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Teach the Vote’s Week in Review: June 2, 2023

Teach the Vote
Teach the Vote

Date Posted: 6/02/2023

The ATPE Governmental Relations team recaps the past week’s education news, legislative and election updates, and regulatory developments.

SINE DIE: On Monday, May 29, the 88th Legislature adjourned sine die; on Monday, May 29, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) called the first special session of the 88th Legislature, just as those in the Capitol crowd began their end-of-session celebrations. House Bill (HB) 100 by Rep. Ken King (R–Canadian) was the primary focus of the final weekend of the regular session, as the school finance bill was both the last remaining vehicle for a teacher pay raise AND the chosen vehicle for a last-minute voucher scheme by Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R), and Sen. Brandon Creighton (R–Conroe). ATPE Lobbyist Tricia Cave recaps the final weekend and ultimate death of HB 100 in this blog post. 

ATPE Governmental Relations Director Monty Exter put out a statement Sunday thanking House leadership for stopping the voucher scheme: “Make no mistake: The governor, lieutenant governor, and Senate majority took a teacher pay raise hostage to try to pass a voucher scheme that couldn’t pass on its own. This was about politics, not kids. … We applaud the legislative champions who continue to fight voucher schemes that will defund public schools and who will continue to fight for a teacher pay raise. We pledge to continuing to work alongside Speaker Phelan, Chairman King and the countless other legislators who are dedicated to doing right by Texas students and Texas public schools.”  

From left: Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Gov. Greg Abbott, and Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan. Credit: The Texas Tribune

SPECIAL SESSION: The agenda items for the first called special session are property tax reform and border security. The House passed bills related to each Tuesday and then quickly adjourned sine die again. This set off a week of Twitter sparring between the two chambers and the governor, as reported by The Texas Tribune and republished on Teach the Vote. 

HOUSTON ISD: The Texas Education Agency (TEA) takeover of Houston ISD (HISD), the state’s largest school district, took place Thursday. Commissioner Mike Morath named former Dallas ISD Superintendent and charter school executive Mike Miles as the new HISD superintendent and appointed a nine-member HISD Board of Managers drawn from a pool of 462 applicants, per this TEA press release. Miles promised “sweeping reforms” in an interview with Houston Public Media.    

HD 2 SPECIAL ELECTION: Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced Tuesday that the special election to fill the unexpired term in House District 2 would take place Nov. 7, with early voting beginning Oct. 23. The seat is vacant following the House expulsion of former Rep. Bryan Slaton (R–Royse City) for alleged inappropriate behavior with a staffer under age 21. 

CERTIFICATION EXAM REIMBURSEMENTS: Through September, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) is providing a limited reimbursement opportunity for all educator preparation programs (EPPs) certifying candidates in approved shortage areas for the 2022-23 academic year. The Critical Shortage Area Certification Exam Reimbursement Opportunity will support over 10,000 teacher candidates. Learn more in this ATPE Blog post.

MEDIA: PBS documentary series Frontline aired “After Uvalde: Guns, Grief & Texas Politics.” Also this week: Texas Public Radio interviewed ATPE Lobbyist Tricia Cave about House Bill (HB) 1605, a curriculum bill by House Public Education Committee Chairman Brad Buckley (R–Salado). ATPE took a neutral position on this bill during the session due to concerns the financial incentives offered to school districts to choose a TEA-approved curriculum would lead to a de facto mandated curriculum.

ATPE SUMMIT DEADLINE: The delegate certification deadline for the ATPE Summit (July 10–12 in Round Rock) is Friday, June 9, so ATPE members have one week left to notify their local unit or region president if they are interested in attending. The 2023 ATPE House of Delegates will consider recommendations from the ATPE Legislative Committee for the association’s 2023-24 legislative program. In addition, attendees will have the opportunity to earn up to seven hours of continuing professional education (CPE) credit and enjoy the attractions at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions. Learn more at atpesummit.org


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