Coalition meeting next week
Please join us for our post-legislative update following the second special session before the third special session begins (we barely squeezed it in). Click on the red button below to register for the meeting and update on Wednesday, September 15, at 2:00 p.m.

We will receive both an update and a preview of things to come. We also have a little Coalition business to discuss. Our Secretary/Treasurer, Scott Marshall, retired at the end of the 2020-21 school year, so that means we need to conduct an election to fill the unexpired term for that office. The Executive Committee has nominated Grapevine-Colleyville ISD Superintendent Dr. Robin Ryan to be elected to that post. We will also accept nominations from the floor.

We hope to see you on Wednesday!
Third special session begins September 20
Governor Greg Abbott issued a proclamation to officially call the third special session, to begin on Monday, September 20. The proclamation identifies five agenda items for the special session at this time (and as always, additional matters may be added by the Governor).

Agenda items for the third special session include:

  • Redistricting: reapportioned maps for Texas legislative districts, as well as the SBOE and US Congress.

  • Additional appropriations from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA); while schools already received the new federal money specifically for schools, some opportunities for a little additional funding may still remain.

  • UIL participation tied to a student’s sex at birth, similar to SB 29 from the 87th Regular Session. This issue is the only issue to make the agenda for all three special sessions. Previous attempts have not made it to the Governor's desk.

  • Whether any state or local governmental entities in Texas can mandate COVID-19 vaccinations, and if so, what exemptions should apply to such a mandate. 

  • The unlawful restraint of a dog, similar to SB 474 passed during the 87th Regular Session, and vetoed by Governor Abbott.

SB 15 Remote instruction bill now law
Yesterday, Governor Abbott signed the remote instruction bill, SB 15, and it is now law, effective immediately.

As you know, that's the bill (now law) that allows school districts rated C or better to offer a remote learning program for up to 10% of enrolled students if the district chooses to offer such a program. Students participating in such a program would count towards ADA for funding purposes (with a few exceptions for students deemed ineligible for funding). This program and funding eligibility will expire September 1, 2023. We previously shared our SB 15 Section-by-Section.

TEA released a Senate Bill 15 Overview yesterday which seeks to answer some questions and provide clarity about the new law. TEA also posted a draft of rules they are likely to include in the 2021-2022 Student Attendance Accounting Handbook that cover remote attendance for those districts that elect to offer remote instruction. The proposed rules cover which students can draw funding under remote learning plans as well as how attendance would be documented. Please note that while there are similarities to attendance accounting in the previous school year, there are also some differences.

Commissioner Mike Morath also addressed several things that school districts cannot do when it comes to remote learning. He clarified that campuses must provide in-person instruction and districts may not close an entire campus or district and receive funding for remote instruction during a time when in-person instruction is not offered. 

Morath also stated that remote conferencing may not be used for a campus-wide closure. Remote conferencing is only available for those with confirmed positive cases and close contact, which the Commissioner said would be impossible to apply to an entire school.

The Commissioner also attempted to provide some clarity around the issue of which students are eligible for funding in a remote program, saying that if a student was enrolled in a remote program for the majority of the last instructional year (88 or more instructional days), then they must meet the requirements to show they have been successful. Those measures of success are passage of STAAR assessments (if assessed), passing grades in foundation curriculum courses, and less than 10 unexcused absences. TEA will provide a list of students statewide (through TEAL) to help districts determine which students may or may not be eligible for remote funding, based on prior enrollment in remote learning for the majority of the previous school year and state assessment results.

This continues to be a very complex and complicated matter, so we will provide additional information as it becomes available.

Thank you to our annual sponsors!
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