Ten certification exams to be eliminated in September

Ten Texas teacher certification examinations will be eliminated as of Sept. 1, according to the Texas Education Agency. Even though these certificates won’t continue to be issued after August, they are still maintained by TEA as valid certificates for the same teaching assignments, and teachers currently holding them can continue to teach in those assignments and are not affected by this change.

House bills sent to the governor

This list comprises House bills that have been sent to the governor. Governor Abbott has now acted on (signed or vetoed) all bills. Unless otherwise noted, all bills below were signed and will go into effect immediately or for the 2017-18 school year.

TCTA Structure: 

Gov. calls special session, including ed-related issues, for July 18

Gov. Greg Abbott announced a July special session June 6. The session, which can last up to 30 days, will begin on July 18, and topics on the governor's agenda include vouchers, payroll deduction, and "flexibility" in hiring and firing teachers.

Former TCTA president is top vote-getter in TRS Board election

2012-13 TCTA State President Nanette Sissney is one of three former TRS trustees who will be considered by Gov. Greg Abbott when he makes appointments to the TRS Board in the upcoming months. Sissney was the top vote-getter in the election for the at-large seat, a position that can be held, and voted on, by any active or retired member of the system. Rounding out the top three, from whom Abbott must pick, are current trustee Karen Charleston and former trustee Greg Poole.

Major issue wrap-up

The regular session of the 85th Texas Legislature ended Monday, May 29, 2017. The 140-day period was marked by political — and in some cases even physical — strife, and resulted in the lowest number of passed bills in many years.

TRS Board adopts new TRS-ActiveCare, TRS-Care premium rates

On Friday, June 2, the TRS Board of Trustees adopted the ActiveCare, HMO and TRS-Care plan design changes and premium rates for the upcoming year. Enrollees selecting family coverage in the higher levels of the active insurance plan will be particularly hard hit, with premiums rising by 16.8 percent for family coverage under ActiveCare Select and 25.5 percent under ActiveCare 2.

TCTA Structure: 

Sine Die

The legislature adjourned sine die ("without another day") on Monday, having technically fulfilled its obligation for the session by adopting a state budget on Saturday. The House approved SB 1, the appropriations bill, on a 135-14 vote, and it passed the Senate 30-1.

Budget agreement reached, vote expected Saturday

With only a few days left in the legislative session, the conferees on the state budget appear to have reached a final agreement, which has just been released. With the House consistently refusing to adopt any type of voucher proposal, the Senate would not agree to significant additional funding for public schools.

Accountability legislation - House versus Senate

Although both chambers expressed an interest in making changes to the current school accountability system this session, the versions of HB 22 that have passed the House and Senate are substantially different in some respects. 

HB 21 dead (probably); TRS-Care bill heads to governor

After the Senate added an education savings account voucher program for special needs students to the school finance reform bill (funding for which had been whittled down from more than $1.6 billion to just over $.5 billion in the negotiated budget), House author Dan Huberty refused to agree to the Senate changes on HB 21 and requested the appointment of a conference committee.