Letter sent to TEA on upcoming school year
July 14, 2020
We continue to advocate for our teachers, staff, students, and community as we plan to launch the 2020-21 school year. This afternoon, Board President Vernagene Mott and Superintendent Doug Killian, Ph.D. sent a letter to Texas Education Agency (TEA) Commissioner Mike Morath, Governor Greg Abbott, and members of the state’s public education committees.
In the letter, we are asking for the following items:
- suspension of in-person school and allowance for 100% virtual learning until the seven-day hospitalization average is five or less, the threshold set by the Austin-Travis County public health agency for a stage 2 response;
- flexibility to realistically minimize classroom ratios and provide social distancing;
- the suspension of STAAR and the A-F state accountability system for the 2020-21 school year;
- additional funding to supplement costs incurred by districts to provide safe and effective learning; and
- a commitment to allocate current or future federal money specified for schools as a supplement to existing funding commitments by the state.
The letter comes after TEA announced rules and guidelines for opening the school year that required districts to offer 100% in-person instruction for all students, making it impossible to ensure students and staff stay in small groups and socially distanced for the entire school day. The letter also addresses the state’s use of the federal CARES Act funding for schools to supplant its existing funding commitment to schools, rather than a supplement to cover the increased cost of operations during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
"No one wants to be back in the classroom more than our teachers," Dr. Killian said. "We are excited to see our kids again and resume our regular schedules and activities, but we cannot do so at the potential cost to our teachers, staff, and students. We hope you will reconsider the previous mandates and do what is truly in all Texas school children's best interests."
If you would like to share your concerns as well, we encourage you to contact:
- Governor Greg Abbott
- Commissioner Mike Morath
- Lt. Governor Dan Patrick
- Sen. Charles Schwertner
- Sen. Larry Taylor
- Rep. Dennis Bonnen
- Rep. Dan Huberty
- Rep. Diego Bernal