It has been a busy week in the Texas Legislature, and school finance continues to receive much of the attention. As of today, both the House and the Senate have approved their own versions of HB 3, the school finance bill. Because both versions differ, the differences will now be resolved in the conference committee. Five members from each chamber have been appointed to accomplish this work. They are:
Rep. Dan Huberty, Chair (R-Humble)
Rep. Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin)
Rep. Diego Bernal (D-San Antonio)
Rep. Mary Gonzalez (D-Clint)
Rep. Ken King (R-Canadian)
Senator Larry Taylor, Chair (R-Friendswood)
Senator Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels)
Senator Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound)
Senator Kirk Watson (D-Austin)
Senator Royce West (D-Dallas)
We applaud the significant work of both chambers to improve the school finance system.
There are a few areas that we would like the conference committee to address that would be beneficial to the SBISD Family:
-School districts need flexible funding in addition to a teacher pay raise. Local school trustees are best able to determine the needs of their communities.
-School start date restrictions prevent Districts of Innovations like Spring Branch ISD from making decisions that are in the best interest of the children within our community, thus limiting local control.
-Test-based funding has no basis in research, creates a dangerous culture based on winners and losers, and further exacerbates the overemphasis on high stakes testing. Third graders should not have to feel the pressure of determining a school district’s budget.
-Adding more high-stakes assessments will divert attention from other classroom needs. We should focus on the effective and meaningful assessments that support productive classroom instruction.
-Moving to current year values prevents districts from having the time to adequately determine their revenue and prepare budgets for the upcoming year.
The SBISD Board of Trustees and I will continue to collaborate with members of the House and Senate to address the concerns mentioned above. The time is right to enact positive change upon a broken school finance system.
Thank you for your continued support of Spring Branch ISD.
Scott R. Muri, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools