Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Senate Bill 1718 to privatize neighborhood public schools stopped in the Texas House

Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) Governmental Relations

"On Tuesday, the Texas House considered SB 1718 (West), a bill that would create a statewide school district called an Achievement School District (ASD).

"Under the bill, schools that are low-performing for two years may be seized by the state and assigned to the ASD. The purpose of the ASD is to provide services so that student performance improves, then once that occurs, the school is to be returned to the local school district. The commissioner of education appoints the superintendent for the ASD and may assign TEA staff to support the ASD operations. Funding for the ASD follows the student, according to SB 1718. The ASD gets access to grants and discretionary funding that flow to the prior district as a pro rata share of all such revenue. Finally, because the prior district remains responsible for paying debt service and capital outlay, the prior district receives Instructional Facilities Allotment and Existing Debt Allotment funds for students in the ASD as well as students who remain in the prior district. The ASD is responsible only for routine maintenance and upkeep of the prior district’s facilities that are given over to the ASD for its use.

"Reps. Harold Dutton (D-Houston), Dan Huberty (R-Houston) and Ken King (R-Canadian) fought off a slew of amendments to the bill, which ranged from applying similar rules that public schools must follow to the ASD to requiring school operators under the ASD to meet certain financial and accountability standards.

"The bill was held up on a point of order, and SB 1718 will be dead if the House does not take it up again before the chamber ends its day as Tuesday is the last day the House may consider Senate bills on second reading ..."
"The proposal by Dallas Democratic Sen. Royce West cleared the Senate May 1 but went down Tuesday night on a House parliamentary error raised by Houston Democratic Rep. Armando Walle." Error kills new district for struggling schools - Associated Press