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The Texas Education Agency on Aug. 15 released its 2019 state accountability ratings for about 1,200 school districts and charter schools. Districts and charters once again received A-F ratings, but new this year are A-F ratings for individual schools. Statewide, hundreds of districts and schools improved their overall rating from 2018, TEA said in a news release. 

Current law recognizes the need for teachers to remove students from the classroom when the student’s behavior interferes with the teacher’s ability to teach, but too often the campus administration is not supportive. TCTA responded by working with legislators to pass a bill this session to ensure that teachers are better supported in these situations.

One of TCTA’s major accomplishments of the last legislative session was the passage of SB 2432. The bill was filed in the Senate by Education Committee Chair Larry Taylor and sponsored in the House by Rep. Scott Sanford (with considerable assistance from House Public Education Committee Chair Dan Huberty during contentious floor debate).

In addition to approving the fall 2019 bonus check for retirees, the TRS Board of Trustees discussed a handful of health insurance enhancements, including expansion of Teladoc services in TRS-Care and ActiveCare to include behavioral health support and support for caregivers’ care recipients, and a waiver of the $500 deductible for primary care visits for enrollees in the Medicare Advantage plan.

During its July 19 meeting, the TRS Board of Trustees voted unanimously to authorize a one-time supplemental payment to eligible members who retired on or before Dec. 31, 2018. The retirees will receive a payment in either the amount of their monthly annuity or $2,000, whichever is less. Retired teachers should receive their checks in late September or early October, according to TRS.

Among the many changes to current law included in HB 3 is the elimination of master teacher certificates in math, reading, science and technology. Beginning Sept. 1, 2019, current certificate holders will be issued "legacy" certificates by the State Board for Educator Certification. These certificates can not be renewed.

This week, the Texas Education Agency launched a video series to explain HB 3, the comprehensive school finance bill. The first episode of "HB3 in 30" covers budget planning for teacher compensation.

Education Commissioner Mike Morath previewed two major changes to the state's student accountability assessments during the State Board of Education's June meeting in Austin. TEA is preparing to incorporate writing into the grades 3-8 STAAR reading tests and eliminate the use of substitute assessments, such as the SAT or ACT, in the state's accountabilty system.

We've put together this quick summary of what we know and what you should expect regarding the pay raises approved by the legislature for school employees (HB 3) in the recent session.

Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday, June 11, signed HB 3 into law, calling it a “monumental moment” to “transform public education in the state of Texas.” The bill increases per-student spending, reduces property taxes and instructs local districts to use part of the new state money to raise pay for non-administrators.