Board Adopts Legislative Priorities

BISD Board Adopts Legislative Priorities for Texas 86th Legislative Session
Posted on 12/20/2018
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The Brazosport ISD Board of Trustees recently adopted the following legislative priorities for the Texas Legislature’s consideration during the 86th session to be held in January 2019.

School Finance

  • Brazosport ISD supports legislation making public education a top priority.
  • Brazosport ISD advocates to modernize and simplify the school finance system to create a more
    transparent and equitable system.
  • Brazosport lSD advocates for truth in taxation as it relates to the implications of rising property
    values and the decline in state funding for public education.
  • Brazosport ISD advocates the state to share the cost of funding public schools by providing at least 50 percent of the Foundation School Program formula funding to reduce the over reliance on state local property taxes.
  • Brazosport ISD advocates for the modernization of school funding weights, allotments, and adjustments, such as the Cost of Education Index, to support the true cost of educating students.
  • Brazosport ISD advocates for funding for full-day Pre-Kindergarten.
  • Brazosport lSD advocates for funding for career and technical education for students in 8th grade.

Background on School Finance
In 1993 when Texas enacted the “Robin Hood” law, 34 school districts paid $127 million to equalize funding among districts statewide. Now, 25 years and more than $25 billion later, 370 districts will pay $2.6 billion in recapture during the 2018-19 school year, with almost 200 more required to pay recapture if they increase their tax rates. Resident taxpayers are paying more as property values rise, but local school districts do not benefit from that investment. Rather, the state’s funding obligation for education is lessened by the increased burden for local school districts required to pay recapture.

State Recapture Impact on Brazosport ISD: This school year BISD taxpayers will send the state almost $36 million, which is more than triple the amount from last year. The Brazosport community is experiencing a significant amount of industrial growth, however under the current law BISD is unable to retain additional maintenance and operation tax revenue from value increases beyond the first year of growth.

Local governance works best when taxpayers understand how their tax dollars are used at that state and local level. Taxpayers need and deserve an accounting of how all property taxes collected in the name of public education are being spent by state and local entities. Each Texas school district has a unique set of circumstances that make it unlike any other in the state, and these distinguishing characteristics are most efficiently and effectively accommodated close to the source. With built-in checks and balances and ongoing feedback from parents and teachers, locally-elected officials are well-positioned to responsively manage and govern in the manner that best meets the needs of students and taxpayers in their communities. Because the needs of each district and community vary so dramatically, it is critical to preserve flexibility in decision-making for those best equipped to make decisions at the local level.

Public tax dollars must have public accountability and be used in a manner accessible and beneficial to all public school students in Texas. Limited public resources should support innovation and choice within the public school system – not vouchers for private schools.

School Safety

  • Brazosport lSD advocates for additional and ongoing state funding for school safety initiatives and for flexibility in how districts utilize these funds to meet the unique needs of local schools and communities.
  • Brazosport ISD advocates state funded support for increased counseling services and campus based mental and behavioral health services for students. The academic needs of students cannot be separated from the social, emotional and behavioral needs of students and vice-versa.

Teacher Retirement System

  • Brazosport lSD advocates for the continuation of the current defined benefit pension for TRS members with increased state funding to assist with increased health care costs without shifting the costs to
    teachers, school employees or school districts.
  • Brazosport ISD advocates to allow school districts to opt out of TRS-Active Care.

Vouchers

  • Brazosport lSD opposes any state plan that would use vouchers, tax credits, taxpayer savings grants, tuition reimbursements,or other means to divert public tax dollars to private entities, homeschooled students, or parents with no academic or financial accountability or transparency to the state, tax payers, or local communities.

Charter Schools

  • Brazosport lSD opposes the further expansion of charter schools, including increases in the number of campuses under existing charters, unless they are subject to the same accountability and transparency rules as traditional public schools including, but not limited to: public notices, school discipline, transportation, bilingual programs, policy notices, employment contracts, special education requirements, lunch programs, and enrollment criteria.

Accountability

  • Brazosport lSD advocates for the establishment of a comprehensive accountability system that looks beyond high stakes one day testing, multiple choice exams to meaningful assessments that have value for students, parents, and teachers, as well as measures what each community deems important in promoting college and career readiness.
  • Brazosport lSD opposes the campus and district A-F rating system.
  • Brazosport lSD advocates for a compliant state accountability system for students governed by individualized education programs.

Governance

  • Brazosport lSD advocates for the expansion of options available to school districts designated as Districts of Innovation.
  • Brazosport lSD opposes any requirement for a super-majority or voter turnout to pass new school bonds.

The Brazosport ISD Board of Trustees will continue to monitor and assess the bills that are filed and considered during the 86th Legislative Session, especially those that may impact the students and families in BISD.

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