Impact of Recent Legislation

by Coy Holcombe.  

We received two emails from TEA regarding bills passed in the last legislative session. One of the bills, HB 3646, which is also the bill that changed the finance formulas, included a provision that stated that school districts would not be required to pay the tuition or other related costs for students enrolled in a dual credit course in order to count those students for ADA purposes. The reason that this was addressed centered around a decision made before the beginning of last school year by TEA that stated in order for a school district to count students enrolled in dual credit courses for their ADA, the district would have to pay the cost of the college tuition. This was not a decision that had been discussed among school districts. This came as quite a surprise to all districts that offered dual credit classes. The impact of this decision would have forced districts to either pay these costs (which, because of the timing of the decision, were not budgeted) or discontinue dual credit classes. The other alternative was to not count these students in ADA calculations. None of these options are good options. Dual credit courses are important to our children and parents. The ADA is important to our district because of funding implications. Fortunately, this decision was recanted long enough to allow the legislature to look at the issue. The section of the bill that deals with dual credit expires in 2011.

The other bill, HB 3, repealed the section in the Texas Education Code related to expenditure targets.Expenditure targets were an attempt to normalize the spending in categories among school districts based on community types. While the intent was good, any system that seeks to establish norms related to spending fails to take into account the individual needs of school districts. Sometimes things just happen and school districts need to react accordingly. A prime example is the increase in the cost of fuel. I don’t think that there is a school district in the state that wants to pay more for the fuel to run their buses; however, school districts cannot control the cost per gallon of fuel. We can make sure that fuel is not being wasted and adopt policies that encourage fuel savings; but, we also must purchase the fuel to allow our buses to operate.

Other news:

The weight equipment for the new gym arrived yesterday. I will try to get some pictures and post those next week.

Our maintenance crews are busy installing new playground equipment at the Primary. The equipment was purchased a couple of years ago from a grant from the Murchison Foundation. Due to the construction at the Primary, this is the first opportunity to install this equipment.

Volleyball camp ends today. Some of our younger volleyball players have had an opportunity to work with coaches and varsity players this week.


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