Latest Capitol Updates

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Coming next week | May 17, 2019 - 12:34pm

In the final week of this session (which ends Monday, May 27), lawmakers will consider scores of bills in a last-minute attempt to get proposals passed before key deadlines. The House, for example, will not discuss any Senate bills on the regular calendar after Tuesday.

Good bills, bad bills | May 17, 2019 - 11:29am

With only one week left in this session, major issues are still up in the air, although most observers seem to think that there will be some resolution on school finance reform before the session’s end. Here are just a few of the bills we’re still working on to get the best possible outcome for our members.

Committees hold final hearings (probably) | May 16, 2019 - 8:09pm

The House Public Education Committee and Senate Education Committee held what may be their last hearings of the session this week, given the upcoming deadlines that will shift action to the House and Senate floors. Both committees are moving very quickly on bills to beat the deadlines, with few controversial proposals on their agendas.

Latest News

The TRS Board of Trustees approved new premium rates for ActiveCare and HMO plans during its April meeting this week. ActiveCare premiums will increase between 3% and 9% with changes to maximum out-of-pocket limits and prescription drug costs.

As another school year winds down, teachers thinking about changing districts this summer need to be aware of the law regarding deadlines for resignation without consent.

TCTA congratulates five members who were named state finalists for the 2019 H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards: JoLisa Hoover of Leander ISD, Katherine Miller of Wichita Falls ISD, Karen Naiser of Dickenson ISD, Ryan Piwetz of Port Aransas ISD and David Walker of Austin ISD.

TCTA congratulates District 17 Director Amy Drake who is among three Lubbock ISD educators receiving the Frank and Nancy Newton Excellence in Education Award in 2019.

Commissioner of Education Mike Morath agreed to address the TCTA Representative Assembly during our annual convention this year. After his presentation, he graciously took questions from the audience.
 
One TCTA member asked if anything could be done to reduce the burden of TELPAS calibration. His response to TCTA Executive Director Jeri Stone, excerpted below, shows that TEA at his direction is actively pursuing efforts to reduce the burden of TELPAS calibration.

Krystal Contreras, a fourth-grade writing teacher at Cash Elementary School in San Benito CISD, was surprised with a $25,000 Milken Educator Award during a Feb. 15 ceremony on her campus. Contreras, a TCTA member since 2015, is the only Texas educator receiving the national award this year.

Margaret Kelley, a special education teacher at Timy Baranoff Elementary in Austin ISD and a TCTA member since 2016, received a Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching grant to travel to New Zealand this year.

Delegates attending TCTA's 2019 Convention and Capitol Visit last week in Austin elected statewide leaders and approved a list of priorities for the current legislative session. Members discussed many of the priorities with lawmakers at the Capitol, including House Speaker Dennis Bonnen. Convention attendees also heard from Education Commissioner Mike Morath, learned tips to relieve stress and earned CPE hours during the annual gathering.

After the legislature in 2017 adopted clarifying amendments to the original law requiring video cameras in special education classes in certain circumstances, TEA began the long process of proposing similar changes to its rules. TEA announced the final adoption of the rules in late January, and TCTA was pleased to see that many of our suggestions were included in the final rules.

Suzanne Garcia McCall, a fourth-grade science teacher and instructional coach in Slaton ISD and longstanding TCTA member, director, and immediate past president, recently concluded seven years of service on the State Board for Educator Certification. She was first appointed to SBEC in 2011 by then-Gov. Rick Perry as one of four teacher members of the 14-member board. Although her term officially expired in February 2017, she continued to serve as a holdover appointee until Gov. Greg Abbott appointed her replacement this month.