TASB 2018–2020 Advocacy Agenda Priorities

As Adopted September 29, 2018 by the TASB Delegate Assembly

Texas Public School Finance

TASB calls upon the Texas Legislature to modernize and simplify the school finance system to create a more transparent and equitable system to serve the 5.4 million Texas students in prekindergarten through grade 12.

TASB calls upon state legislators to share the costs of funding public schools by providing at least 50 percent of Foundation School Program formula funding to reduce overreliance on local property taxes. The state must stop supplanting the state’s prior-year contribution with increases in local property tax revenue.

TASB advocates for the modernization of school funding weights, allotments, and adjustments, such as the Cost of Education Index, to support the true cost of educating Texas students.

Texas Accountability Rating System

TASB calls upon the Texas Legislature to adopt an accountability rating system that places more emphasis on local accountability plans that better reflect the vast diversity of Texas school districts and the values held by each community rather than the current A–F school rating system which does not accurately capture student learning.

TASB advocates for a legislative review through legislative committees and interim committees to oversee equal accountability for independent school districts and charters regarding student enrollment procedures, academics, and financial accountability with full enforcement of current law.

Student Safety

TASB calls upon the Texas Legislature to work with public school districts and their locally elected trustees to identify, fund, and implement measures—including increased support for counseling services and mental health programs safety directors and sufficient staff to fulfill those services—that increase student and staff safety on campus and recognize the unique characteristics of each district.

Texas Assessment System

TASB calls upon the Texas Legislature to eliminate state assessments not required by federal law and to prohibit state assessments from serving as the primary indicator of school, teacher, or student performance.

TASB advocates for the optional use of currently available, nationally recognized standardized tests in lieu of state assessments and for additional support for non-high-stakes alternatives, such as writing portfolios and adaptive exams.

TASB advocates for an assessment system that recognizes students who have successfully completed advanced coursework and prohibits the administration of state exams for courses completed in previous grades by those students.

TASB advocates for adding an accounting code that districts may use to submit all costs associated with the preparation of mock STAAR and administration of STAAR exams to the Texas Education Agency.

Governance

TASB calls upon the Texas Legislature to recognize and preserve the right of public school boards to associate and collaborate with each other and to communicate, either directly or through representative organizations, with the Legislature.*

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

Vouchers

TASB calls upon the Texas Legislature to prevent any transfer of public funds through the use of vouchers—to include education savings accounts, tax credit scholarships, and tuition grants for special populations—to private entities that do not follow the same transparency and accountability requirements governing independent school districts.

Unfunded Mandates

TASB calls upon the Texas Legislature to prohibit the implementation of legislation that is found by the Legislative Budget Board to impose a fiscal impact on any school district without corresponding funding or authority for affected districts to automatically increase local tax rates.

Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills

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

Teacher Retirement System of Texas Healthcare Plans

TASB calls upon the Texas Legislature to increase state funding of TRS-ActiveCare and TRS-Care so that the benefits for and contributions from district employees are equivalent to state employees under the Employees Retirement System of Texas.

* Denotes a priority added during the 2019 Delegate Assembly