Monday, May 20, 2013

Texas House to vote on Senate Bill 1718 to privatize neighborhood public schools

"The measure by Senator Royce West passed in the Senate on a 26-5 vote." Bad schools would be placed in new statewide district under Senate bill

From Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) Governmental Relations

House to Vote on Bill to Privatize Neighborhood Schools

Urge your representatives to oppose the erosion of local governance of neighborhood public schools NOW!

"House members are set to strip school boards’ ability to govern local school districts by providing mechanisms for private institutions and charter schools to take over neighborhood schools.

SB 1718 creates a new statewide school district with its own superintendent and different rules for governance and management. Public school campuses will be assigned to this “achievement school district” (ASD) when they have been low performing for two years. The independent school district will continue to fund the school, even though it does not govern it. The campus will be returned to the local district if and when performance improves.

This bill violates the principles of public school governance set out in the Texas Education Code. Specifically, the Code states that school trustees have the exclusive power and duty to govern and oversee the management of the public schools of the district. Powers and duties not delegated in law to TEA or the State Board of Education are reserved for the trustees of the school district. (Texas Education Code §11.151(b))

The full House will be considering this bill on Tuesday!

Contact the members of the Texas House who represent any part of your school district as well as the Speaker of the House to express opposition to this bill.

Here are some points to be made about SB 1718:
  •  School boards are elected by local citizens to make decisions regarding the public schools within the district. This authority should not be assigned to politically-appointed individuals.
  • Creation of a statewide school district expands state government and presumes that bureaucrats in Austin know better what local schools need than educators and school boards in local communities. Parents would have to deal with Austin-based officials to convey any concerns about their local ASD school.
  • Texas education law provides a variety of tested sanctions for low-performing schools that the commissioner of education can use. Automatic assignment of schools to a state school district is an untested approach that compromises the commissioner’s authority.
  • Fundamental changes in the governance of local schools threaten the autonomy of local school districts and officials elected by local citizens."
Contact your representatives NOW and urge them to oppose SB 1718!