Special Session #3, October 2023 / Special Session #4, November 2023
The governor announced a special session – beginning Oct. 9, 2023, and lasting for 30 days – for the purpose of providing private school subsidies, also known as vouchers or education savings accounts (ESAs).
At the Oct. 5 Board Meeting, Trustees approved updated legislative priorities for the special session and resolution for adequate funding for public schools.
The governor announced another special session – beginning Nov. 7, 2023 and lasting for 30 days – and in this call, he included public school funding in addition to ESAs.
- Leander ISD is opposed to any type of voucher, including Education Savings Accounts (ESA).
- Only public schools provide the choice, transparency, and accountability that Texas families deserve. There is no school finance package the legislature can offer that would change our mind.
- Leander ISD supports an update to the school finance system in an effort to address the following:
- Texas ranks in the bottom 10 nationally for per-pupil spending – $4,000 per student below the national average.
- Texas faces a historic teaching shortage, with an attrition rate that is 25% higher than the national average, according to an August 2023 Texas House report.
- The Teacher Vacancy Task Force presented a list of recommendations prior to the 88th Regular Session. Only a few of these recommendations were implemented – educator’s voice is important.
- The legislature has already appropriated $4 billion for education but needs additional legislation to direct spending.
- Leander ISD spent $33 million more on special education in 2022-2023 than was allocated due to the outdated special education allotment. This took away $33 million from other student services.
Based on these facts, Leander ISD calls for:
- enrollment-based funding,
- an increase to the basic allotment with a permanent inflationary measure via constitutional amendment and statute,
- consideration of other costs outside of district control,
- consideration of regional cost differences,
- updated funding weights,
- an increase to special education funding to account for actual spending by school districts and lessen the delta between what the state distributes and what the districts must spend to adequately provide for special education students and programs.
- Leander ISD supports local control.
- Texas public schools are impacted by an erosion of local control when more legislative details are delegated to agency decisions.
- The Texas Education Code Ch. 11 promotes and establishes local governance led by locally elected trustees and guided by input from the community of students, teachers/staff, and parents.
88th Regular Legislative Session
The Texas 88th Legislative Session opened in January 2023. Archive of previous session’s priorities
When examining legislative priorities, the Board’s Legislative Committee created two categories: targeted priorities and collaborative opportunities.
LISD Targeted Priorities
Targeted priorities are defined as initiatives that LISD Board members will face decisively. They are:
- Increased funding for hiring staff and providing the professional development necessary to meet student needs.
- Continue to monitor student data privacy, as passed in House Bill 3 in the 87th Legislative Session, and ensure any data mining by vendors is specifically prohibited.
- Supports protecting students and parents by ensuring special education advocates and hearing officers adhere to ethical standards and possess qualifications in Texas law and special education prescribed by an applicable state agency.
The LISD Board will proactively seek partnerships and engagement on the opportunities identified below:
- Workforce Retention & Recruiting
- Apprenticeship programs;
- Loan Forgiveness;
- Increased Compensation (State Funded);
- Alteration of legislation and programs that cause undue burdens on a teacher’s capacity for time with students (HB 4545 and Reading Academies).
- HB 4545: Amend the legislation to allow for more flexibility in implementation, including: altering 3:1 teacher to student ratios and allowing for more discretion on the number of tutoring hours necessary for the individual student.
- Reading Academies: Increase funding and provide stipends for teachers to attend (similar to initial academies under the Bush Administration) and allow districts to undergo specific training to offer academies via district personnel.
- Support allowing flexible options via a more holistic and comprehensive accountability system for students to ensure their education fits their current and future needs.
- Support a Special Education Allotment that fully funds each child based upon their needs and individual circumstances.
- Oppose differing standards for bond and tax ratification elections than other elections.
- Transition school funding from an attendance based system to an enrollment-based system.
- Ensure decision making encourages participation by and prioritizes the needs of parents, teachers, staff, and Trustees identified by the Education Code in local governance matters.
- Support full and adequate funding for full-day prekindergarten.
- Support additional funding for measures that provide relief for fast growth school districts, including:
- Instructional Facilities Allotment;
- New Instructional Facilities Allotment; and
- Existing Debt Allotment.
Senators & Representatives in Leander ISD
Sen. Charles Schwertner, Senate District 5
Sen. Sarah Eckhardt, Senate District 14
Sen. Pete Flores, Senate District 24
- District 24 from Pleasanton
- Senate Member, 2018–2021; 2023–present
- Email the office of Senator Pete Flores
- Committee Member:
- Border Security – Vice-Chair
- Criminal Justice – Vice-Chair
- Water, Agriculture & Rural Affairs
- Senate District 24 Map
- Senate District 24 covers 56% of Leander ISD