At the TASB Grassroots Meetings this past spring, school board members identified the major concerns facing their schools — from teacher recruitment and retention to mental health, from funding to vouchers.
Now, trustees are tasked with laying the groundwork for how they will tackle those issues and help legislators make informed decisions in the best interest of Texas schoolchildren in the next legislative session. And this work happens at the TASB Delegate Assembly, scheduled for Sept. 24 during the TASA | TASB Convention in San Antonio.
“Just as it is vitally important to attend and participate in your local board meetings, the Delegate Assembly emphasizes the value of the work we do,” said Sandy Hughey, a trustee in North East ISD. “This meeting provides the platform for local boards to provide input on decisions that affect all trustees and districts.”
Delegate Assembly is the annual event where trustees conduct the business of TASB, voting on leadership and the Association’s Advocacy Agenda to set the course of the organization for the coming year.
Josie Smith-Wright, a trustee in Gonzales ISD, emphasized the importance of local boards having representation at the event. “It’s like voting in elections. It is important for your district to have a voice at Delegate Assembly — to be heard on decisions that affect our schools and students,” said Smith-Wright.
As with any election, your vote at the Assembly could be the deciding factor. “Your vote may very well make the difference on an agenda item passing or failing,” said Fred Contreras, a trustee in Grape Creek ISD. “I have seen candidates run from the floor for a TASB director position and win. It is the delegates who have that deciding vote.”
So, what can trustees expect at Delegate Assembly? Contreras, Hughey, and Smith-Wright are veterans when it comes to serving as delegates and have some helpful advice:
Selecting your delegate
Every local board needs to take action this summer to name a delegate and an alternate to attend Delegate Assembly. Once the board takes action, the superintendent or administrative assistant should submit the names using the Member Profile (you will need to log in to access).
- Hughey: “Send someone who is involved, who cares, who is passionate about public education.”
- Contreras: “Don’t be afraid to get involved. This is what you were elected to do.”
Preparing for the event
The Delegate Handbook will be posted at delegate.tasb.org 20 days before the meeting. The Nominations Committee Report with the recommendations for the TASB Board of Directors will be posted Sept. 12. These materials cover all the items to be voted on by delegates.
- Smith-Wright: “Make sure that the person representing has reviewed the resolutions and talked to the board and superintendent about issues affecting their district.”
- Hughey: “Review the materials that will be provided. That will answer a lot of questions and give you a greater understanding of what is expected. More importantly, reach out to fellow trustees, especially your TASB directors. Ask questions.”
Understanding the caucus meetings
The regional caucuses are held right before Delegate Assembly, 12:30-1:30 p.m. Delegates and alternates from each education service center region will meet with their TASB Directors to discuss issues and address questions — both about the Assembly and specific to their regions. A free lunch is provided for delegates and alternates. Delegates and alternates will receive credentials — a ribbon to attach to their TASA | TASB Convention name badges — that will give them access to the caucuses and the Assembly floor.
- Smith-Wright: “TASB Directors will go over the Delegate Assembly rules and protocol. Then they will lead a discussion on the resolutions and other items.”
- Hughey: “This is the perfect opportunity to get your questions answered. It’s also a great time to interact and connect with trustees from your region and emphasizes the importance of a strong voice in advocacy.”
- Contreras: “At the caucuses, you get to meet other school board members from your region — and maybe do a little bragging about your sport teams!”
Participating at the Assembly
Delegate Assembly convenes at 2 p.m. Delegates are encouraged to check into their region seats by 1:45 p.m. Only one representative from each local board may be on the floor. Special seating is available for guests and alternates. Your board’s delegate and alternate may trade off time on the Assembly floor throughout the meeting. And both will earn continuing education credit for participating!
- Contreras: “During Delegate Assembly, you will learn what TASB has accomplished during the past year. It is always positive and exciting to hear about all that has been going on. And you will vote on the TASB leadership. One of my favorite parts is hearing from the candidates who are running to represent their regions.”
- Hughey: “Your first Assembly might be a little overwhelming. As a new trustee, the first time I attended I had a hard time understanding exactly what was going on. In addition to lots of new terminology, there was the sheer number of people! What I didn’t know then was that this was a dynamic, passionate group who truly understood what public education meant to our state, to our children, to our districts. What I know now is to question, question, question, and participate!”
Attending Delegate Assembly
- Smith-Wright: “I enjoy meeting old and new friends. But even more, I enjoy listening to the discussion on resolutions and hearing the opinions, convictions, and passion of Texas trustees.”
- Hughey: “My favorite time is when we review our legislative priorities, and the important, thoughtful discussions that arise from different viewpoints, different experiences, different needs. One thing that never fails to shine through is the common belief about doing the best for our children — all children.”
- Contreras: “This coming Delegate Assembly will be my 25th. I enjoy meeting with like-minded board members who believe in improving Texas public education.”
Earning a chance to win
This year, delegates have a chance to win student scholarships for their districts. Ten $1,000 scholarships are being provided by the TASB Risk Management Fund, TASB Energy Cooperative, and BuyBoard.
Registration for the 2022 Assembly is now open. For more information, visit delegate.tasb.org.
This article was first published May 17, 2022.