2013 Legislative Priorities
2013 Legislative Priorities
The Galveston County Schools Consortium is composed of all eight school districts serving Galveston County: Clear Creek Independent School District, Dickinson Independent School District, Friendswood Independent School District, Galveston Independent School District, Hitchcock Independent School District, La Marque Independent School District, Santa Fe Independent School District, and Texas City Independent School District. Collectively these school districts educate more than 75,000 students. Public school student enrollment is growing across the county. It increased by over 2,000 students last year. Those students are increasingly diverse, with an ever larger percentage classified as economically disadvantaged. Faced with the collective loss of over $41,000,000 in state funding from the 82nd Legislature (2011), the eight school district members of the Galveston County Schools Consortium have already eliminated 625 school district positions through attrition or by reductions in force – all while the Legislature and Texas Education Agency have required the implementation of a new centrally-directed testing system and curriculum for all students. The Galveston County Schools Consortium has, therefore, unanimously adopted the following legislative priorities for the State’s upcoming 2013-14 Legislative Session.
- Restore the $5.3 billion in cuts to the Foundation School Program (FSP) from the 2011 session, at a bare minimum, and implement a sustainable revenue system which fully funds student enrollment growth, inflation and state and federal mandates.
- Oppose any state voucher plans, tax credits, tuition reimbursements, or any other program that diverts public tax dollars to private entities, which are exempt from state and federal accountability requirements. If such legislation is introduced, it must include equal academic and fiscal accountability mandates that are expected of public schools.
- Allow school districts to keep local tax dollars, instead of allowing the state to divert increases in local property values and taxes into state coffers.
- Permanently repeal the statutory requirement that State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) End-of-Course (EOC) exams count for 15-percent of a student’s course grade, and furthermore, rescind the tabulation of EOC results as a graduation requirement and reduce the overall number of EOC exams per student.
- Develop an accountability system which is easily understood and accurately reflects overall student achievement at campus and district levels and recognizes the strengths and weaknesses of all students.
- Ensure students are college and career ready by including rigorous career and technical education courses to count toward Texas high school graduation requirements.