Tag Archives: governor

Teach the Vote’s Week in Review: Nov. 9, 2018

Here’s your weekly wrap-up of education news from ATPE Governmental Relations:

This past Tuesday was Election Day. All across the country registered voters lined up at polling places (some with hours-long waits) to cast their ballots and make their voices heard. There were a number of impressive wins and historical elections across the country and Texas was no exception. Turnout for this midterm election was nearly double what it was in 2014.

While Texas’s Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz were all able to secure reelection, the margins by which they won were closer than usual. Democrats in the Texas House were able to flip 12 seats, a gain that has implications for the impending race for a new House Speaker, while the minority party in the Senate also gained two seats. Senate Democrats will most likely still face a vacancy for at least the first part of the 2019 legislative session; Sen. Sylvia Garcia (D-Houston) announced her resignation today following her election to a U.S. Congressional seat on Tuesday. Gov. Greg Abbott must now call a special election to fill the state senate seat within the next couple of months. Additionally, the seat flipping in the state legislature might not be complete at this point as a number of candidates who seemingly lost their elections Tuesday by narrow margins are waiting for provisional and mail-in absentee ballots to be counted. Margins that remain slim following the completion of the vote counting could trigger recounts in a few races.

What we know for sure at this point is that Texans made a statement with this election by electing a myriad of pro-public education candidates to office. ATPE Lobbyist Mark Wiggins breaks down the math of this week’s election results in this blog post.


A 2012 decision by the state of Texas to spend less money on students with disabilities is coming back to haunt it. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has ruled to uphold a penalty levied by the U.S. Department of Education that withholds $33.3 million dollars in federal funding from Texas’s special education grants. The penalty was imposed after Texas was found to have withheld the same amount of money in funding for special education programs. While the state argued that its special education programs had helped students overcome their disabilities and hence fewer special education services were needed following the 2012 funding decrease, the federal education ageny contended that states can not reduce funding levels from year to year.

You can read more about the ruling and the history behind it in this article from the Texas Tribune.



Teach the Vote’s Week in Review: Oct. 26, 2018

During this first week of early voting, here’s your roundup of education news from ATPE Governmental Relations:

Early voting for the 2018 general election began on Monday with Educator Voting Day. Educators were encouraged to the head to the polls and cast their ballots alongside friends, family, and colleagues. Many educators took to social media to share their “I voted” selfies. While there is no tally of how many educators have turned out at the polls thus far, counties across the state are seeing record numbers of voter turnout for early voting in a midterm election.

Educators especially must remember what’s at stake during this election with regard to school funding, teacher pay, retirement benefits, and a myriad of other issues. It is important to go into this election as informed as possible. For more information on candidates, where to find polling places in your county, and what’s needed in order to vote, check out this blog post by ATPE Lobbyist Mark Wiggins.

With such a robust start to the early voting period, it’s only fitting that this week end with today’s Student Voting Day. As decreed by Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos last October:

The first Friday of the early voting period [is] Student Voting Day in Texas. This is a day when our entire community is called upon to urge and encourage all eligible students in Texas to make their voices heard by casting their ballots at ANY polling location in the county of their registration.

Early voting will continue through Nov. 2. For many voters, this weekend offers the only opportunity to early vote on the weekend. The general election is on Tuesday, Nov. 6. Whether you vote early or on election day, take time to learn about the candidates and build and print out your sample ballot before heading to the polls.

Much attention has been paid nationally to the competitive race for U.S. Senate between incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz and his challenger Congressman Beto O’Rourke, but Texans know that isn’t the only race at issue in this election. Contests for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and many other down ballot races will be decided in this election, and the outcomes of those contests on Nov. 6 could set the course for education policy in Texas for generations to come. As recent media reports show, educators and public education issues are taking center stage in a number of high-profile races, including statewide contests.

Monty Exter

“The expectation is that teachers just don’t vote,” Exter said. “But I feel like what we’ve been seeing over the last couple of elections is that the enthusiasm and participation of educators is on the rise.” – as reported by the Texas Tribune.

In an article published this week by the Texas Tribune and reposted here on Teach The Vote, ATPE Lobbyist Monty Exter explained that for quite some time the education community has been expected to lay down and take whatever the legislature gives them. But that tide may be starting to change. Educators have been becoming increasingly vocal and active in recent elections. A popular target of educators’ dissatisfaction with the status quo has been Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R), and the Texas Tribune‘s article highlights the role educators have played in the bid by Democratic challenger Mike Collier to unseat him.

Another statewide race where public education has emerged as an issue, somewhat surprisingly, is the election for Texas Attorney General. There, Justin Nelson (D) is challenging the current AG Ken Paxton (R) and calling out the incumbent for eyebrow-raising stances he has taken on questions of political involvement by educators. Earlier this year when educators started activating behind another challenger vying to unseat Lt. Gov. Patrick in the Republican primary election, Paxton issued a non-binding legal opinion questioning the propriety of certain actions being taken by school officials and pro-public education groups like ATPE to increase voter turnout among educators and even students who are eligible to vote. Paxton has used the AG’s office to continue to intimidate school district leaders out of promoting voting, and Nelson has responded by appealing directly to educators in the late stages of his campaign.

Read more about how educator involvement in this election has become a central focus in the AG’s race and how the education community is responding to the attempts to tamp down educators’ enthusiasm in this post by ATPE’s Exter. For public school employees who still have questions about what is and is not permissible political speech under state law, the Texas Educators Vote (TEV) coalition of which ATPE is a member also created this guide on Election Do’s and Dont’s for educators.

If you want to beat the crowds on Election Day, you’ll want to turn out at the polls during the “12 Days of Voting” happening now. But ATPE can point to numerous other reasons for educators to get out and vote regardless of the crowds or lines.

As has been stated many times before, the results of this election happening now are crucial to every Texan but to educators especially. During this early voting period, we’ve begun highlighting some of the reasons why educators should take this election to heart. It doesn’t take much to see that with state leaders campaigning on boasts about non-existent pay raises for teachers, with continuous increases in the cost of healthcare, and with local taxpayers bearing more and more of the burden for school funding, it doesn’t take much to see that it’s time for a change. Check out the latest installments of our 12 Days of Voting series at the links below, and keep watching for new posts in our blog series throughout the early voting period:

A brand new poll released by the University of Texas and the Texas Tribune today shows that high numbers of Texas voters are enthusiastic about the general election happening now. As reported by the Texas Tribune today, 76 percent of the voters polled said they were “absolutely certain” they would be voting in the midterms. Both Republican and Democratic voters displayed such enthusiasm according to the new polls results. In most recent midterm elections, the actual percentage of registered voters who turned out at the polls in Texas has been only about 38 percent.

The poll also showed statewide officeholders holding considerable leads over their challengers among likely voters. Here are more excerpts from the Texas Tribune‘s reporting:




Teach the Vote’s Week in Review: Oct. 5, 2018

Here are highlights of this week’s education news, courtesy of the ATPE Governmental Relations team:

The State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) is meeting today in Austin. The board’s agenda includes revisiting a new certification rule that was recently vetoed by the State Board of Education and beginning a periodic review of the requirements for certification as a superintendent in Texas. ATPE Lobbyist Kate Kuhlmann is at the meeting and has provided this report on today’s discussions.


Tuesday, Oct. 9, is the deadline to register to vote in the November 2018 general election. With statistics showing that Texas ranks dead last in the country for voter turnout, and with educators in other states making headlines by running for office and voting to oust elected officials who don’t support public schools, now is the time for Texas educators to make a big showing at the polls. The November general election will determine who holds such critical offices as Texas governor, lieutenant governor, and numerous seats in the state legislature and SBOE. Races for the Texas House will help determine who becomes our next House Speaker, and the people elected will be empowered to make crucial decisions that affect your paycheck, your working conditions, and most importantly, your students.

If you aren’t yet registered to vote, simply fill out an application and drop it in the mail no later than Tuesday. Not sure if you’re registered? Find out here. If you’re already registered, do you part to help others know about Tuesday’s deadline. Make sure your friends, family members, and even eligible students are registered to vote by Tuesday.

Once your registration is secure, the next step is to learn about the candidates who’ll be on your ballot. Our candidate profiles right here on Teach the Vote allow you to research all legislators’ voting records, the candidates’ responses to our survey on education issues, and more to help you make informed choices at the polls. If the candidates in your area haven’t answered our ATPE Candidate Survey, please encourage them to contact us. It’s a great tool for sharing their education views with voters.




Does Gov. Abbott want to spend more on schools?

Election season is truly magical.

There’s just something about the seething mercury, the colorful proliferation of yard signs, and the specter of an existential showdown that awakens a – dare we call it – miraculous clarity in political combatants seeking votes.

When else can one witness folks who’ve spent the past 20 months fighting in bitter opposition to a particular set of constituents suddenly discover a deep love for the values they hold? The Lord works in mysterious ways.

It’s no surprise that we’re now hearing support for improving the school finance system from unexpected corners. To a certain degree, it’s positive evidence that educators are being heard, and that the powers-that-be realize that there is more to gain by working with the education community than working to dismantle it.

That doesn’t mean that efforts to dismantle it behind the scenes will stop. In politics as in statistics, things tend to revert toward the mean. The governing happens long after the polls close. Nonetheless, election season opens a brief window of opportunity to use our seat at the table to advance the conversation.

Let’s apply this lens to the latest Dallas Morning News opinion column by Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Texas), with the promising headline, “Texas must boost school funding.” The key passage summarizing Gov. Abbott’s message is as follows:

“We need to pay our best teachers more, reward teachers and districts for student growth, prioritize spending in the classroom and reduce the burden of skyrocketing property taxes. I’ll add up front that I believe the state will have to provide more funding.”

That last line seems to offer an acknowledgment of what we in the education committee have known for some time, but which many in the Capitol have resisted mightily.

The problem, of course, is that many of the people who have opposed investing more state dollars in public education have falsely argued that the state is already increasing education spending year over year. They point to raw dollars going back to a low-water point in 2006 in order to obscure the reality of the deliberate and steady erosion of state support for local schools. Troublingly, Gov. Abbott takes this very tack in writing that “overall education spending in Texas has increased by more than 50 percent since 2006, and the state is contributing 29 percent more education funding per student in that time period.”

Let’s look at that claim.

The numbers in the latter half of that statement come from a Texas Education Agency (TEA) presentation before the Texas Commission on Public School Finance. The headline of the slide below seems to confirm the governor’s assertion, but look at the orange line indicating funding adjusted for inflation. It clearly shows that in terms of purchasing power, total per-student funding has risen only slightly since 2006, and is roughly equal to per-student funding in 2008. (Click the image to view a larger version.)

Source: Texas Education Agency

What’s perhaps more telling is the blue bar indicating how much funding the state has contributed. I’ve added the red brackets and red horizontal line to make the minute changes easier to see. You can tell that the raw dollar amount the state has contributed has actually decreased slightly since 2008 – and that’s not even adjusted for inflation.

To get to the inflation-adjusted number, we look at the Legislative Budget Board’s (LBB) Fiscal Size-up for the 2016-2017 biennium. In the chart below, we can see how spending from local property tax revenue (circled in green) has increased, while state aid (circled in blue) has changed little from 2008 levels. In total constant dollars adjusted for inflation (near the red arrow), we see that total funding has in fact decreased.

Source: Legislative Budget Board

The governor also wrongly suggests that funding is not making it into classrooms. According to the TEA’s 2016-17 Pocket Edition statistics, districts only spend an average of 3.1 percent on administrative costs.

To his credit, the governor advocates that increases in funding should go to teachers. No disagreement there. His idea is to implement a system in which top-performing teachers can earn significantly higher pay by teaching in areas facing the most need – similar to the “ACE” system tested in Dallas ISD. It’s a conversation that’s worth having, provided that educators are involved in the process and that the system doesn’t rely primarily on student test results to identify those “top-performing” teachers.

Governor Abbott also suggests moving away from a per-pupil funding model and, implicitly, toward a more outcomes-based approach. This is problematic for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is identifying which metrics with which to measure student performance and the threat of schools faced with the most significant socioeconomic challenges receiving even less support.

Finally, the governor writes that school finance reform must be accompanied by reforms in property taxes. It’s true the two are inextricably intertwined.

Increasing the state’s share of public education funding is the surest way to provide relief in property taxes. The governor proposes forcing taxing entities to lower their rates as appraisals go up, with the state presumably stepping in to make school districts whole. That’s a lot to presume, especially to do so in perpetuity.

Districts could hardly be blamed for wanting to see the legislature commit money up front before committing to voluntarily lower their tax rates – and it will take a sizable appropriation to shift the burden back toward the state in a way that will be meaningful to local property owners. School board members are politicians too, and they don’t want to be blamed for high taxes any more than their counterparts in Austin.

So what does it all mean? Does the governor’s column signify a dramatic reversal of his stance on public education, and school finance in particular? Does it mean he’s ready to stop attacking educators through anti-teacher payroll deduction bills and focus on improving teacher pay instead?

At a minimum, the governor is now talking about public education as an important priority, and that’s a good thing. The onus is on us to engage respectfully yet forcefully, and to shape the conversation, to the extent we can, by correcting inaccuracies and providing meaningful input. At best, we hope the governor will listen to educators and incorporate our feedback, even after the elections are over.

Of course, just as election season begins in the frantic furnace of summer, it ends in darkness on a winter night. When the legislature returns in January, we’ll all be faced with cold reality.

State leaders continue to discuss school safety measures

The office of Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a report today on school safety, specifically highlighting actions being taken by school districts to respond to growing concerns about violence in schools and related safety measures. The “School Safety Action Plan Summary” follows an earlier School and Firearm Safety Action Plan shared by the governor’s office earlier this year. The governor also convened a group of stakeholders back in July to discuss the issue, and ATPE’s state officers were invited to weigh in.

Among the safety measures noted in the governor’s summary report out today are training programs for educators, including the Mental Health First Aid course that is available at no cost to public school employees through their local mental health authorities. The eight-hour course for which educators can earn CPE credit focuses on identifying the signs and symptoms of mental health and substance abuse problems in students. Educators can learn more about the program here.

The governor’s report out today also highlights an increase in the number of school marshals, who are school employees trained and authorized to provide an armed response to violence incidents on a school campus. The school marshal program has existed since 2013 when the legislature passed House Bill 1009 by Rep. Jason Villalba, but relatively few school districts have opted into it. As ATPE Lobbyist Monty Exter noted in this article for the Dallas Morning News, “Whether it’s due to a lack of knowledge of the programs available or a lack of will to implement them, school boards have clearly not made arming educators a priority.” Money is also an ongoing issue in the debate over keeping schools safe, as school districts that are already facing deficiencies in their revenue struggle to find ample cash to pay for additional training, make building updates, or provide mental health resources.

Read the governor’s latest School Safety Action Plan Summary here. Read ATPE’s associated press statement here.

SBOE Chair Donna Bahorich addresses school safety issues as part of a federal panel on Aug. 28, 2018.

On Tuesday, Texas State Board of Education chair Donna Bahorich was a panelist in a listening session for the Federal Commission on School Safety. The event held in Montgomery, Alabama, was part of a series of listening sessions held around the country with the goal of devising strategies to improve school safety.

Bahorich talked about the mental health aspect of curbing violence in schools, including the need to remove the stigmas associated with seeking mental health treatment. “We need to do a paradigm shift around mental health,” Bahorich told the panel before sharing statistics about the prevalence of mental illness among schoolchildren. She also mentioned the concerns over expecting school counselors to fulfill both a mental health treatment function and academic counseling responsibilities, noting that Texas has been discussing whether such roles should be bifurcated. The full listening session broadcast can be viewed here. (The segment featuring Bahorich begins at 1:25:25 during the broadcast.)

Expect school safety to remain a top issue for consideration during the 2019 legislative session. A Senate Select Committee on Violence in Schools and School Security held hearings on the issue this year and released an interim report of its findings earlier this month. Stay tuned to Teach the Vote for updates on this important issue.

Teach the Vote’s Week in Review: July 20, 2018

Here’s your weekly wrap-up of education news from ATPE Governmental Relations:

Shannon Holmes

This week included some big news for our central office. ATPE announced Hardin-Jefferson ISD Superintendent Dr. Shannon Holmes will take over the reins as our new ATPE executive director starting in September. Dr. Holmes was recommended by a search committee composed of ATPE stakeholders and was approved by a vote of the ATPE Board of Directors.

Dr. Holmes has led HJISD, a 4A school district based in Sour Lake in Southeast Texas, since 2005. He brings 20 years of experience with Texas public schools, a long history of involvement with public education organizations, a strong background in business and finance, and proven engagement with issues facing public education in Texas. He currently serves as chair of the 2018 Legislative Council for the University Interscholastic League (UIL) and has experience testifying before committees of the Texas Legislature.

We’re excited to welcome Dr. Holmes to the ATPE family! Please join us in making him feel at home. You can read more about Dr. Holmes in the official ATPE press release.

The Senate Select Committee on Violence in Schools and School Security met again Wednesday of this week at the Texas Capitol. This marked the third meeting of the committee formed by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in the wake of the horrific shooting in Santa Fe, Texas. The Texas House of Representatives has held similar hearings through its Public Education and Public Health committees. The agenda for Wednesday’s meeting was laid out as follows:

Examine the root cause of mass murder in schools including, but not limited to, risk factors such as mental health, substance use disorders, anger management, social isolation, the impact of high intensity media coverage — the so-called “glorification” of school shooters — to determine the effect on copy cat shootings, and the desensitization to violence resulting from video games, music, film, and social media. Recommend strategies to early identify and intercept high-risk students, as well as strategies to promote healthy school culture, including character education and community support initiatives.

Lawmakers heard plenty of calls for additional resources, such as counselors and psychologists, to address these issues. However the Senate in particular has a history of being resistant to initiatives that involve increasing state spending on schools. You can read a recap of the hearing by ATPE Lobbyist Kate Kuhlmann here.

A busy and successful ATPE Summit last week in Dallas didn’t slow down ATPE’s state officers, who were back to work Monday morning advocating for ways to keep campuses safe.

ATPE State President Carl Garner, State Vice President Byron Hildebrand, State Secretary Tonja Gray, and State Treasurer Jimmy Lee were invited by the governor’s staff to participate in stakeholder meetings covering a range of topics pertaining to school safety.

This included feedback relating to law enforcement in schools, the marshal program, and students removed from traditional classrooms for disciplinary reasons. ATPE leaders were able to share their personal experiences with Gov. Greg Abbott’s staff and make suggestions for ways to maximize campus safety. Read more about their meeting in this post by ATPE Lobbyist Kate Kuhlmann.

ATPE state officers offer input on school safety

The ATPE state officers were in Austin yesterday to offer input on Governor Greg Abbott’s School and Firearm Safety Action Plan. ATPE State President Carl Garner, State Vice President Byron Hildebrand, State Secretary Tonja Gray, and State Treasurer Jimmy Lee were invited by the governor’s staff to participate in stakeholder meetings covering a range of topics pertaining to school safety.

ATPE state officers (from left) Tonja Gray, Jimmy Lee, Carl Garner, and Byron Hildebrand at the Texas Capitol.

The meetings consisted of stakeholders representing a number of different industries, organizations, and interests. All were asked to share their perspectives as practitioners and experts in their respective fields. The discussion covered a broad array of topics dealing with school safety, including law enforcement in schools, the school marshal program, emergency response plans, campus security programs, mental health, students who disrupt the classroom, social media tactics, and training for educators and students.

Carl Garner shares feedback on the governor’s school safety plan.

ATPE leaders shared feedback from their perspectives as educators in the classroom. For example, Garner provided context with regard to students who are removed from the traditional classroom due to disciplinary reasons. When his school noticed that many of their alternative education program students became repeat offenders, they instituted support and intervention services that helped such students assimilate back into the traditional classroom. These students can be drawn to the structure of smaller classrooms and more individualized support that differs from many large, and sometimes overcrowded, classrooms. The supports on his campus are aimed at stopping the cycle and addressing the needs of these students to prevent ongoing behavioral issues or threats.

ATPE will continue to follow school safety developments and report on relevant information. At the 2018 ATPE Summit last week, the importance of this issue was solidified. The ATPE House of Delegates passed a main motion that reiterated ATPE members’ desire to remain advocates for their students and informed voices on the important and timely topic of school safety. We are committed to supporting those efforts.

The Governor’s Office will hold one additional school safety meeting on Wednesday. This meeting will focus on aspects of the governor’s plan that pertain to gun safety, background checks, and gun ownership.

House panel report includes education recommendations

On Tuesday, the House Select Committee on Economic Competitiveness released its formal report containing recommendations for ensuring Texas remains the nation’s most desirable destination for relocating or opening up new businesses.

Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) formed the committee in October 2017 in response to concerns that the 85th Texas Legislature pursued a number of legislative proposals that resulted in Texas dropping precipitously in the rankings of America’s Top States for Business.

“Texas has long enjoyed a booming economy and staggering job growth. Our economic strength has been predicated on a number of factors: high oil prices, geography, the tax and regulatory environment within the state, and the can-do attitude of millions of Texans,” Straus explained when he announced the committee. “However, there are forces, if left unchecked, that could derail the success our state has enjoyed.”

The committee conducted several hearings and weighed testimony from 42 prominent and influential witnesses from the business, law enforcement and local communities. The committee documented several findings related to education. Most notably, the report underscored the important role public schools play in ensuring the educated workforce necessary to sustain businesses operating in today’s economy. The following passage is taken directly from the committee’s report:

Public education teaches students basic skills before entering the workforce and fosters innovation. Policymakers must deal with school finance, examining not just the amount of money allocated for education, but how we distribute it — and how we can better incentivize public educators and institutions. The governor’s recently proposed 2.5 percent cap on property tax revenue will be detrimental to school funding since school districts receive 40 to 60 percent of property taxes across the state. The Texas House passed a 6 percent cap during the 85th Legislature, but the measure was killed by the Senate; this new proposal will severely reduce school resources unless more funding is appropriated by the legislature.

House Bill 21 of the 85th Legislature would have increased the state’s share of school funding and reduced the need for higher property taxes — easing the burden on homeowners — but the legislation died after being altered by the Senate. After all, how can the challenges facing the future competitiveness of the state’s workforce be addressed if Texas turns its back on its public school system, or does not address its method for allocating resources to public schools?

The importance of local control for school districts was stressed with the explanation that local control granted from the state is important for hiring staff and providing a safe campus for students. Educators want their graduates to meet the specific needs of where their district is located, which makes local control imperative for creating curriculum and making decisions about how to meet those needs. Testimony also demonstrated the need for presenting high school students with information about technical programs, rather than only promoting four-year universities. Public schools must address the needs of students with disabilities, but programs to help them transition to the workplace and speech, occupational and physical therapies are consistently underfunded.

Based upon these observations, the committee included a number of proposals specifically related to public education. From the report:

Recommendation: The legislature must prioritize funding for public education that is regularly adjusted to account for growth in population and inflation. Policymakers should closely examine the effectiveness of public education expenditures to ensure that dollars are used to maximize student success, and ensure the state’s academic accountability system increases the performance of schools and students.

  • In response to declines in state tax revenue, the 82nd Legislature reduced entitlement funding for public education by $5.4 billion. While subsequent legislatures have increased funding for public education, the majority of funds have been used only to cover costs created by the growth in the number of students.
  • Adjusted for increases in population and inflation, state spending on public education has decreased by nearly 16 percent since 2008. At the same time, there has been an increase in the number of students who are classified as “economically disadvantaged” and are therefore more expensive to educate.
  • As the majority of new funding provided by the legislature simply addresses population growth, there have been few opportunities to invest in programs that have proven to increase academic achievement — such as technical career education, science, technology, engineering and mathematics or STEM courses, dual-credit offerings, and bilingual education.
  • As the state’s share of public education funding has declined, the burden on local property taxes and recapture payments has grown, eliminating any opportunity for local property tax rates to be reduced. About 54 percent of all property taxes paid in Texas are collected by school districts. Therefore, the fastest and most effective way to reduce the property-tax burden is for the state to pay more of the cost of public education.
  • Many of the school finance formula weights and allotments — such as the Cost of Education Index or Transportation Allotment — have not been updated or adjusted for the effects of population and inflation in more than two decades. Increases in state funding should be tied to regular adjustment of these weights, combined with the elimination of funding elements that are inefficient or no longer represent the diverse needs of Texas’ public education system.
  • The legislature must increase funding for special education programs and Early Childhood Intervention programs so that children with disabilities can successfully enter pre-kindergarten programs, while also providing more reliable funding for programs that help students with disabilities transition to the workplace.

Committee Chairman Byron Cook (R-Corsicana) submitted the report Tuesday. It will be presented to the 86th Texas Legislature, which is scheduled to meet in January 2019. You read the full report here, courtesy of the Texas Tribune.

Texas primary election day reminders

Today is election day for the Republican and Democratic primaries in Texas. If you did not vote early, get out to the polls today! Here are some quick tips and reminders from the ATPE Governmental Relations team:

  • Polls are open today until 7 p.m. tonight. You must vote in your assigned precinct unless your county offers countywide polling. Visit the Texas Secretary of State’s “Am I Registered” website to look up your precinct and polling location, or call your local registrar of voters to find out where you can vote.

  • You may vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary today – but not both! No matter which primary you choose, you can still vote for candidates of any party affiliation, including independent or third-party candidates, during the November general election.

    • Don’t forget to take your photo ID with you to the polls and any written notes or sample ballot you’ve created. You cannot use your cell phone while in the voting booth.

  • If you encounter any difficulty while attempting to cast your vote today, call the Election Protection Hotline at 866.OUR.VOTE.

  • Be prepared to share your input on the nonbinding propositions at the end of your ballot that will help shape the platform of the Republican or Democratic party this year. Learn more about them here.

  • If you early voted or are voting today in the Republican primary, consider participating in your precinct convention tonight after the polls close. It’s a chance to become a delegate for upcoming party conventions and propose or vote on resolutions to help shape the party platform on issues such as public education. (The Democratic party no longer holds precinct conventions but has a different process for becoming a delegate.) Learn more about the process for both parties here, and read tips from a Republican party precinct chair here.

  • Finally and most importantly, if you’re still undecided on candidates, use our search page to find your candidates for Texas House and Senate, State Board of Education, lieutenant governor, and governor. View their profiles here on Teach the Vote to find out how they answered ATPE’s candidate survey, view incumbents’ voting records, and more.

Your vote is your voice. Don’t be silent today! Texas schoolchildren are counting on you to exercise your right to elect sound leaders who will stand up for public education. Many races in Texas will be decided by what happens in today’s primary election and not the general election in November. There will also be many close races in today’s primaries, which could be decided by only a handful of votes. Your vote may be the one that makes the difference!

General Election Results: By the numbers

In the Nov. 4 general election for Texas Governor and Lieutenant Governor, the following is a breakdown of the votes cast and corresponding percentages with 98.98% of precincts reporting as of Nov. 5:

Greg Abbott (Republican)            2,778,461 (59.29%)
Wendy R. Davis (Democrat)        1,821,494 (38.87%)
Kathie Glass (Libertarian)                 66,045 (1.40%)
Brandon Parmer (Green)                  18,369 (0.39%)
Sarah M. Pavitt (Write-In)                   1,155 (0.02%)

Lieutenant Governor
Dan Patrick (Republican)                2,707,566 (58.18%)
Leticia Van de Putte (Democrat)    1,799,505 (38.66%)
Robert D. Butler (Libertarian)            119,076 (2.55%)
Chandrakantha Courtney (Green)      27,544 (0.59%)

Here are the outcomes by percentage of all Texas State Senate races that were contested on the Nov. 4 general election ballot:

Senate District 2
Bob Hall (R) with 83.6% defeated Don Bates (L) with 16.4%. Hall defeated incumbent Sen. Bob Deuell (R) in a primary match-up earlier this year.

Senate District 3
Incumbent Robert Nichols (R) with 90.6% trounced Tyler Lindsey (L) with 9.4%.

Senate District 5
Incumbent Charles Schwertner (R) with 65% won over Joel Shapiro (D) with 31.2% and Matthew Whittington (L) with 3.8%.

Senate District 7
Paul Bettencourt (R) with 71.8% defeated Jim Davis (D) with 26.3% and Whitney Bilyeu (L) with 1.9%. This is the seat being vacated by Sen. Dan Patrick (R) who was elected Lieutenant Governor last night.

Senate District 8
In the seat currently held by Ken Paxton, who won last night’s race to become Attorney General, current State Rep. Van Taylor (R) earned 79% of the votes to convincingly defeat Scott Jameson (L) with 21%. A Democratic candidate, Jack Ternan, withdrew from the race.

Senate District 9
Incumbent Kelly Hancock (R) with 65.1% defeated Gregory Perry (D) with 34.9%. A Libertarian candidate, Nicolas Wallace, withdrew from the race.

Senate District 10
Konni Burton (R) earned 52.8% to defeat Libby Willis (D) at 44.7%, Gene Lord (L) at 1.8% and John Tunmire (G) at 0.6%,

Senate District 14
Incumbent Kirk Watson (D) beat James Strohm (L) by a hefty margin of 80% to 20%.

Senate District 15
Incumbent John Whitmire (D) with 59.2% defeated Ron Hale (R) with 38.5% and Gilberto Velasquez, Jr. (L) with 2.4%.

Senate District 16
Don Huffines (R) was declared the victor after his opponent, Mike Dooling (L), apparently withdrew from the race. Huffines previously defeated incumbent Sen. John Carona (R) in a primary contest back in March.

Senate District 17
Incumbent Joan Huffman (R) with 63.3% defeated Rita Lucido (D) with 33.9%. George Hardy (L) earned just 2% of the vote while David Courtney (G) earned 0.7%.

Senate District 23
Incumbent Royce West (D) earned 79.4% of the vote to soundly defeat John Lawson (R) at 18.8% and Jonathan Erhardt (L) at 1.8%.

Senate District 25
Incumbent Donna Campbell (R) with 65.2% was the winner over Daniel Boone (D) with 31.8% and Brandin Lea (L) with 3%.

Senate District 30
Incumbent Craig Estes (R) with 86.7% defeated Cory Lane (L) with 13.3%.

Senate District 31
Incumbent Kel Seliger (R) with 90.4% easily prevailed over Steven Gibson (L) with 9.6%.

Below is the full list of results for contested Texas State House races in the Nov. 4 general election:

House District 3
Incumbent Cecil Bell (R) – 91%
Larry Parr (L) – 9%

House District 4
Stuart Spitzer (R) – 89.1%
Frederick Rick Stralow (L) – 10.9%
Spitzer defeated incumbent Rep. Lance Gooden in the March 2014 primary election.

House District 5
Incumbent Bryan Hughes (R) – 92.3%
Ron Walenta (L) – 7.7%

House District 6
Incumbent Matt Schaefer (R) – 87.8%
Joel Gardner (L) – 12.2%

House District 8
Incumbent Byron Cook (R) – 87.9%
John Wilford (L) – 12.1%

House District 14
Incumbent John Raney (R) – 68.1%
Andrew Metscher (D) – 28.5%
Bruce Pugh (L) – 3.4%

House District 16 (open seat formerly held by Sen. Brandon Creighton)
Will Metcalf (R) – 83.8%
Michael Hayles (D) – 13.7%
Bob Townsend (L) – 2.6%

House District 17
Incumbent Tim Kleinschmidt (R) – 64.6%
Carolyn Banks (D) – 35.4%

House District 20
Incumbent Marsha Farney (R) – 73.3%
Stephen Wyman (D) – 22.7%
Jarrod Weaver (L) – 3.9%

House District 21 (open seat)
Dade Phelan (R) – 74.4%
Gavin Bruney (D) – 25.6%

House District 23 (open seat)
Wayne Faircloth (R) – 54.6%
Susan Criss (D) – 45.4%

House District 24
Incumbent Greg Bonnen (R) was the winner after challenger Joseph Whittington withdrew from the race.

House District 25
Incumbent Dennis Bonnen (R) was the winner after challenger Randall Goodson withdrew from the race.

House District 26
Incumbent Rick Miller (R) – 69.7%
Amber Paaso (D) – 30.3%

House District 27
Incumbent Ron Reynolds (D) – 67%
David Hamilton (R) – 33%

House District 41
Incumbent Bobby Guerra (D) – 57.5%
Elijah Casas (R) – 42.5%

House District 42
Incumbent Richard Pena Raymond (D) – 88.4%
Nicolas Serna, III (G) – 11.6%

House District 43
Incumbent J.M. Lozano (R) – 61.4%
Kim Gonzalez (D) – 38.6%

House District 44
Incumbent John Kuempel (R) – 75.7%
Robert Bohmfalk (D) – 24.3%

House District 45
Incumbent Jason Isaac (R) – 72.6%
Jim Duke (L) – 27.4%

House District 46
Incumbent Dawnna Dukes (D) – 84%
Kevin Ludlow (L) – 16%

House District 47
Incumbent Paul Workman (R) – 73%
Scott McKinlay (L) – 27%

House District 48
Incumbent Donna Howard (D) – 78.1%
Ben Easton (L) – 21.9%

House District 49
Incumbent Elliott Naishtat (D) – 85.1%
Daniel Krawisz (L) – 14.9%

House District 50
Incumbent Celia Israel (D) – 58.7%
Mike VanDeWalle (R) – 37.1%
David Dreesen (L) – 4.2%

House District 51
Incumbent Eddie Rodriguez (D) – 87.3%
Arthur DiBianca (L) – 12.7%

House District 52
Incumbent Larry Gonzales (R) – 56.4%
Chris Osborn (D) – 38.5%
Irene Johnson (L) – 5%

House District 53 (open seat)
Andrew Murr (R) – 89.9%
Maximilian Martin (L) – 10.1%

House District 54
Incumbent Jimmie Don Aycock (R) was the winner; challenger Claudia Brown (D) withdrew from the race.

House District 56
Incumbent Charles “Doc” Anderson (R) – 83.3%
Clifford Deuvall (L) – 16.7%

House District 58 (open seat)
DeWayne Burns (R) – 80.4%
Greg Kauffman (D) – 19.6%

House District 61
Incumbent Phil King (R) – 83%
Matthew Britt (D) – 17%

House District 63
Incumbent Tan Parker (R) – 77.3%
Daniel Moran (D) – 22.7%

House District 64
Incumbent Myra Crownover (R) – 63.4%
Emy Lyons (D) – 33.8%
Braeden Wright (G) – 2.8%

House District 65
Incumbent Ron Simmons (R) – 64.3%
Alex Mendoza (D) – 35.7%

House District 66 (open seat)
Matt Shaheen (R) was declared the winner after Ian Santorella withdrew from the race.

House District 67
Incumbent Jeff Leach (R) – 78.5%
Patrick Peavy (L) – 21.5%

House District 76
Cesar Blanco (D) – 87.1%
Alexandro Lozano (L) – 12.9%
Blanco defeated incumbent Rep. Naomi Gonzalez (D) in the March primary.

House District 77
Incumbent Marisa Marquez (D) – 78.2%
Ben Mendoza (I) – 21.8%

House District 82
Incumbent Tom Craddick (R) was the winner; challenger Dan Anderson withdrew from the race.

House District 83 (open seat formerly held by Sen. Charles Perry)
Dustin Burrows (R) – 81.2%
Max R. Tarbox (D) – 18.8%

House District 84
Incumbent John Frullo (R) – 72.7%
Edward Tishler (D) – 27.3%

House District 85
Incumbent Phil Stephenson (R) – 66.6%
Cynthia Drabek (D) – 33.4%

House District 87
Incumbent Four Price (R) – 84.3%
Abel Bosquez (D) – 15.7%

House District 88
Incumbent Ken King (R) – 93.2%
Kerry McKennon (L) – 6.8%

House District 89
Incumbent Jodie Laubenberg (R) – 71.6%
Sameena Karmally (D) – 28.4%

House District 91
Incumbent Stephanie Klick (R) – 68.7%
David Ragan (D) – 28.2%
Felecia Whatley (L) – 3.1%

House District 92
Incumbent Jonathan Stickland (R) – 63.6%
Tina Penney (D) – 36.4%

House District 93
Incumbent Matt Krause (R) was the winner; challenger Jeff Owens (L) withdrew from the race.

House District 94
Tony Tinderholt (R) – 56.6%
Cole Ballweg (D) – 40.5%
Robert Harris (L) – 2.9%
Tinderholt defeated incumbent Rep. Diane Patrick (R) in the March 2014 primary election.

House District 95
Incumbent Nicole Collier (D) – 75.8%
Albert McDaniel (R) – 24.2%

House District 96
Incumbent Bill Zedler (R) – 80.7%
Quinn Eaker (L) – 19.3%

House District 97
Incumbent Craig Goldman (R) – 81.6%
Rod Wingo (L) – 18.4%

House District 100
Incumbent Eric Johnson (D) – 90%
Brian Chapman (L) – 10%

House District 101
Incumbent Chris Turner (D) – 84.6%
Carl Nulsen (L) – 15.4%

House District 102
Linda Koop (R) – 62.5%
George Clayton (D) – 37.5%
Koop defeated incumbent Rep. Stefani Carter (R) in the March 2014 primary.

House District 105
Rodney Anderson (R) – 55.4%
Susan Motley (D) – 42.7%
Carl Spiller (L) – 1.8%
Anderson defeated incumbent Rep. Linda Harper-Brown (R) in the March 2014 primary.

House District 106
Incumbent Patrick Fallon (R) – 70%
Lisa Osterholt (D) – 27.5%
Rodney Caston (L) – 2.5%

House District 107
Incumbent Kenneth Sheets (R) – 55%
Carol Donovan (D) – 45%

House District 108 (open seat)
Morgan Meyer (R) – 60.7%
Leigh Bailey (D) – 39.3%

House District 112
Incumbent Angie Chen Button (R) – 81.6%
Michael Binkley (L) – 18.4%
Kimberly Williams (D) withdrew from the race.

House District 113
Incumbent Cindy Burkett (R) – 59.4%
Milton Whitley (D) – 40.6%

House District 114
Incumbent Jason Villalba (R) – 81.1%
Thomas Griffing (L) – 18.9%

House District 115
Matt Rinaldi (R) – 57.1%
Paul Stafford (D) – 39.5%
Kim Kelley (L) – 3.4%
Rinaldi defeated incumbent Rep. Bennett Ratliff (R) in the March 2014 primary election.

House District 117
Rick Galindo (R) – 52.7%
Incumbent Philip Cortez (D) – 47.3%

House District 120
Incumbent Ruth Jones McClendon (R) – 82.3%
Gilberto Villela (L) – 17.7%

House District 121
Incumbent Joe Straus (R) – 82.1%
Jeff Carruthers (I) – 17.9%

House District 122
Incumbent Lyle Larson (R) – 85%
James Holland (L) – 15%

House District 123
Incumbent Mike Villarreal (D) – 86.3%
Paul Ingmundson (G) – 13.7%

House District 125
Incumbent Justin Rodriguez (D) – 76.9%
Daniel Behrman (L) – 23.1%

House District 126
Incumbent Patricia Harless (R) – 86.3%
Cris Hernandez (L) – 13.7%

House District 128
Incumbent Wayne Smith (R) – 90.7%
Ken Lowder (L) – 9.3%

House District 129 (open seat)
Dennis Paul (R) – 67.8%
John Gay (D) – 32.2%

House District 130
Incumbent Allen Fletcher (R) – 90.8%
Art Browning (G) – 9.2%

House District 132 (open seat)
Mike Schofield (R) – 66.1%
Luis Lopez (D) – 33.9%

House District 133
Incumbent Jim Murphy (R) – 74.6%
Laura Nicol (D) – 25.4%

House District 134
Incumbent Sarah Davis (R) – 61.2%
Alison Ruff (D) – 38.8%

House District 135
Incumbent Gary Elkins (R) – 65.9%
Moiz Abbas (D) – 34.1%

House District 136
Incumbent Tony Dale (R) – 54.2%
John Bucy (D) – 41.4%
Justin Billiot (L) – 4.7%

House District 137
Incumbent Gene Wu (D) – 57.9%
Morad Fiki (R) – 42.1%

House District 138
Incumbent Dwayne Bohac (R) – 66.8%
Fred Vernon (D) – 33.2%

House District 144
Gilbert Pena (R) – 50.7%
Incumbent Mary Ann Perez (D) – 49.3%

House District 146
Incumbent Borris Miles (D) – 91.9%
Morgan Bradford (G) – 8.1%

House District 148
Incumbent Jessica Farrar (D) – 60.3%
Chris Carmona (R) – 39.7%

House District 149
Incumbent Hubert Vo (D) – 45.1%
Al Hoang (R) – 54.9%

House District 150
Incumbent Debbie Riddle (R) – 73.2%
Amy Perez (D) – 26.8%

Here are the results of all State Board of Education (SBOE) contested races on the Nov. 4 general election ballot, showing the number of votes cast and percentages as of Nov. 5:

Member, State Board of Education, District 3
Marisa B. Perez Incumbent (D) – 128,118 (59.49%)
Dave Mundy (R) – 80,485 (37.37%)
Josh Morales (L) – 6,727 (3.12%)
Total Votes 215,330 (only 98.57% of precincts had reported)

Member, State Board of Education, District 4
Lawrence A. Allen Jr. Incumbent (D) – 158,252 (76.45%)
Dorothy Olmos (R) – 48,729 (23.54%)
Total Votes 206,981 (100% of precincts)

Member, State Board of Education, District 7
David Bradley Incumbent (R) – 225,960 (63.87%)
Kathy King (D) – 119,789 (33.86%)
Megan DaGata (L) – 7,984 (2.25%)
Total Votes 353,733 (100% of precincts)

Member, State Board of Education, District 11
Patricia “Pat” Hardy Incumbent (R) – 242,032 (65.12%)
Nancy Bean (D) – 116,582 (31.36%)
Craig Sanders (L) – 13,034 (3.50%)
Total Votes 371,648 (100% of precincts)

Member, State Board of Education, District 12
Geraldine “Tincy” Miller Incumbent (R) – 221,418 (61.37%)
Lois Parrott (D) – 127,145 (35.24%)
Mark Wester (L) – 12,172 (3.37%)
Total Votes 360,735 (100% of precincts)

Member, State Board of Education, District 13
Erika Beltran (D) – 172,285 (89.82%)
Junart Sodoy (L) – 19,510 (10.17%)
Total Votes 191,795 (100% of precincts)