Please remember that EVERY district MUST apply for the missed school day waiver for the 2019-20 school year in order to be eligible for the ADA hold harmless. The deadline to submit that waiver has been extended to July 3. Please ensure that your district has applied for this waiver. Failure to do so by July 3 could be very costly. More information
Updated Guidance for SY 2020-21
Commissioner Morath highlighted some updates in the revised guidance from the Texas Education Agency regarding the:

The revisions since this guidance was released earlier this week include:
  • Since missed school days due to COVID-related issues is not an unforeseen circumstance, TEA will NOT issue missed school day waivers to districts that do not offer remote instruction during a school closure. And TEA will not offer low attendance waivers for COVID unless the district can meet the minimum 75,600 minutes of instruction without the low attendance waiver.

  • Districts can exercise local control and restrict transitions between remote and in-person instruction (so that parents who choose to transition to a different type of instruction can do so only at designated times).

  • TEA recommends (though does not require) lots of contingency planning.

And if you missed the call on Tuesday and would like to listen to Commissioner Morath walk through those details from the initial guidance, TEA posted a video of that call .

Also, just in case you missed this detail when you studied the guidance we want to point out that the TEA guidance establishes a floor for ADA so that you cannot drop below 99% of your ADA from the previous year during the first two weeks of the school year, AND it also establishes a ceiling --no district may have an attendance rate for enrolled students that exceeds what your districts attendance rate was during the 2018-19 school year. That ceiling will prevent any district from receiving a funding increase due to the fact that remote learning will allow students to be counted as present in many instances that would have caused them to be marked as absent before.

Finally, there was an update posted to the guidance on Providing Equitable Services to Students and Teachers in Participating Private Non-Profit Schools Under the CARES Act Programs . A lot of topics and new information are covered in this update including items such as: Private Non-Profit Schools that quality for services must hold a 501(c)(3) status (requirement applies to home schools as well), the calculation of proportional share, and how to handle potential loss or damage of devices.

We expect more clarity on funding issues as well as guidance on health issues in the coming weeks.
Tax Rate Template
If you are looking for a tool to help you predict what your tax rate will be for the 2020-21 school year, TEA has posted a Tax Rate and MCR Template link on the State Funding website that will allow you to enter your district's data. You'll need to know your July 25 values for both 2019 and 2020, as well as information pertaining to the value lost to a Local Option Homestead Exemption, and the value of a 313 agreement or TIRZ returning to the tax roll.

This may be a tool worth checking out if you are looking for some insight as to what your tax rate may be. Remember that districts will need to submit value data to TEA through t he Local Property Value Survey (LPVS) data collection in the FSP system between July 18 and August 1 . That information will be used to calculate your Tier 1 and Maximum Compressed Rate.
Primary Runoff voting begins Monday
With everything going on in the world today, it might be easy to forget that we have an election happening next month. The runoff election from the March Primary was postponed from May to July 14. And that means that early voting for that election begins Monday (June 29).

Want to know a secret? Your vote may never matter more than when you cast it in a primary runoff election. That's because voter turnout for this election has historically been as low as just about any on record. In 2016, 2.6% of registered voters cast ballots in the Republican primary runoff and 1.3% of registered voters showed up at the polls for the Democratic primary runoff.

Any registered voter is eligible to vote--even if that individual did not vote in March. Voters who cast ballots in March will be required to vote in the same party's primary. Those who did not vote in March are free to choose the party of their choice in July.

There are six incumbents in the Texas Legislature headed into runoff elections—one in the Texas Senate and five in the Texas House. Click on this link if you need a refresher on the March 3 election results . Or if you are looking for information regarding who might appear on the ballot or where you can go to vote, you can get more information on this election from the Texas Secretary of State or research information on the candidates through some of the resources listed on the Texas Educators Vote website.

Make sure you and those in your community make your voice heard in this election, which will determine which candidates appear on the ballot in November.
It's back! After a hiatus, the District Spotlight is back, and we will be regularly profiling different member districts again to give you an opportunity to learn something you may have in common or to learn something new and unique about your peer districts. You could be next! If you would like to volunteer your district, please complete the questions in this form .
Midway ISD (McLennan County)
Superintendent:   George Kazanas, Ed.D.

Region:   ESC 12

Location: Suburban district in Central Texas, west of Waco, including cities of Hewitt, Woodway, along with parts of Waco, McGregor, Lorena, Robinson, and unincorporated McLennan County

Student Enrollment:   8,400

School Campus Configuration: Ten campuses include one 6A high school, one middle school, two intermediates (grades 5-6), and six elementaries (PK-4); However, due to a recently-passed bond, we are soon to be one high school, two 6-8 middle schools, and eight PK-5 elementaries.

What are your district's points of pride?
  • 1-to-1 digital devices for every student and educator, with three Apple Distinguished Schools  
  • Nationally-recognized professional development school partnership with Baylor University’s School of Education
  • Recognized by Department of Justice for police partnerships and school security
  • Involvement in state organizations such as TASA’s TPAC (developing a community-based accountability system); Texas Higher Performing Schools Coalition; TEA Long-Term Planning Committee
  • NAMM Foundation Best Communities for Music Education
  • Top 5 largest FFA in Texas; National 3-gold star chapter
  • Nationally-recognized program for addressing childhood hunger

What makes your school district/ community unique?
  • We are a rare size of having a 6A high school while remaining a one-high school district. Even when looking for matches of peers for student population, demographics, and budget size, we rarely find close matches. It means we are often paving our own way for school business and programming.
  • There is a City of Midway north of Houston, but it’s about 100 miles east of us. There is also another Midway ISD in Clay County in North Texas near Wichita Falls and Tuloso-Midway ISD in Corpus Christi. However confusing, we are a suburb of Waco in McLennan County (central Texas) named when the school districts of Hewitt ISD and South Bosque ISD merged “mid way” between the two.

What challenges does your district face?
  • Our total M&O is very lean--we run more efficiently than all districts in our county sans one other.
  • Like everyone else, we are looking for effective programs to address mental health, social services, poverty, parenting resources, and all related issues that create hurdles for our students.

The cost of unfunded mandates
Don't forget that we are taking a closer look at the cost of unfunded mandates as we contemplate the very real possibility of budget cuts in our future. Please take a look at the example from Plano ISD. Then you can use the links below to create a list detailing the cost of mandates for your district that we would love for you to share with us as well as your local legislators.

Please let us know if you have any questions or need help with this project.
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Austin, Texas 78746