Category Archives: Governmental Relations

Bellaire HS senior selected as first HISD student in decades to represent Texas in the U.S. Senate Youth Program

For the first time in 40 years, an HISD student has been selected to participate in the United States Senate Youth Program.

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HISD to host polling locations on Election Day

Voters registered in Harris County may cast their ballot at any HISD polling location on Tuesday, Nov. 8, for the 2022 Texas Midterm Election.

See the full list of host campuses below. All polling locations are open 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

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HISD hosts early voting location for Nov. 8 election

Early voting for the 2022 November General Election will be held at Delmar Stadium, 2020 Mangum Road, 77092.

Anyone who is registered to vote in Harris County may vote early at this location beginning Monday, Oct. 24, through Friday, Nov. 4.

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HISD to host virtual Advocacy Day with state lawmakers on March 9

The first-ever HISD Virtual Advocacy Day at the Texas Capitol is scheduled for Tuesday, March 9.

During the event, which will be free and open to the public, attendees will learn more about the district’s legislative priorities and hear from members of the Texas Legislature during the 87th Texas Legislative Session.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to ask questions and receive updates on what is happening at the Texas Capitol and learn what state leaders are doing to support students, families, and staff through the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Legislature passes major school finance bill, reducing recapture by $3.6 billion statewide

The Texas Legislature approved House Bill 3 on Saturday, May 25, receiving unanimous support for the school finance bill in both the House and Senate before legislators concluded the 2019 Texas Legislative Session on Monday, May 27.

The bill is expected to reduce HISD’s 2019-20 and 2020-21 recapture payments significantly. Many of the district’s recommendations were included in the final version of HB 3, including funds for full-day pre-K, high needs students, and transportation. 

School finance reform, teacher compensation and property tax relief were top priorities for Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Speaker Dennis Bonnen, and lawmakers across the state. HISD’s Government Relations team worked hard to accomplish the district’s legislative priorities, with school finance reform and lowering recapture payments as the number one issues. 

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As legislative session winds down, lawmakers look to school finance and school safety

Two weeks remain in the 2019 Texas Legislative Session, and state lawmakers are working to address pending legislation related to public education.  

Most notably, during his February State of the State address, Gov. Greg Abbott called upon lawmakers to reform the state’s outdated school finance system and strengthen school safety and security. Both issues are emergency items and are moving through the Legislature.  

HB 3 makes transformative changes to the state’s school finance system. HB 3 received 148 ayes and only one nay from the House of Representatives on April 3. On April 25, the Senate Education Committee took up the bill and made several revisions. After hours of debate on the Senate’s changes to the legislation, HB 3 was ultimately approved by the full Senate with 26 ayes, 2 nays and 3 abstentions on May 6.   

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At midpoint of the legislative session, teacher pay raise and school finance bills advance

Texas lawmakers have entered the halfway point of the 86th Legislative Session, and the pace of activity at the State Capitol has significantly increased since January.

On March 4, the Texas Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill 3, which provides an across-the-board $5,000 pay raise to every full-time classroom teachers and all school librarians. As filed, the bill would have provided raises to full-time classroom teachers only. However, the bill’s author, Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), amended the legislation on the Senate floor to include school librarians because of their requirement to teach in the classroom for two years. SB 3 will now go to the House for consideration. House Public Education Committee Chair Dan Huberty (R-Humble) indicated SB 3 would likely receive a hearing in his committee.

Increasing teacher compensation and reforming school finance are two of the governor’s emergency items, declared in his Feb. 15 State of the State address. SB 3 is also a priority for Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and all 31 members of the Texas Senate.

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HISD launches #FixSchoolFinance toolkit to push school finance reform  

The Houston Independent School District has created a #FixSchoolFinance toolkit to equip public education supporters with the necessary information to effectively advocate for school finance reform.

This educational tool provides an overview of the challenges with the current system, outlines proposed solutions, and serves as a platform for direct communication with key lawmakers during the 2019 Texas Legislative Session.

For the past year, HISD has been part of a statewide coalition of school districts, nonprofit organizations, and business leaders educating the public and emphasizing the need for meaningful changes to the state’s school finance system. Reforming school finance and reducing recapture are top priorities for HISD during the 86th Texas Legislature.  Continue reading

Governor calls on lawmakers to make education a top priority this legislative session 

On the first day of the 86th Texas Legislative Session, Gov. Greg Abbott had a strong message for both the House and Senate: Put education on the top of their to-do lists.

Abbott articulated the need to increase school safety, fix school finance, and reform property taxes. He also emphatically stated that lawmakers must solve these issues this session – a statement that received strong applause in both chambers.

“The state must invest more in public education, improve third-grade reading scores, pay teachers more, reduce recapture, make our schools safer, and prepare students for college or career,” Abbott later said during his inauguration speech. “We will do all of this without a court order telling us to do it. We will finally fix school finance in Texas.”

On Feb. 5, Abbott delivered his State of the State to the 86th Texas Legislature. Key themes of his remarks included the growing Texas economy, school finance reform, teacher pay, property tax relief, school safety, mental health, disaster response, border security, cracking down on crime and human trafficking, and support for Texas military personnel and veterans.  Continue reading