The State Board of Education (SBOE) established nine priorities for the 2019 session of the Texas Legislature. Many dealt with funding issues for new or ongoing programs but the board also called for changes in the governance structure of the Permanent School Fund, an endowment that currently has investment decisions made by both the SBOE and the School Land Board.
Following are the legislative recommendations adopted by the board.
1. New Permanent School Fund Governance Structure: Address Permanent School Fund governance structure that would:
• Unify the asset allocation policy and Available School Fund distribution decision making.
• Limit cash holdings to the amount needed for near term cash calls and other commitments that cannot be met by incoming revenue.
• Add to the School Land Board (SLB) either a public member appointed by the State Board of Education (SBOE) chair or an SBOE member appointed by the SBOE chair
• Require reporting and regular meetings between the SBOE and SLB
2. Funding Support – SBOE TEKS and Textbook Adoption Activities: Ensure sufficient legislative appropriations to increase staffing at the Texas Education Agency, particularly in the curriculum division, to provide adequate personnel to oversee and support the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) review and implementation process and the textbook adoption process.
3. Instructional Materials: Amend the SBOE review process to include a requirement that a submitted instructional material must align with 100% of the TEKS for the designated standards as compared to the current level of 50%.
4. New Initiatives - Family Supports:
• Special Education: TEA to create a family support call center and an online portal to assist families in navigating the public school systems for students with special needs. Encourage TEA to consider expanding this to general education students as well.
• Safe and Healthy Schools Initiative: TEA to create an advisory council on family engagement and empowerment to inform all state and local policymakers on best practices on family and school partnerships.
5. Support for Texas Commission on Public School Finance: Address the outdated and inefficient school funding formulas by working to implement the findings of the Texas Commission on Public School Finance. Specifically, the considerations for a new dyslexia allotment and a new dual-language allotment.
6. Funding Support – TEA Reading and Mathematics Academies: Continue financial support for Literacy and Mathematics Academies for first, second, and third grade.
7. Funding Support - Regional Education Service Centers: Legislature shall continue to support the appropriation that funds services through the regional education service centers.
8. New Initiative – Teacher Retention and Salary Improvements: The legislature and school districts establish and sustain competitive salaries and career paths for educators through innovative compensation plans, induction programs, professional development, mentoring, and administration.
9. Funding Support for TEA’s two Legislative Appropriations Request (LAR) Exceptional Items – Special Education Supports and Safe and Healthy Schools Initiative: A brief overview of the exceptional items are available in the TEA LAR, beginning on page 3.