Speak Up before
The Gavel Falls
Lawmakers Are Making Decisions Now That
Affect Public Education for Next Two Years
by Karen Strong
A: Yes, but nothing is finalized yet—
so please stay engaged.
You have probably heard that the
initial news from the Capitol was good
for Texas school districts. House Bill 3, as
it was introduced and then voted out of
committee, addresses many of the concerns
educators have been voicing for years and
has provided an optimistic starting point.
Clearly, state leaders heard that Texas
public schools and public school teachers
deserved attention and funding. They
heard that full-day pre-K is important.
They listened when you told them that
public schools are a high priority with
You spoke up, and they heard you.
They also heard that the declining state
share has pushed the cost of public education onto the property tax bills we pay each
year. The fact that the state’s share has declined to 36 percent while the local property
tax share has risen to 64 percent has been
acknowledged, and a remedy is needed.
While the House of Representatives
has taken the lead on school district issues,
there is still a long road to making the
various elements of House Bill 3 into real
decisions that will pay off for Texas school
districts, teachers, and students.
Please don’t decide there is no more
need for advocacy.
Q:Is there good news from the Capitol? Resources You Can Use In fact, the need for advocacy is more critical now than at any other time! Here are a few resources that can help you
advocate for our schools and our kids:
Texans for Strong Public Schools.
The Texans for Strong Public Schools site
( texansforstrongpublicschools.org) is
an advocacy hub with pages addressing
some of the most pressing issues in school
finance, as well as a legislative action tool
that lets you contact your lawmakers.
number1.aspx to contact your legislators.
Free Online Course: Public School
Finance. TASB’s Online Learning Center
( onlinelearning.tasb.org) has developed a
free online course entitled “Understanding
School Finance.” It helps break down the
complicated and complex way that schools
are funded into smaller, easier-to-understand bites, with each element clearly explained. If you haven’t logged in to the
my TASB section of our website yet, you’ll
need to create a my TASB login account.
Event: The Future of Public Education. The Texas Tribune hosts a two-day
conversation called The Future of Public
Education April 1-2, which will feature
some of the most influential voices on
public education in our state. The Tribune
will livestream the entire program, and it
will be posted afterward so that you can
listen in if you weren’t able to attend. Visit
for more information.
Good Reading. Some thoughtful
op-eds have been written recently about
public school finance. Most recently, we
heard from Fort Bend ISD Trustee Jim
Rice, a TASB Board of Directors officer,
on the Trib Talk blog. In his piece entitled
“House Bill 3 Deserves a Sustained Round
of Applause,” he says: “When state leaders
take action that responds directly to the
requests of their constituents, it is time
to stop everything, shout ‘thank you,’ and
offer a sustained round of applause.” Read
the full op-ed at tribtalk.org/2019/03/15/
TASB on Social Media. Be sure to
follow TASB on Facebook at facebook.
com/tasbpage and on Twitter at twitter.
com/tasbnews to stay current on the
latest education news. If you agree with
what you see there, please share it with
your friends. It takes all of us to ensure
the future health of Texas public schools.
Text Alerts. Sign up for text alerts by
texting SCHOOLS to 313131. You’ll be
alerted by TASB each time a new action
item on current legislation occurs over
the next few weeks. This is a quick and
easy way to make your voice heard.
Nothing’s Decided Yet
As I write this, we have just passed the
midpoint of this legislative session. Half of
the days are gone, but all of the discussions
are still under way. Nothing is decided yet.
Please take a moment today to take
action to support Texas public schools.H
Karen Strong is TASB associate executive
director of Communications and Public