that appropriately measures all factors of an effective education and makes use of the options and flexibility offered by the Every Student Succeeds Act.

TASB opposes providing funding or bonuses to school districts under the Foundation School Program on the basis of students’ performance on a statewide test.

TASB advocates for district flexibility in online testing to allow for local STAAR placement committees to make determinations based on individual students and district needs.

TASB advocates for allowing students to test in their native language.

TASB advocates for recalibrating statewide accountability to create an equitable and accurate accountability system that accounts for the long-term impact of the pandemic and monitors student progress.

Charter Schools and Privatization of Public Education

TASB advocates for legislation that would authorize the State Board of Education to exercise veto authority over charter expansions approved by the commissioner of education.

TASB advocates for legislation that excludes charter schools with an enrollment of 5,000 or more from receiving the small- and mid-size school allotment.

TASB advocates for the requirement that any school using the term “public school” in their name or in any description of their organization (1) must be governed by a locally elected board of trustees and (2) before spending any money acquired from the state on capital improvement projects, must gain the support of the residents of the local school district where those improvements are planned through a local ballot initiative.

TASB advocates for a process for considering school capacity when a new charter application or expansion amendment is submitted to prevent oversaturation in a particular geographic area.

TASB advocates for legislation that prevents the use of the Permanent School Fund to back charter school bonds with a low underlying rating.

Disaster Recovery

TASB advocates for flexibility in accountability and funding issues related to natural disasters, such as waivers, property tax calculations, and attendance hold-harmless provisions.

TASB advocates for disaster response.

Governance

TASB calls upon the commissioner of education, State Board of Education, and Texas Education Agency to collaborate with public education stakeholders when drafting legislation and rules to enact policy that is in the best interest of students and schools.

TASB opposes legislation that increases ballot language requirements, limits dates upon which elections may be held, or creates additional requirements for voter-approved tax rate elections and bond elections, such as voter turnout thresholds.

TASB advocates for legislation that protects school district fund balances.

TASB advocates for the extension of Chapter 313 of the tax code.

TASB advocates for a statutory rate for electricity for school districts.

TASB advocates for legislation that reviews modifications made to the state maximum compressed tax rate outlined in House Bill 3 (86th Regular Session).

TASB opposes adding measures or initiatives that would designate use of Foundation School Program funding for mandated programs thereby lessening local discretionary funding per pupil.

TASB advocates for legislation requiring a study on the true cost of educating all students and should include the cost of complying with state mandates.

TASB advocates for the school district’s ability to provide accurate and timely taxable value information to the Texas Education Agency in setting the maintenance-and-operations (M&O) maximum compressed tax rate for the corresponding tax year.

TASB advocates for districts to maintain local control over all facets of their districts, including virtual education opportunities.

TASB advocates for the protection of the district of innovation law.

TASB advocates for legislation that will allow local districts to oversee the operation of all schools, including those labeled “improvement required.”

TASB advocates for legislation that will ensure the authority to make decisions regarding district consolidation will remain with local school districts.

TASB advocates for the state of Texas to grant independent school districts the power to decide if their elections should take place on the November uniform election date or the May uniform election date.

Instructional Materials and Curriculum

TASB advocates for increased funding for the Technology and Instructional Materials Allotment.

TASB calls upon the Texas Legislature to require that the State Board of Education streamline the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills to limit standards for each subject at each grade level to what can be taught prior to state-mandated tests within the given school year.

TASB advocates for districts to focus on teaching objective, fact-based Texas and American history.

TASB advocates for continued prohibition of critical race theory in all K-12 classrooms and curriculum.

TASB advocates that all students have access to age-appropriate curriculum, books, and materials that are representative of their stories and history.

Public School Finance

TASB advocates for sustained funding of the school finance system.

TASB advocates for a cost-of-living index to be added to the school district funding formula based upon residential home valuations within the district.

TASB advocates for a formula-driven mechanism, or index, to be implemented annually, to increase the basic allotment to keep up with the additional inflationary pressures in public schools.

TASB advocates for bridging the gap with extra supplement Student Success Initiative and Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funding.

TASB advocates for reinstating the Cost of Education Index.

TASB advocates for a plan to increase school funding over time to provide an amount by 2030 that equals, at a minimum, the national per-student funding average.

TASB advocates requiring all recapture dollars be spent on education and ending the practice of the state supplanting its investment in education with recapture dollars.

TASB advocates for including non-district-enrolled students (e.g. private, charter, or home-schooled) receiving special education or other district-provided services in a district’s average daily attendance calculation as a full-time student for the purposes of calculating a district’s Chapter 49 recapture payment.

TASB advocates for legislation that increases funding for facilities through the Existing Debt Allotment, Instructional Facilities Allotment, and New Instructional Facilities Allotment by including a higher percentage of students and ensuring that funding is provided for fast-growth districts and those that are still paying down debt from fast-growth years in the recent past.

TASB advocates for legislation that would ensure that all federal funding for Texas schools reaches Texas schools as intended, without interference or delay from the state, and prohibit the use of such funds to supplant state funding obligations.

TASB advocates for the utilization of a portion of the state’s budget surplus to provide one-time grants to extend the lives of successful school programs created through the use of federal COVID-19 relief funds, which will otherwise expire due to lack of sustained funding.

School Safety

TASB advocates for additional resources for school security and student safety.

TASB advocates for legislation that requires the Texas Department of Public Safety to make available to school districts information regarding Texas firearm storage laws and best practices that may be distributed to all families at the beginning of each school year.

TASB advocates for legislation maintaining that locally elected boards of trustees have discretion over the spending of any additional funding dedicated to school safety and security.

TASB advocates for legislation affording school districts explicit authority to determine appropriate disciplinary action, including tiered response for repeat offenses and substance abuse treatment support, for students found in possession of THC.

TASB advocates for local police departments or school resource officers to have the authority to write a citation for certain activities on campus, in particular vaping tobacco or other substances or the possession of tobacco, e-cigarettes, or any component, part, or accessory for the e-cigarette.

Student Issues

TASB advocates for full funding for statewide, universal, high-quality, full-day prekindergarten programs to include transportation, facilities, and strengthen mixed delivery programs made in partnership with public school districts for pre-K 3 and pre-K 4.

TASB advocates for increasing special education funding.

TASB advocates for the official state definition and tracking of long-term English language learners.

TASB advocates for a study to determine whether the current law providing transportation funding for students living more than two miles from campus should be adjusted.

TASB advocates for legislation requiring universal vision and hearing screening for public school students in high school, as well as the resources to conduct the screenings.

TASB advocates for policies that reduce the use of exclusionary discipline and that keep students in school whenever possible instead of disciplinary placements in alternative programs or juvenile justice facilities.

TASB advocates for the continued funding of public education for all children living in the state regardless of immigration status.

TASB advocates for investments in expanding high-speed broadband internet access across Texas to include free public Wi-Fi options in our communities.

TASB advocates for adequate funding and support of poverty reduction strategies, including policies that aim to meet the basic needs of children and families and provide economic security through a robust safety net including, but not limited to, food assistance, adult education programming, job training, and access to affordable childcare, healthcare, housing, and transportation.

TASB advocates for supplemental funding that will address the impact the 2020 Census undercount will have on school funding, with a particular emphasis on compensatory education and at-risk student populations that may be underrepresented by inaccurate census block data.

Teacher and Staff Issues

TASB advocates for meaningful certification requirements that ensure students receiving both bilingual and special education services receive a free, appropriate public education while allowing self-contained units and specialized support settings the flexibility to meet their enrolled students’ needs without creating additional staffing burdens.

TASB advocates for the development of higher education incentive programs and state agency grants to recruit and prepare licensed professional counselors, preferably bilingual, to meet the needs of students and staff.

TASB advocates for the revision of House Bill 4545 (87th Regular Session).

TASB advocates for a cost-of-living adjustment for Teacher Retirement System retirees.

TASB advocates for a teacher housing allotment based on a sliding scale of the cost of housing in a district, earmarked as a supplement to teacher compensation.

TASB advocates for the extension of the educator certification waiver created by the exodus of teachers leaving the profession and the teacher shortage.

TASB advocates all retired school personnel be authorized to substitute in a vacant position for up to 90 school days instead of the current 20.

TASB advocates for adequate funding to provide students more robust college and career counseling by reducing the counselor-to-student ratio.

TASB advocates for the Legislature to allow more time for the completion of Reading Academies and the ability for districts to provide the corresponding training.

TASB advocates for Texas to partner with districts to establish a K-12 teacher apprenticeship program registered with the U.S. Department of Labor.

TASB advocates for a school funding weight that is fully funded by the state to increase the basic allotment for the purpose of adjusting full-time, district employee compensation to account for inflation and the rising cost of living.

TASB advocates for legislation requiring that any additional training courses for teachers and district staff include a fiscal note and, likewise, advocates for the establishment of an allotment to compensate teachers and staff for their time.

TASB advocates for the expansion of the COVID-19 Surge Personnel Exception to allow any Teacher Retirement System retiree to return to work full time in any vacant position, funded locally or federally, and for extension of the required termination date to December 31, 2026.

TASB advocates for legislation that requires that local boards of trustees have discretion over the spending of any additional funding dedicated to compensation of district staff.