Updated guidance for reopening school
The Texas Education Agency issued a press release regarding updated guidance on funding and instructional requirements for re-opening schools this morning, which Commissioner Mike Morath explained to superintendents on call this afternoon.

Commissioner Morath emphasized that the Agency's goal is to get as many students on campus as it is safe. There is now a greater amount of flexibility for schools to make choices regarding what is safe for their students, staff, and community.

Transitional Period
School districts can now begin the school year with 100% remote instruction during a transitional period a full month ( four weeks) should they choose. This transitional period can be extended by another four weeks if the board of trustees requests a waiver from TEA. During this time, schools must offer in-person to any student who cannot access the remote instruction the district is providing (due to lack of device or internet connection). Please note that the four-week transitional period will begin upon the district's first instructional day (whenever the district decides that will be).

Unless the rules change again, following the transitional period (of up to 8 weeks), schools must offer in-person instruction to students with parents who choose that option.

Hybrid Model for High School Students
School districts may also choose to use a hybrid model for students in grades 9-12 that is the only option offered. Hybrid models have always been available in all grades as an option to offer, but with this new development, school districts can offer all high school students instruction that occurs less than daily, so long as at least 40% of the days of each grading cycle include on-campus attendance (and the remainder of instruction is provided remotely). Districts that choose to utilize this as the only option for high school students must apply for a waiver.

ADA Hold Harmless
There were also changes with hold harmless offered during the first 12 weeks of the school year. As was utilized following Hurricane Harvey, districts with receive the BEST OF either numbers from the past (which will look at the trend over the past three years for ADA) or the district's numbers for ADA in the current school year. Districts will receive funding during the first 12 weeks from which ever ADA is higher. And to allow for district planning, TEA will publish next week what the floor for funding will be for each district (based on the 3 year trend). Read page 5 of the FAQ document for more details on this.

Funding During Closures
If a district is subject to an ordered closure (from the state or from a local public health authority), the district must follow all legally binding closure orders. In order to qualify for funding while closed (whether closed by order or by choice for up to five days following a confirmed positive), the district must offer remote instruction for all students or make up those missed days/minutes of instruction when it is safe to open again.

You can read the full information available to schools in the updated guidance on the TEA website:

Operation Connectivity Funding
State leaders announced that $200 million in CARES Act funding will be used for Operation Connectivity to purchase eLearning devices and home internet solutions to enable remote learning such as devices, hotspots, routers, and more based on specific needs identified by local school districts.

This is developing information, and it is not completely clear how districts can access to these items or how distribution will be determined.

Legislative Budget Board to meet Monday
The Legislative Budget Board (LBB) will conduct a hearing on Monday, July 20 , and hear n update from Comptroller Glenn Hegar. The update provided at this meeting will give us the best idea of what to expect during the 2021 legislative session, given what is known at this time. We'll send you an update with this information, but you can also tune in at https://senate.texas.gov/av-live.php or https://house.texas.gov/video-audio/.
Election returns
In case you missed our explanation of the results of the primary runoff and special election earlier this week, y ou can read more about results with some analysis here (PDF) or here (website) .
Thank you to our annual sponsors!
601 Camp Craft Road
Austin, Texas 78746