Special offering for business officials
Reminder: We're partnering with our friends at the Texas Association of School Business Officials (TASBO) to provide a special training opportunity for those serving as the Chief Financial Officer, Business Manager, or anywhere in the business/finance staff in one of our districts, and especially those who are new to that role.

We will cover some of the nuts and bolts for business officials in our districts, talk about timing, deadlines, and what you can do to put your district in the best possible position during the legislative session to predict and plan (as much as we can!).

If this sounds like something that interests you, please click on the link below and join us tomorrow, Tuesday, December 8, at 2:00 p.m. Or if you know of someone else in your district who might benefit from this offering, please forward this message their way. For those who have already registered, you should have received all the information you need to participate. If that is not the case, drop us a line at christy@txsc.org.
Still bad, but not as bad?
Tis the season of hope, and last week, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar provided the members of the Legislative Budget Board with a tiny sliver of hope in the economic update (of sorts) he provided in order for the LBB to set the spending limit for the upcoming legislative session. It should be noted that during a legislative session like the one we think 2021 will be, the spending limit based on economic growth really isn't the limit that will play much of a role. The spending limit that will matter during the 87th Legislative Session is the "Pay-As-You-Go Limit" which prohibits the certification of a state budget that spends more than the Comptroller estimates the state will receive (or therefore have available to spend).

Before we get too carried away, let's remember that the Comptroller's report relates to the more than $4.6 billion shortfall projected back in July 2020 for the current biennium. It's good news if things aren't quite as bad as we thought for the current biennium, that only relates to the budget cycle we're currently in (2020-21). On Monday, January 11, we will hear the Comptroller's Biennial Revenue Estimate, and that will give us a better idea of what appropriations may look like for upcoming fiscal years 22 and 23. How much the economy rebounds (or doesn't) during this holiday spending season will certainly factor into those projections.
What to expect for the legislative session
Over the weekend, we started hearing some of the proposed details for what a legislative session during a pandemic may look like. As reported by the Texas Tribune, we can probably expect a slower start than usual (after the opening day on January 12, which must occur as mandated by the Constitution). We can also probably expect some testing requirements, limitations on visits to the Capitol, and more. These details are still being decided among leaders in the Texas Senate and Texas House, but this gives us our first glimpse at what those details may be. We will keep you posted as more information becomes available.
Prior Purchase Reimbursement Program
Another reminder...don't forget about the $420 million Prior Purchase Reimbursement Program (PPRP) for schools to cover costs associated with the purchase of Wi-Fi hotspots and electronic learning devices (such as laptops, Chromebooks, and tablets) to allow for remote instruction during the pandemic.

The application window for these reimbursement dollars runs through Friday, December 11 (that's the end of THIS week). 
Senate State Affairs hearing tomorrow
The Senate State Affairs Committee will meet tomorrow, December 8, at 1:00 p.m. to hear invited testimony on interim charges, including their charge to study how governmental entities use public funds for political lobbying purposes, examine what types of governmental entities use public funds for lobbying purposes, and make recommendations to protect taxpayers from paying for lobbyists who may not represent the taxpayers’ interests. Note: this is a different time than previously reported, as this hearing has been rescheduled twice now.

Click here for the notice of that hearing. Or click here to watch live on Tuesday.
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