This is a hard week for public education in the Texas Legislature. Can you lend a hand to try to stop these bad bills? Here are four things you can do pretty fast.
Can you help shine the light on this charter school power grab? You can use this link to send a tweet now. Send a letter to our elected officials too and tell them to VOTE NO on HB 1348 and HB 3610 being voted on in the House today.
Stop the state takeover bill being heard in the House on Thursday. Click here to send a letter to oppose this horrible bill which gives enormous power to the unelected TEA commissioner including making all TEA takeover decisions final and unappealable. So much for democracy and the three branches.
Stop HB 3979/SB 2220 that Limit Discussions About Civic Engagement, Racism and Sexism in Texas Schools. Email alert at https://p2a.co/m8ZMbya.
Finally, if you are able call your state rep/state senator to express your opposition to these nefarious bills that harm our students and our democracy.
- Find your elected: https://www.texastribune.org/directory/ Keep your comments short- your name and affiliation (parent, teacher, Texan), the bills you support or oppose and a quick reason or story if you have one.
HERE IS BACKGROUND INFORMATION on the bills.
HB 3270/SB 1365: State Takeover Bill
Give an extraordinary amount of new authority to the unelected commissioner of education to override the will of voters by taking over an elected school board, ex TEA can appoint board of managers if only one campus has a conservator for just two years.
Makes commissioner decisions final
- Makes it a Class C misdemeanor for a school board trustee to sue TEA for a decision in which they erred.
HB 3610 would exempt charter schools from the property taxes that fund our public schools. Charter schools don't need a tax break when working families are struggling!
- Gives charter schools a tax exemption for leased property. --An exemption that public school districts do not have.
- Parity: Property owned by a charter school already is tax exempt – just like a school district. Texas taxpayers will pay for the charter tax exemption – at an unknown cost.
- A tax exemption for leases requires a constitutional amendment. Courts have already ruled that property leased to a charter school is NOT tax exempt. Charter schools already receive state funding for facilities that can be used to pay property taxes on leases.
HB 1348 would eliminate the authority of any elected official to determine where charter schools can locate in our communities. TEA would have all the power.
- Continues the law that exempts charter schools from zoning in smaller Texas cities, an exemption not given to school districts.
- Ignores inequities for parents and the public in the charter approval process, such as public notice and a public meeting for new campuses proposed as an expansion amendment.
- Requires all taxpayers to pick up the tab for certain charter school development fees. Texas taxpayers will pay for the charter tax exemption – at an unknown cost.
HB 3979/SB 2220 would limit civic engagement and discussions about racism and sexism in Texas schools. It is an unnecessary state overrreach that mischaracterizes the work that teachers do to education students.
- Discourage teachers from discussing current events in social studies courses
- Prohibit students from receiving course credit for participation in activities and organizations that encourage civic engagement
- Prohibit important schoolwide trainings for teachers, admin and staff on race and gender, diversity, and inclusion practices or from seeking private funds to develop social studies curriculum/training
HB 6/SB 7 (Anti-Voter Bill)
- Gets rid of 24 hr voting and drive-through voting
- Allows partisan operatives to videotape (intimidate) voters at the polls
- Close polling places in minority areas
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