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The Homepage For Texas School Officials
The Homepage For Texas School Officials

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Need this to go viral (click the link below):

Yes, I support public education and the Texas Taxpayer & Student Fairness Coalition.

The Coalition is fighting on behalf of all Texas taxpayers and students, advocating for a fair and adequate public school finance system that would give every child a chance to succeed. Achieving fair treatment of taxpayers and a world-class education for all Texas children is the only way to ensure that Texas will continue to be a place of unlimited opportunities and economic success. The Coalition, now representing more than 400 school districts, has filed a lawsuit against the state to fight for these ideals and for the future of Texas.

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There has been much discussion related to Premont ISD (125-905), a district with approximately 550 students, which is very close to a state imposed consolidation with San Diego ISD, 35 miles to the north. Premont is in the Corpus Christi Region, Jim Wells County and its 2011 rating is Academically Unacceptable. The Districts General Fund - Fund Balance for August 31, 2011 is $213,894.

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I continue to work through my notes from the holidays. Today, join me in reviewing items from the Attorney General related to schools including the new requests for opinions as well as opinions rendered that you may have missed - These are really interesting. I learned some new terminology - “walking quorums” - from the following request and opinion:

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The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) is suing Texas for underfunding the educational opportunity of low income and limited English students in the Texas public schools. This is the third lawsuit filed this fall with a fourth promised to be coming soon.

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The school and taxpayer driven lawsuits against the State of Texas continue to grow. (Read the plantiffs’ petitions below.) It appears that more than 50% of the Texas 1024 school districts are filing suits claiming that the Texas public school finance system is unconstitutional. According to my unofficial count from various press releases, the groups below represent at least 543 of the state’s 1024 school districts:

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Financial exigency is a state of financial crisis -- a condition permitting an educational institution to terminate programs and eliminate staff positions.

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Joe Smith: State Board of Education Committee on Instruction Takes up the End Of Course Exam - November 18 , 2011
The State Board Members on the Committee on Instruction have opted to stay out of the dispute over new tests and their encroachment on local control of grading policies. Heath Burns, Superintendent of Abilene ISD, gave excellent testimony yesterday on this issue. I recommend viewing this video clip to understand first hand why the SBOE took this position. It is important that you listen. [Archive Video Part 1

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The end of course assessment issue will be addressed by the SBOE Committee on Instruction at 2:00 pm today and many of my readers think this rule has more consequences than lawmakers have considered. Some even feel this issue may be the tipping point to change the direction for Texas public schools away from the over emphasis on testing and erosion of local control. This action may be a tipping point because it encroaches on a local district’s ability to fully control local grading policies. From discussions with school administrators it is clear that there are issues that have not been fully vetted. SBOE member Ratliff is correct to seek changes in this rule.

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The school funding lawsuit against the state keeps growing. The Texas Taxpayer and Student Fairness Coalition currently represents over 1 million children in 321 Texas school districts. The number of districts that have joined the lawsuit in a short period of time indicates that there is little disagreement across the state on the question of school funding and tax equity.

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The State Board of Education has on its agenda a proposal for discussion to make clear the requirement that End of Course Assessments count as 15% of a student’s grade. The intention would be to “adjust the language to clarify award of credit as it relates to the statutory requirement that performance on an end-of-course assessment count for 15 percent of a student’s grade.” This is posted as a review and comment item on the agenda, with no action. A proposed amendment can be presented for first reading and filing authorization at a future meeting.
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