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DSISD names legislative priorities

By Megan Wehring

DRIPPING SPRINGS – Dripping Springs ISD has announced what it hopes lawmakers will deem important for the 88th Legislative Session, which is slated to begin in two months. 

The DSISD administrative team developed a list of legislative priorities focused on seven areas: education funding, local decision making, improving accountability for charter schools, special education, the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, teacher shortage and assessments and accountability.

On Nov. 14, the DSISD board of trustees unanimously approved the legislative priorities. 

Recapture and education funding 

DSISD supports legislative efforts to reform Chapter 49 of the Texas Education Code (“Robin Hood”), which will increase the state’s funding for all school districts and lessen the reliance on recapture dollars. The district believes that all recapture dollars should be spent on education, ending the practice of the state supplanting its investment in education with recapture dollars.

The district also supports: 

• Increasing the Basic Allotment to help keep pace with inflation and bring per-pupil funding in Texas up to the national average. 

• Additional investments in the Basic Allotment can also help reduce the growth of recapture while providing more dollars to educate students in all Texas public schools.

• Additional funding for special education.

Local decision making 

DSISD believes in ensuring all bond and tax rate election ballot is clear, transparent and understandable. Required language should be revised to improve the clarity of existing ballot requirements for voters. 

The district advocates for local discretion in instructional planning and repeal of the accelerated learning committee requirements (HB 4545, 2021).

Teacher retention & staffing shortages 

Teacher housing allotments should be based on a sliding scale of the cost of housing in a district, earmarked as a supplement to teacher compensation, according to DSISD. 

DSISD also supports funding to keep up with inflation and to address geographic cost-of-living differentials that affect transportation and other staffing needs. The district advocates for the current defined benefit pension program for TRS members, an annual cost-of-living adjustment for all retirees and increased state funding to assist with increased healthcare costs associated with TRS-ActiveCare and TRS-Care.

Fast-growth districts & school construction 

Public schools in fast-growth districts should receive funding for building additional schools in order to meet state mandates for educating all students who move to a district, according to the district. Additional funding for school safety should also be prioritized. 

Charters 

DSISD supports legislative efforts to ensure charters are held to the same accountability standards as traditional public schools (including special education/504/special populations) and that charters will be subject to public oversight.

The 88th Legislative Session begins on Jan. 10, 2023.

About Author

Megan Navarro (formerly Wehring) graduated from Texas State University in May 2020 with a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. In June 2020, she started a summer internship at the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch through the Dow Jones News Fund and Texas Press Association. She then earned her way to a reporter position later that summer and now, she serves as the editor of the newspaper. Working for a small publication, Navarro wears multiple hats. She has various responsibilities including managing a team of reporters, making editorial decisions, overseeing social media posts, fact checking, writing her own articles and more. Navarro has a heart for storytelling and she believes that journalists are equipped to share the stories that are important to the community.

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