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Texas PTA Legislative Report

posted Mar 19, 2013, 7:16 AM by Unknown user
Weekly Bills Watch @
Weekly Summary
Bill filing ended last week as legislators rushed to submit 2,563 bills and proposed constitutional amendments, bringing the grand total up to 5,924 pieces of legislation.
SB 1, the Senate’s version of the general appropriations bill, was voted out of Senate Finance unanimously and the working legislation represents a budget total of $94.1 billion. To improve funding equity and to keep up with enrollment growth, the bill adds $1.4 billion to the Foundation School Program. It also increases Texas Grants by $120 million. The bill will be considered by the Senate on Wednesday.
No funding cuts have thus far been restored for public schools. While HB 10, signed by the Governor this week, gives $1.75 billion to public education, it actually just pays another bill that had been postponed from the last biennium. Federal sequestration may be adding more hurt to local schools: El Paso ISD and Arlington ISD have reported $2-3 million in budget cuts which mostly affect low-income students.
More bills roll out to change graduation requirements. This time, SB 1724 reduces the total number of End-of-Course exams to 4 or 5, with more tests required depending on the endorsement pursued. The bill contains much of the same language of SB 3, which creates a Foundations diploma program that allows students to receive certification or endorsements in the humanities, business, STEM, and more. And a year earlier than expected, the first set of STAAR tests will be released to the public at the beginning of summer.
News of the Week
Several articles are available each week to keep you up-to-date on legislative happenings in Texas.  You can view the blog here.