State Leadership Announces Funding For Texas School Systems To Support In-Person Instruction
Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Education Agency (TEA) announced today that the State of Texas will provide a "hold harmless" to Texas school systems for the rest of the 2020-2021 academic school year only. This means funding will be made available to school systems in Texas that have seen enrollment and attendance declines because of the COVID-19 pandemic, as long as they maintain or increase current levels of on-campus attendance. Read more
2 JULY - English Learner Guidance
6 JULY - Career and Technical Education (CTE) On-Campus Course Recommendations
STAAR Testing Window, 2020-2021
During the July 2nd meeting of the Texas State Board of Education's meeting, I asked for this agenda item to be pulled from the Permanent School Fund's consent agenda:
Approval of the Selection of a Legal Counsel for the Bond Guarantee Program as outlined in RFQ 701-20-006 for the Texas Permanent School Fund and Authorization for Contract Execution by the Commissioner of Education
My request was due to the inadequate response to the Board's Request for Qualifications (RFQ). As custodians of the Bond Guarantee Program, the Texas SBOE is charged with the safeguarding of the public’s money. When we are likely facing a deep recession, moving forward with only one applicant is irresponsible. I also noted that this one applicant is not HUB Certified. The lack of minority participation does not speak well of this organization that represents 5.4 million students, of which more than 50% are minorities.
The RFQ process is designed to give us choices to ensure we’re selecting quality firms. Neither ISD Boards of Trustees nor classroom teachers are allowed to purchase paper or pencils without comparing a minimum of three vendors. A panel of a few firms strengthens the breadth of services we receive. Just as important, should a conflict of interest arise, a group of firms provides alternatives.
During the consideration of the one respondent, DLA Piper, for a contract to represent the Permanent School Fund’s Bond Guarantee Program, the TXSBOE discussed a wide range of topics including the TXSBOE’s fiduciary responsibility and social justice requirements. After considerable debate and an amendment that received support from 12 of the 15 board members, the TXSBOE voted to encourage the law firm of DLA Piper to honor its commitment to racial equality.
TXSBOE Discussion (2:15:00): http://www.adminmonitor.com/tx/tea/general_meeting/202007021/
DLA Piper was ultimately awarded a contract valued at $100,000 to $150,000 per year to support the Public School Fund. Several TXSBOE members agreed with my concerns about the procurement process and DLA Piper’s response to the Request For Qualifications. As stewards of taxpayer dollars, TXSBOE members should always consider more than one possible vendor for any contract, a universally recognized best practice. I requested that the TXSBOE re-open the process so that more firms, including HUBs, could be considered. This amendment request was denied.
DLA Piper’s original response to HUB contracting that allowed the firm to ‘Self-Perform’ the contract and give no consideration to capacity building among HUBs by exploring subcontracting opportunities was alarming to me. DLA Piper’s Self Performance Justification, which would have the firm do the work required under the contract without consideration of any HUB partnerships or goals, is not consistent with its public statements that underscore its commitment to racial equality.
DLA Piper Newsroom | “Underscoring our commitment to racial equality”
In the wake of the senseless deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and unfortunately many others, DLA Piper stands shoulder to shoulder with the Black/African American community as well as other vulnerable communities. We see you, we hear you and we support you. DLA Piper categorically and unequivocally condemns systemic racism. We have seen time and again over the course of our lives the marginalization and institutional biases that burden our communities and the nation. As Dr. Martin Luther King said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Read more: https://www.dlapiper.com/en/us/news/2020/06/underscoring-our-commitment-to-racial-equality/
It has taken the State of Texas until 2019 to write that slavery was the central cause of the Civil War in our history curriculum; until 2020, to adopt an African American Studies course, and longer to remove Confederate plaques and monuments honoring the names and actions of slave traders, defenders of slavery, and traitors to our nation.
On June 23, El Paso City Council accepted my $1,500 donation dedicated to offset renaming expenses and voted to change the name to Buffalo Soldiers Road. This endeavor joins the efforts of Fort Bliss' Buffalo Soldier Gate and meets the Buffalo Soldier Monument commemorating the 1870 expedition by the all African American 9th Calvary that had a substantial presence on Fort Bliss.
As a community, we find ourselves in a pivotal moment where the opportunity to be actively anti-racist and work for equality is before us. We are called to respond, to improve life as we know it today, and leave the world always in a better state than which we found it.
As the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The time is always right to do what is right,” and that time is now. We can all begin by treating people with dignity, courtesy, and respect. Changing this street name to Buffalo Soldiers Road is a small step in the right direction.
See Q & A #8 (page 11) on this TEA document:
CARES Act Funding and COVID Expense Reimbursement FAQ June 4, 2020
Is all this CARES Act money from the feds going to supplement ADA funding flows or is it only to reimburse specific expenditures by specific schools? Posted May 28, 2020Currently there are two large funding streams from the CARES Act that will impact K-12 education in the state. (There are also several smaller funding streams.) The ESSER fund flows to school districts. A portion of the ESSER fund would supplement expected FSP funding in district budgets (roughly 5% of the ESSER formula total per LEA, which would be used to cover any requested private school equitable services, but if no/fewer requests are received, would be extra funding for any lawful purpose). The remainder will be used as a source of funds for the Foundation School Program ADA Hold Harmless, and so would not be supplemental funding.The CRF is a reimbursement program. These are supplemental funds to school districts, intended to cover extra COVID-19 expenses.
See Q & A #2 (page 12) on this TEA document:
CARES ACT – Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF)
How much reimbursement can we anticipate receiving under CRF? Posted May 21, 2020LEAs will be eligible for up to 75% of additive expenses incurred as of close of business May 20, 2020, to be reimbursed subject to a cap per LEA described below, and subject to CRF funding availability as described below. Each LEA will be capped at a reimbursement amount equal to the greater of $50,000 or an amount equal to $250 per compensatory education (SCE) student in the LEA. This would allow for every LEA, regardless of size or SCE student count, to receive at least $50,000 assuming they incurred at least $67,000 in underlying reimbursable expenses. For LEAs with more than 200 SCE students, their reimbursement would be capped at an amount equal to $250 per SCE student.
*ESSER: The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (formula funding for emergency relief)
Based on this guidance from the Texas Education Agency, the ISD hoping to recover $10M, must use $500K - of their CARES funding - to pay for services requested by private non-profit schools within district boundaries. If there are none, ISDs can spend 100% of ESSER funds. See TEA link above p9, Q31
Federal stimulus funding appropriated by Congress to help states and school districts deal with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic could find its way into the coffers of private schools and virtual education vendors.
The Texas Education Agency published new guidance on CARES Act funding for school districts on May 21, 2020. Confirming the state’s decision to abide by the direction from Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to expand eligibility for equitable services, the agency explains in its FAQ document that school districts must use their stimulus funding to offer equitable services to all private nonprofit schools within the attendance zone. TEA adds that the district must provide the services, as chosen by the private school, to any of the private schools who opt to participate. Under this guidance, school districts would not be forced to send the stimulus money directly to the private school for its own discretionary use, but the districts would have to pay for services requested by the private school.
Teach the Vote https://www.teachthevote.org/news/2020/05/20/texas-signals-it-may-send-federal-k-12-dollars-to-private-schools/
Georgina C. Pérez
Texas State Board of Education District 1
The state does not provide funding for an office nor staff. Please consider supporting TXSBOE1
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