During the Coppell ISD Board of Trustees meeting Monday, Trustee Tracy Fisher outlined several bills at the Texas Legislature being closely monitored by the district.
Among those are the ones that deal with charter schools.
Fisher said there have been 35 bills filed that have to do with charter schools. She expressed concern on some of those that would provide more charter school funding.
“Texas is a gold rush for charter schools, and many of these bills would open up Texas public funding to more of them,” Fisher said, “and give more flexibility.”
Fisher said a lot of money has gone to legislative campaigns to support charter schools.
“This matters to us because charters have expanded and are drawing down the primary source of funding for public schools, the Foundation School Program (FSP),” Fisher said.
She said FSP ensures all school districts, regardless of the property wealth, receive substantially equal access to similar revenue per student at similar tax effort.
“Charters started in 1995 as an experiment to help parents in failing districts have better choice in education,” she said. “We are beyond the beta testing.”
She said in addition to the funding there are other concerns.
“All schools don’t improve when charter schools move in,” Fisher said. “Their teachers are not required to be certified, so it should not be surprising that as a whole they don’t perform as well as public school ISDs and they don’t keep their kids and graduate them.”
In addition, Fisher said there are several bills related to bond elections, such as one that calls for tax ratification elections to November and one that calls for all bond elections to move to November.
Another bill calls for a supermajority vote to pass a bond election from 20 percent of the registered voters.
“I think in Coppell ISD there are 38,000 registered voters,” Fisher said. “Twenty percent of that … that would be a lot of voters.”
Fisher said there is interest in House bill 1468, which would allow local virtual learning to qualify for state funding and calculation of average daily attendance.
“That’s an important bill,” Fisher said. “We have a lot of students who thrive in that environment. “We need to keep our students and need to provide the best learning for them.”
Other bills Fisher said the district is watching include those that allow high school seniors to continue to make use of an individual graduation committee to determine if he or she can graduate despite not passing a maximum of two end-of-course exams.
In each district the committee is composed of the principal or the principal’s designee, the teacher of the course from which the student failed the EOC, the department chairperson from that course, and that student’s guardian or advocate.
A bill would allow the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) test to be administered electronically.
Another bill would make a “D” rating more punitive by saying it equates to an unacceptable ratings just like “F” ratings.