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Senate, House Education Committee Chairs and Other Legislators Address TASA/TASB Legislative Conference

03.25.2015 — Texas Senate Education Committee Chair Larry Taylor and House Public Education Committee Chair Jimmie Don Aycock, as well as Sen. Royce West and Rep. Larry Gonzales, addressed attendees at today’s TASA/TASB Legislative Conference in Austin.

JimmieDonAycock Rep. Aycock came directly to the TASA/TASB conference from a Capitol press conference in which he announced that the House would indeed tackle reform of the school finance system this session. He said that part of the plan would be to add $800 million from general revenue to the $2.2 billion in additional funds already earmarked for public schools in the House’s budget proposal.

HB 1759 will be the vehicle for a number of changes to the school finance system that the House will propose this session to achieve greater equity and to “do what’s right for the state of Texas,” Aycock said. Read more on this announcement from the Texas Tribune.

Sen. Taylor spoke about public school accountability and the need for education to change with the times. “Transformation is not an easy thing,” he said, “but we have to prepare students for the 21st century.”

He said that the bill he is most excited about this session is SB 1200, which would establish the Texas Commission on Next Generation Assessments and Accountability to develop and make recommendations for new systems of student assessment and public school accountability. Taylor told attendees that if a bill passes that creates campus A-F ratings, he would delay its implementation to align with the work of the commission to be created by SB 1200.

Following the presentations by lawmakers, political observers and TASA/TASB Governmental Relations staff on issues ranging from testing to the Teacher Retirement System, attendees traveled to the Capitol to meet one-on-one with their legislators to advocate on behalf of Texas public schools.