Did you know that every time your special education staff completes an evaluation for a special education student, the parent of that student can request the same evaluation be performed by an outside person, with the cost of that evaluation paid out of district funds? The parent’s right to this request--called an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE)—is outlined in §300.502 of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA.) More and more parents are asking for IEEs, and the costs can have a big impact on special education budgets.

The former Beaumont ISD contract electrician accused of fraud and money-laundering lost his latest attempt to stop his criminal trial from going forward, when the Ninth Court of Appeals denied his request Wednesday. Calvin Walker, who faces six criminal charges in Jefferson County's Criminal District Court, filed an appeal in January alleging that he was denied due process because he was not granted a hearing on his claim that he should be protected from double jeopardy. He previously told the Enterprise he is innocent of all charges. Walker and his lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, have repeatedly requested a hearing to argue that Walker cannot be tried again in state court on charges similar to those he was tried for in federal court. view article arw

AUSTIN – On April 11, Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that a final judgment from the 100th District Court of Carson County affirmed a summary judgment against White Deer Independent School District for violating Texas Senate Bill 1 by refusing to offer property owners tax relief granted by the Legislature in 2015. view article arw

A Hidalgo city councilman and his sister filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against their employer, Valley View ISD, alleging the school board retaliated against them for supporting political opponents. Sergio Coronado and Claudia Coronado are suing the district after they were demoted — and in Sergio Coronado’s case, fired — following a contentious school election in November 2016. In the lawsuit, they argue their familial ties to one of the board’s political opponents caused them to lose favor in their professional careers. view article arw

The Tennessee Senate is scheduled to vote on a bill that would ban the spanking of disabled children at public schools. The bill has already passed in the House and is up for a vote in the Senate on Monday. view article arw

A Frisco ISD bus aide has been accused of abusing a disabled student on his route. Ronald Lee Peters was charged with injury to a child March 29, according to Denton County court records. view article arw

It's too early to tell the impact of Tuesday's online glitches on the STAAR assessment, but the people behind a lawsuit already in front of the courts say this year's problems are just the latest in a string of issues -- and another lawsuit may follow. The online glitches in the STAAR test Tuesday weren't the first. "If it keeps going on there will definitely be another lawsuit," said Diane Lewis, whose daughter is in seventh grade. Online glitches happened in 2016, too. The ongoing problems are part of the reason Lewis' daughter isn't taking the STAAR assessment this week. "I just informed the school she was opting out, she would not be in school the rest of the week," Lewis said. view article arw

The Texas Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit involving a former Alamo Heights Junior High coach who claimed she was fired after accusing another coach of sexual harassment. In a 6-2 ruling, the court said Friday that former Alamo Heights tennis coach Catherine Clark could not prove she was discriminated against because of her gender, that her harasser, who is also a woman, was homosexual or that the harassment was led by sexual desire. view article arw

A Spring Hill ISD coach who sued a parent who she said falsely claimed she had an improper relationship with a student has dismissed the lawsuit.  Women’s basketball coach Alexann Yancey had sought $1 million in damages against Jeanetta Young, according to the lawsuit.  Yancey said Young made false and slanderous statements against her that caused embarrassment, mental anguish, injury to her professional reputation and injury to her moral character.  The pair recently agreed to settle the lawsuit with certain terms, including that Young make two payments to Yancey, according to a letter from Mark Goodman, Yancey’s attorney. view article arw

El Paso ISD has been under fire since it announced plans to build a bus hub in a low-income neighborhood. A community group claims the hub will compromise residents’ health. Yesterday, it filed a civil rights complaint against the district. Katherine Villegas is a junior at Bowie High School where EPISD plans to build the bus hub. She says her neighborhood, Chamizal, is already polluted. Villegas used to wake up really early for track practice. view article arw

A group representing families in the Chamizal area of South El Paso plans to file a civil rights complaint Tuesday against the El Paso Independent School District to stop a planned bus hub at Bowie High School. Familias Unidas del Chamizal, a grass-roots organization, will file a Title VI complaint with the U.S. departments of education, transportation, justice, and health and human services. view article arw

Turkey-Quitaque Independent School District has issued the following statement regarding allegations of a coach and student relationship: The Turkey-Quitaque ISD Administration received a report on Friday, February 16, 2018, that a Turkey-Quitaque ISD employee may have solicited an inappropriate relationship with a female District student. Turkey-Quitaque ISD reported these allegations to the Briscoe County Sheriff’s Office and Child Protective Services, and the District acted immediately to coordinate its own investigation with the authorities into the allegations of misconduct.  view article arw

The 14th Court of Appeals recently affirmed a ruling keeping the Houston Independent School District from escaping a pre-suit petition seeking to investigate how a 5 year old had his jaw fractured while being escorted to the principal’s office. The child’s father, Albert Durrell, filed the petition in September 2016. In turn, HISD filed a plea to the jurisdiction, asserting governmental immunity. The trial court denied the plea and a HISD appeal soon ensued. view article arw

Former Dallas County Schools Superintendent Rick Sorrells pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges Monday, agreeing to a sentence that could reach 10 years. He also agreed to testify in the case that implicates several others, including the CEO of a company that sold $70 million worth of school bus cameras to the district, some of which were never used. Sorrells also agreed to forfeit property that includes a 2014 Maserati, a 2012 Porsche Cayenne and $66,000 worth of jewelry — including a custom made gold bracelet inlaid with 51 high quality diamonds. view article arw

In court documents filed Monday former Dallas County Schools Superintendent Rick Sorrells agreed to plead guilty to a charge of federal wire fraud in the corruption investigation that rocked Dallas County Schools, the school bus agency shut down by voters in November 2017.  In court documents obtained by NBC 5 Investigates, Sorrells admits to receiving more than $3 million in bribe and kickback payments in exchange for entering into $70 million in contracts with an unnamed company that provided cameras for DCS school buses. Based on prior reporting by NBC 5 Investigates, the only company that provided cameras to DCS was Force Multiplier Solutions. view article arw

The former superintendent of the embattled Dallas County Schools bus agency has pleaded guilty to accepting more than $3 million in bribes and kickbacks from a camera company. Rick Sorrells admitted to receiving the payments in exchange for approving $70 million in contracts with a company that provided surveillance cameras for the agency's school buses, according to federal documents filed Monday. The indictment did not name the camera company, however, KXAS-TV (NBC5) and The Dallas Morning News have identified Force Multiplier Solutions of Louisiana as the company that supplied the equipment. view article arw

DALLAS (AP) - The superintendent of the agency that provides school bus service to public schools in Dallas County has been charged with conspiracy relating to bribery and kickback allegations involving school bus cameras. The U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement Monday that Rickey Dale Sorrels signed a plea deal Monday that calls for him to plead guilty to the conspiracy count. No arraignment date has been set. view article arw

DALLAS  (WBAP/KLIF News) – Former Dallas County Schools Superintendent, Rick Sorrells, has agreed to plead guilty in a multi-million dollar kickback scheme that spanned six years.  DCS was shut down by voters in the November 2017 elections. The school bus agency had been mired in controversy that included safety and financial problems that caught the attention of state lawmakers. view article arw

A state appeals court ruled Thursday that a Travis County state District Court should be allowed to hear arguments and decide if the state standardized test was illegally administered to Texas students in 2016. Six families from across the state sued the Texas Education Agency and its commissioner, Mike Morath, two years ago to have the results of the 2016 State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness destroyed and to bar them from being used to penalize students and school districts for failing scores. The families said the test did not comply with a law passed in 2015 that required the test to be shortened. view article arw

The Elgin Independent School District is the second district to take issue with an assessment by Attorney General Ken Paxton that school officials broke the law by stumping for political candidates. “At the outset, let me clearly state that Elgin ISD agrees with your statement that school districts ‘may not use state or local funds or other resources to electioneer for or against any candidate, measure, or political party,’” Mark Goulet, attorney for the Elgin district, wrote in a letter to Assistant Attorney General, Cleve Doty, dated March 21. “This is clearly established in statute. We do not, however, share your opinion that Elgin ISD has violated the law in this regard.” view article arw

Linda Brown Thompson, who as a young girl was the student at the center of the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education that declared school racial segregation unconstitutional, has died in Topeka, Kansas. She was 76. The Peaceful Rest Funeral Chapel in Topeka confirmed it is handling funeral arrangements for Brown. view article arw

The Zephyr Independent School District only received $108,000 in a settlement it reached with several companies after agreeing to drop a million-dollar lawsuit, according to documents. Two weeks ago Zephyr ISD Superintendent Stanton Marwitz told KTXS the $208,750 it was paid for dismissing its suit over faulty turf was going towards paying off its new synthetic turf. However, documents obtained by KTXS through an open records request showed Zephyr used $100,000 from the settlement to pay fees it owed the law firm Gravely and Pearson, LLP. view article arw

The state’s attorney general is right about school officials and voting, but he’s leaving some Texans with an incorrect impression of what’s legal and what’s not.  Be nice: It could well be unintentional.  AG Ken Paxton, along with other Republican officeholders who are following in his wake, is strongly warning school officials against electioneering with public resources on public time. view article arw

The Texas Education Agency released a comprehensive draft strategic plan Monday evening in response to a Jan. 11 report in which the U.S. Department of Education found the TEA failed to ensure all special education students in the state were given access to appropriate services.  According to the federal report, the TEA failed to identify, locate and evaluate children with disabilities and to monitor school districts to ensure they met requirements laid out in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. view article arw

The 37-year-old chief technology officer for an El Paso County school district has been arrested for stealing as many as 150 iPads from the school system and reselling them. El Paso County sheriff's officials say investigators searched the home of Phillip Acosta last week and found several computers stolen from the Clint Independent School District, where he's chief of the department of technology and information services. The district in the eastern part of El Paso County has about 10,000 students. view article arw

The first Valentine’s Day note that Kevin Dyes received from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton last month was a “cease-and-desist” letter. The next two were open records requests.  All three seemed aimed at warning Dyes — the superintendent of Holliday ISD, a North Texas school district that enrolls just over 1,000 students, employs just over 100 staff, and occupies just under 300 square miles — to stop his “illegal electioneering.” view article arw

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sent two more cease-and-desist letters to school districts — Elgin and Galena Park — on Friday, saying officials at those districts had used school resources illegally to advocate for the election of Scott Milder, who ran against Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in the March 6 Republican primary.  Last month, Paxton sent cease-and-desist letters to Brazosport, Holliday and Lewisville districts, also saying that those school districts had illegally used school resources to electioneer. view article arw

It's official: The Texas Attorney General's Office and, therefore, by extension, our state government, opposes public education and voting. How else to interpret the intimidation tactics that Attorney General Ken Paxton has deployed against public-school administrators who, without naming candidates' names, urge educators to support office-seekers who are pro-public education? And how else to interpret his efforts to discourage them from transporting teachers and voting-age students to polling places? view article arw

Attorney General Ken Paxton sent a cease and desist letter to Elgin Independent School District Superintendent Jodi Duron and the president of Elgin ISD's Board of Trustees Byron Mitchell for actions taken during the recent primary election. The superintendent's twitter account @ElginSupt retweeted multiple tweets advocating people vote for Scott Milder, the primary challenger to incumbent Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. view article arw

Let’s ponder a couple of things after the Texas primaries proved again that well-funded candidates win — and win by big margins. If money plays a role to boost a candidate’s chance to win, why wouldn’t money play a role to provide a better education system?  We have been told repeatedly that there is enough — even too much — money in public education, and we just need to be more efficient. I propose public education has become so efficient, it cannot meet the needs of children. view article arw

Court records indicate that a state district judge and the Brownsville Independent School District were unable to resolve a dispute that resulted in a federal lawsuit during a March 6 grievance hearing. On Nov. 30, 2017, 404th State District Judge Elia Cornejo-Lopez, in her capacity as a parent of students attending the school district, filed a lawsuit against BISD accusing administrators and trustees of mistreating her children and retaliating against them after she filed a grievance against the district, alleging that it violated her child’s constitutional rights when it didn’t allow her child to take an AP Psychology class but allowed another similarly situated student to take an AP Chemistry class. view article arw

A panel of three U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals judges ruled Tuesday that most of the state’s immigration enforcement legislation, Senate Bill 4, can remain in effect while the case plays out, handing a victory to Gov. Greg Abbott and Republican supporters of the law.  As passed, Senate Bill 4 allows local law enforcement officers to question the immigration status of people they detain or arrest and punishes local government department heads and elected officials who don’t cooperate with federal immigration "detainers" — requests by agents to turn over immigrants subject to possible deportation — in the form of jail time and penalties that exceed $25,000.  view article arw

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus’ hand-picked committee released its delayed report on the future of the state’s economy Tuesday, and it’s a ringing condemnation of last session’s transgender bathroom bills as unneeded and dangerous to the state’s economy as well as Austin’s bid for Amazon’s second headquarters. view article arw

Houston police took a wanted kidnapping suspect into custody Tuesday night after a chase that spanned from Houston to La Marque. It is unclear what started the pursuit, although Houston police officers started chasing the suspect shortly before 8 p.m. along the Gulf Freeway. The pursuit reached speeds up to 90 mph as the suspect and officers raced south on the freeway toward Galveston. view article arw

Empower Texans, a Tea Party group known for waging aggressive campaigns against establishment Republicans, is suing in federal court to prohibit three district attorneys and the attorney general from launching any criminal investigations into the strategy it used to attack state Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, in the GOP primary. view article arw