Legislative Session

Legislative Session


The Texas 86th Legislative Session convened in January of 2019, and the Leander ISD Board of Trustees and the administration were called upon by state legislators and other interest groups to provide data, insight and feedback on education related topics. In an effort to maximize district resources, time and effort, a formal documentation of legislative priorities ensures alignment and consistent messaging that best serve the students of Leander ISD and the district’s focus areas.

Review the LISD Legislative Priorities

Safety 

Student Data Privacy

Leander ISD Bills to Watch

  • HB 2691 | Data masking and student data privacy

Priorities

  • We support requiring the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and technology vendors to work with schools in masking all student data.

Driving Question(s):

  • How do we ensure that LISD and our vendors comply with national and state data safety standards and best practices during the transfer of student records and programs?

Impact to Leander ISD:

  • Charged with safeguarding the personal data of more than 40,000 students without state-level guidance or requirements of vendors or agencies, such as the Texas Education Agency (TEA).
Facilities and Improvements

Priorities

  • We support supplemental funding to school districts that implemented safety enhancements to school facilities.

Driving Question(s)

  • If the legislature allocates funding for facility safety improvements, how do we recapture funding for investments made prior to the 86th legislative session to reimburse our taxpayers?

Impact to Leander ISD

  • Spent $7.8 million for improvements to elementary school upgrades for safety since 2014.
  • Allocated $17.6 million in renovations for secondary vestibules and lock-down zoning as part on the 2017 bond. 

Education

Accountability

Leander ISD Bills to Watch

  • HB 4177 & HB 1480 | State accountability, student choice and high stakes testing relief

Priorities

  • We support flexibility of the accountability system to allow masters-level and college entrance exams to replace certain high school end-of-course exams, including STAAR. Further, the use of these substitute exams should be recognized as “Masters” level for state accountability analyses.

Driving Question(s)

  • How do we continue to support a student’s right to choose a substitute exam instead of a STAAR EOC without negatively impacting campus accountability ratings in the following areas: Student Growth domain (Alg. I and Eng. II are both significantly impacted) and Distinction Designations?

Impact to Leander ISD

  • Supported 3,504 students who used a substitute assessment in lieu of taking a STAAR EOC in 2018.
Mental Health

Priorities

  • We support increased funding for staff and professional development necessary to provide mental health-related services.

Driving Question(s)

  • How do we fund additional support for student services for mental health?
  • Is there a need to support mental health education and training in our education setting?  

Impact to Leander ISD

  • Supports the mental health of students through brief individual counseling or small group skills development; however, counselors do not provide ongoing therapeutic services.
  • Employs two teams – with a total of 11 employees –  provide short-term transitional mental health services to more than 40,000 students. 
  • Employs 43 people that are a Licensed Specialist in School Psychologists (LSSP).
  • Serves 987 students with psychological services as part of an IEP, while 131 students receive counseling as part of their IEP. These are services provided by an LSSP because of the students’ related services needs in special education.
Special Education

Leander ISD Bills to Watch

  • HB 4302 | Special education classroom cameras and student privacy
  • HB 4126 | Protecting students and families with advocate and hearing officer qualifications


Priorities

  • We support the refinement and clarification of SB 507 to ensure the purpose of cameras in special education classrooms for suspected abuse and or neglect only.
  • We support protecting students and parents rights by ensuring special education advocates and hearing officers adhere to ethical standards and State laws, as well as the Procedural Safeguards under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and guidelines prescribed by the Texas Education Agency (TEA).

Driving Question(s):

  • How do we best support special education students, families and teachers?
  • How do we best protect the rights of parents of and students with disabilities? 
  • How do we ensure laws are aligned and support all students in special education settings? 

Impact to Leander ISD

  • Serves 4,882 special education students, 383 special education teachers, 29 self-contained secondary classrooms eligible for cameras and 83 self-contained classrooms eligible for cameras as the elementary level.
  • Supports 35 cameras in 21 classrooms.
Dual Credit and Carer Technical Education (CTE)

Priorities

  • We support additional flexibility and funding to ensure a wide range of opportunities for all students to earn college credit. We support increasing funding and weights for CTE programs with high-demand and high-paying industries as defined by the Texas Workforce Commission.

Driving Question(s)

  • How do we appropriately fund the career programs that are critical to building an effective workforce in Texas? 

Impact to Leander ISD:

  • Provided programs for students to earn 1,109 certifications and licenses in 2017–18 school year.
  • Provides expensive CTE programs, including trade programs like automotive tech and electrician, that include equipment.
  • Does not receive weighted funding for CTE programs in middle school programs, therefore, STEM programs must come from district funds.

Finance

TRS and Teacher Health Care

Priorities

  • We support adjustments to increase state funding for teacher healthcare and the state retirement fund.

     

  • We support maintaining the defined teacher benefit retirement system by not shifting additional costs to teachers, school employees or school districts.

Driving Question(s)

  • How do we support retired teachers without increasing costs or removing benefits from retired teachers or school districts?
Funding

Priorities

  • We support keeping all public education dollars, including recaptured funds, allocated for public school students.
  • We support modernizing the school funding weights, allotments and adjustments, such as the Cost of Education Index, to support the true cost of educating Texas students.
  • We support requiring the state to share the costs of funding public schools by providing at least 50 percent of the Foundational School Program formula to reduce over-reliance on local property taxes.
  • We support maintaining the one-year lag in the use of state property values under any new school finance plan.

Driving Question(s)

  • How do we properly fund Texas public schools to ensure success for all students?
  • How do we minimize the impact for homeowners?

Impact to Leander ISD

  • Receives WADA funding of $6,501, decreasing to $6,074 in 2019–20 if changes to the school finance system do not occur.
Local Control for Election

Priorities

  • We support the current system of flexible uniform election dates for bond and tax ratification elections to not put an undue financial burden on taxpayers and to align with district budget cycles.

Driving Question(s)

  • How do we minimize the cost of elections to local districts and taxpayers?

Comptroller

Did you know?

  • More than 40,000 students attend LISD’s 27 elementary schools, eight middle schools and six high schools.
  • LISD encompasses 198.51 square miles and includes the cities of Leander, Cedar Park, Jonestown and portions of Georgetown, Round Rock and Austin.
  • Texas school districts are funded based on attendance. A 2-percent increase in attendance could mean an additional $4 million for LISD.

Who Represents You?

LISD School Board
State of Texas Legislators
Williamson County Commissioners
Travis County Commissioners
Cedar Park City Council
Leander City Council
Round Rock City Council
Austin City Committee of Council
Jonestown City Council