SBISD Host Reception for Legislative Delegation

District hosts reception for legislative delegation staffs in Austin

Several Spring Branch ISD trustees and senior staff joined Superintendent Duncan Klussmann Oct. 22 at a legislative staff lunch at the Texas Capitol. Meeting in the House Members Lounge, the district provided box lunches and visited with staff members of Spring Branch ISD’s legislative delegation during an informal come-and-go. Staffers – and the district – are gearing up for the coming 84th Legislature, which convenes in January for the biennial session.

In the House Members Lounge with legislative staffers.
“This was a nice way for us and the legislative staffers to get to know one another” Duncan said. “We want them to know they can call us anytime if they have questions or need information.”

While Spring Branch ISD and the community have longed worked with the Legislature on public education issues, current state funding formulas penalize the district for increased local tax revenue because of rising property values. Of a $26 million increase in tax collections between 2013 and 2014, Spring Branch will pay $10 million in recapture (Robin Hood) and will lose $11 million in state funding, resulting in a $5 million net increase in revenue.

In other words, Spring Branch taxpayers are paying more in local school taxes without local students seeing the benefit of those extra dollars.

Legislative priorities for Spring Branch include several on the funding side, including local control of taxes, tying school funding to inflation, increasing equalized wealth levels and adequate formula funding for bilingual, CTE and full-day pre-K.

Legislators and others expect little movement during the coming session on public education funding while the school finance lawsuit waits to be heard by the Texas Supreme Court. State District Judge John Dietz has ruled the state’s public school finance system inadequate, inefficient and unconstitutional.

But education is expected to get quite a bit of attention on a separate front as legislators continue to tweak last session’s HB5, which changed the state’s accountability structure and created new pathways for graduation. Spring Branch wants the Legislature to ensure appropriateness of state assessments, require public institutions of higher education to align their admission requirements with the new high school graduation requirements, and to support programs that advance choice within public schools systems.

State legislators representing Spring Branch ISD:

Rep. Jim Murphy (R-133)
Rep. Sarah Davis (R-134)
Rep. Dwayne Bohac (R-138)
Rep. Sylvester Turner (D-139)
Rep. Jessica Farrar (D-148)
Sen. (elect) Paul Bettencourt (R-7)
Sen. John Whitmire (R-15)
Sen. Joan Huffman (R-17)


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