The State of Texas's 87th Legislative Regular Session has wrapped up and its first Special Session is now underway.
Keller ISD and its Board of Trustees have approved a set of Legislative Priorities – developed by a group of KISD parents, teachers, and administrators – and will work to keep the KISD community informed on the progress of various bills and how they may impact our school district.
Keller ISD acknowledges that COVID-19 has drastically impacted every aspect of our lives. The District recognizes the difficult financial constraints and pressures that will be placed upon state leaders during the 87th Legislative Session. As the Texas Constitution implores, though, a general diffusion of knowledge is essential to the preservation of the liberties and rights of the people and, as such, Keller ISD believes education should be a priority each session. Therefore, the Keller ISD Board of Trustees, along with a committee of stakeholders across the school district that includes parents and teachers, presents these priorities for the 87th Legislative Session.
Student and Staff Well-Being
- In light of the heavy toll COVID-19 has had on even our youngest citizens, Keller ISD asks that the legislature fund emotional and mental health supports for students and staff, based on local needs.
- Allow local school boards the authority to spend funds as the community deems necessary and appropriate, especially compensatory education funds, by removing unnecessary restrictions on state funds.
- Refrain from adding any unfunded mandates or requirements on school districts.
Adequate Education Funding
- Funding put in place during the 86th legislative session must be maintained.
- Special education funding should allow school districts to properly identify students and provide the required support in the least restrictive environment.
- Allow for continued use of virtual learning options after the 2020-2021 school year to count for daily attendance by either allowing established school districts to develop their own online programs or restructuring the Texas Virtual School Network to allow for greater participation and flexibility.
- Prevent any other drain on public school funding including any form of vouchers, charter school expansions, virtual schools that will draw students from current public school districts, or expanding resources to homeschooled students.
- Eliminate the high-stakes nature of the STAAR exam for the 2020-2021 school year as early as possible in the session. This year's tests will not be an accurate reflection of performance or a fair representative sample of the student’s, school’s, or district’s work.
- Stop the use of high-stakes testing for student grade advancement.
- Eliminate the A-F rating system for schools and districts, and replace it with a system that appropriately measures all factors of an effective education rather than relying so heavily on test scores.
- Reduce the emphasis on state-mandated testing that penalizes the student rather than guide instruction and identify learning problems.
- Provide for one-time funding, controlled at the local level, to equip districts to close gaps that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Until 2023, allow districts to take COVID-19 and school closures into account during the individual graduation committee process to determine whether a student may graduate.
- Remove the 2023 deadline for individual graduation committees to allow IGCs to be a permanent part of a district’s ability to help students graduate.
DATES OF INTEREST
November 3, 2020
General election for federal, state, and county officers (Texas Election Code, Section 41.001(a)(3))
November 9, 2020
Bill prefiling begins (House Rule 8, Section 7 and Senate Rule 7.04(a))
January 12, 2021
87th Legislature convenes at noon (Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 5(a); Texas Government Code, Section 301.001)
March 12, 2021
60-day bill filing deadline (Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 5(b))
May 31, 2021
Adjournment sine die (Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 24(b))
June 20, 2021
Post-session 20-day deadline for Governor to sign or veto (Texas Constitution, Article IV, Section 14)
July 8, 2021
First Called Special Session called to order
August 30, 2021
Effective date (91st day after adjournment) (Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 39)