A Texas high school sent a Black student back to in-school suspension Tuesday for refusing to change his hairstyle, renewing a monthslong standoff over a dress code policy the teen’s family calls discriminatory. view article arw

The Katy Independent School District Board of Trustees is weighing whether to hire religious chaplains to work as counselors at schools, but many parents and community members are not on board. view article arw

Katy Independent School District’s Board of Trustees held a work-study meeting Monday night to discuss several topics, including whether to hire chaplains. Senate Bill 763, authored by Galveston-area State Senator Mayes Middleton, would allow school districts to hire or accept chaplain volunteers to “provide support, services, and programs for students as assigned by the board of trustees of the district.” The discussion is required under new state law. view article arw

Chaplains, or clergy members, will not be allowed to serve as school counselors in Leander ISD. The Leander ISD board of trustees voted against employing or accepting chaplains as volunteers “to provide support, services and programs for students” at a Nov. 30 meeting, according to the resolution. The district will continue providing counseling services through certified school counselors and credentialed mental health specialists, the resolution states. view article arw

Two Round Rock Independent School District board members are facing calls to return thousands of campaign dollars they received from a political group, following news of the former president of the group meeting with a widely known white supremacist, antisemitic podcaster. The group under fire for the meeting – Defend Texas Liberty PAC – donated $13,000 to RRISD Trustee Mary Bone and $18,000 to trustee Danielle Weston in December 2021, according to Texas Ethics Commission records. Those were the largest donations they received. Neither were up for reelection at the time. view article arw

Although the McAllen Independent School District Board of Trustees will likely make some adjustments to board policy this semester, the main proposal that started the board’s discussion on policy is almost certainly headed to the dustbin. Late last month the board’s president, Debbie Crane Aliseda, proposed changing the number of trustees required to place an item on trustees’ agendas from one to two. view article arw

Rows of chairs sat empty in the Alan B. Shepard Middle School cafeteria on Wednesday as South San Antonio Independent School District trustees listened to a presentation they’d already heard several times this year. Confronting a $9.5 million deficit, Superintendent Henry Yzaguirre said the district had two options: do nothing and crumble or take the overdue step of closing West Campus High School. view article arw

The Lufkin Independent School District school board has hired three consultants to help examine the district’s structure. This follows former LISD superintendent Lynn Torres asking to be put on administrative leave for the 2023-2024 school year. LISD Deputy Superintendent Kurt Stephens said three consultants were hired from Caldwell Consulting LLC to have outside eyes look at different areas of the district. view article arw

Conroe ISD streamlines controversial book policy modeled after Katy ISD, defines 'sexually explicit' Books that are frequently listed on banned book lists photographed in the Houston Chronicle photo studio in 2022.  The Conroe ISD Board of Trustees streamlined its book policy to remove material reviews with a hearing officer and allow board members to appeal decisions made by the district’s book reconsideration committee. The controversial issue was brought back to the board by Trustee Tiffany Nelson during the board’s Oct. 17 meeting for discussion. Nelson suggested the amendments that align with Katy ISD book policy. According to the previous policy adopted in September 2022, a person could make a complaint to the district and the committee would review the book or material and issue a decision. If the complainant was unsatisfied, they could appeal that decision to a hearing officer for a Level II hearing. view article arw

GRAPELAND – The Texas University Interscholastic League State Executive Committee (UIL-SEC) held a hearing by video conference Tuesday, Nov. 14 to decide the fate of Grapeland Independent School District (GISD) Girls’ Basketball Coach Lans Green, after GISD self-reported incidents where the coach broke Texas UIL rules regarding practices, travel and expenses. (UIL-SEC) Chariman Mike Motheral began the hearing telling those present the committee had seen the evidence and was ready to proceed. GISD was represented by Superintendent Dr. David Maass, Athletic Director Jordan Wood, Girls’ Basketball Coach Lans Green and Assistant Coach Janna Hatton. The hearing came about after GISD reported possible violations in the beginning of September to the district committee, which passed these on to the state committee. The violations concerned rules 12.06 (regarding off-season team practices) and 12.09 (regarding off-season team play.) view article arw

When the appointed board of managers held community engagement meetings throughout the month of September, attendees had a lot to say about their priorities for the district, with concerns including budgetary and safety matters, curriculum and equitable distribution of resources. view article arw

With the passage of Senate Bill 763 in the 88th legislative session, chaplains may be employed by or volunteer for a district to provide support, services and programs for students. The bill requires each board in the state to vote on the measure by March 1. “We utilize certified counselors and in partnership with Communities in Schools to provide these services to our students currently,” Superintendent Laurelyn Arterbury said. “And so while we are proud of that work, we do have an opportunity to bring in chaplains, but at this time it would be the administration's recommendation that we keep those services being provided by certified counselors and our Communities in Schools partners, and not necessarily employ chaplains in this capacity.” “Chaplain” was not defined in the bill, and the State Board for Educator Certification will not require certification for chaplains employed or volunteering under the law, according to the district. view article arw

The Argyle ISD administration building was renamed on Nov. 13 in honor for the most recent superintendent. During a ceremony prior to the board of trustees meeting, Telena Wright was present when the building was renamed the Argyle ISD Dr. Telena Wright Administration Building. She spent 23 years with the district, and the past 15 were served as as the superintendent. She was the Argyle High School principal from 2000-02, the assistant superintendent from 2003-07, and interim superintendent in 2008 before being hired for the role full-time in January 2009. Wright retired June 30. view article arw

Killeen Independent School District board members once again considered changing the way seat holders are elected by the public during Tuesday’s meeting. KISD trustees are currently elected at-large by position, meaning anyone in Killeen, Harker Heights or Nolanville can vote for a candidate. The concept of changing the election process was first introduced in 2021. Since then, trustees have played with the idea of transitioning to a single-member district voting system, which would divide options into smaller sections, making it so trustees are elected to represent specific parts of the district. view article arw

The Spring Branch ISD board of trustees meeting was shut down Monday after hundreds of dissenting community members congregated in the meeting room to speak out against a measure that would close three charter school programs. Throngs of parents, students and shareholders filled the room beyond safe capacity, resulting in the Houston Fire Marshal’s Office closing the meeting after less than an hour. view article arw

Parents gathered outside of Tomball ISD's administrative offices today to protest what they say was a bait and switch, as the district plans for the construction of a new campus for fifth and sixth graders on a lot located far from many residents. Of the around 30 attendees, many of them were from the Creekside neighborhood in the Woodlands, and said they supported a bond that passed in 2021 to build a new school in Tomball ISD. Also in 2021, the district purchased a 70.45-acre property, formerly owned by now-defunct oil service company BJ Services, for $39.5 million. A high school, Tomball Star Academy, has already been built on a portion of the land. The district is now proposing building a new campus for fifth and sixth-grade students on the property, located at the corner of FM 2920 and Hufsmith-Kohrville Road. view article arw

Valerie Lozano’s son Ryan, 9, has attended three different schools since kindergarten. The Winston Intermediate School of Excellence is the first place he’s spent more than one consecutive grade. The newfound consistency will be short-lived. On Tuesday, the Edgewood Independent School District board voted 5-1 to shutter two campuses, Winston and E.T. Wrenn Middle School, to try to address dwindling enrollment and depleted funding. view article arw

The Plano Independent School District may close certain schools and restructure others as student enrollment continues to decline and school buildings age and deteriorate, administrators said Monday night. District leaders shared their Long Range Facility Planning roadmap during a public meeting at Jasper High School, and walked parents and community members through the results of a study approved by PISD's board of trustees in May. view article arw

No more than 24 hours after another local school district voted to shut down more than a dozen schools, Edgewood Independent School District is the latest San Antonio-area public district to close schools amid low enrollment and lack of funding. All except for one board member present voted to shut down the schools. One board member was not in attendance. view article arw

Trustees of the San Antonio Independent School District faced a packed board room of upset families and staff Monday night, gathered to ask the board to reconsider a historic proposal to close 15 schools. Although SAISD held dozens of community meetings on the plan to consolidate schools between August and November, many of the nearly 60 speakers said they felt administrators rushed the process and didn’t truly hear them. view article arw

The school board in Broward County, Fla. — where 14 students and three staff members died in a shooting last year at a suburban high school — voted Tuesday to keep schools Superintendent Robert Runcie. Three of nine members dissented, including a parent of one of the students who died. Runcie faced criticism after the Feb. 14, 2018, shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Fla., from some board members and Parkland parents over security measures at the school. Newly installed Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has also criticized the superintendent. view article arw

Monday night's Spring Branch ISD board meeting came to an abrupt halt after hundreds of parents, students, teachers, and community members packed the administration building, creating fire hazard concerns for officials. Last week, the Board of Trustees passed the first phase of resolutions to save about $2.9 million. It included adjusting the staffing ratios for high schools, increasing Pre-K tuition, and pausing rebuilds for four remaining elementary schools from the 2017 Bond Program. view article arw

Late Monday night, Sherman Independent School District board members voted to reinstate the original script and cast of "Oklahoma!" for the Sherman High School drama, reversing the school's controversial decision to recast and pause the production. The board's reversal came after a heated meeting, where more than 60 people spoke in support of Max Hightower, a transgender senior cast in the musical. view article arw

Karla Castillon Duran, a Northside Independent School District board member charged with driving while intoxicated, has hired a pair of prominent criminal defense lawyers who have represented other high-profile DWI defendants. Duran, 44, was arrested early on the morning of Sept. 3 after a San Antonio police officer allegedly saw her car swerve repeatedly on Interstate 10 West and nearly strike a concrete barrier. She is free on a $1,000 personal recognizance bond. view article arw

The Northside Independent School District has no policy in place for its board to publicly reprimand a fellow trustee accused of improper behavior, KSAT Investigates has confirmed. The revelation from officials from NISD, San Antonio’s largest school district, comes amid a continued public backlash against District 3 Trustee Dr. Karla Duran, who has remained on the board despite her Sept. 3 arrest on suspicion of DWI. view article arw

Parents and teachers across the San Antonio Independent School District experienced a combination of anticipation, disappointment and relief Friday after being informed that four campuses were removed from a list that originally recommended that 19 schools be closed. The news came in advance of a vote by trustees on the proposal Monday. Pershing, Collins Garden, Ogden and Riverside Park elementary schools are no longer being considered for closure, letting parents like SetaleneBlu Trejo, who works and has a 5-year-old daughter at Pershing breathe a sigh of relief. view article arw

Of the 72 books up for reconsideration, 65 have already been removed from the shelves and two have been retained. PLANO, Texas — The topic of sexually explicit books was not on the Plano ISD agenda but that did not stop another packed boardroom with nearly 30 speakers on the topic. A large contingent of Muslim-Americans has joined the fight in keeping sexually-explicit content off the shelves. Prior to Wednesday night's meeting, residents had raised concerns that "outside forces" were attempting to bully the school board. view article arw

In a statement, Sherman ISD announced its upcoming musical ‘Oklahoma!’ will have a new rule preventing students from playing roles of the opposite gender. News 12 reported on Monday, that the regulation took a lead male role away from high school senior Max Hightower, who identifies as a transgender male. view article arw

TEXARKANA, Texas -- Pleasant Grove Independent School District's Board of Trustees election ended with no changes to the board's roster. Place 5 was up for contention, and incumbent trustee Brandy Eldridge won the election with an complete but unofficial total of 1,078 votes. The election between Eldridge and her opponent, Alex Ganjizadeh, was approved in September, after Ganjizadeh filed paperwork to run against the trustee. Ganjizadeh received a total of 226 votes after running on a platform of wanting to reduce achievement gaps and increase offerings of CTE (Career and Technical Education) offerings. Eldridge's main concerns for re-election were continuing Professional Learning Communities to ensure inquiry and active research, along with ensuring adequate funding for teachers. view article arw

Voters in the Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD will elect a trustee for Place 2. Live results are embedded below. view article arw

New Braunfels ISD voters will decide the fate of a tax rate increase proposition. Live results are embedded below. view article arw

Last Chance to Vote…

November 0708:30 AM

This is election day for voting on 14 constitutional propositions statewide. Many areas also have local questions ranging from tax hikes and debt issuance to places on city councils and school boards. read more arw

Steven Monacelli wrote this article for The Texas Observer about the network of rightwing groups flooding local school board elections with big money. He also supplied the photographs. As the article points out, about 75% of local school board candidates spend less than $1,000 to run for office. In districts targeted for takeover, such modest spending is no longer a path to success. Monacelli writes: view article arw

A former Corpus Christi Independent School District Board Member pleaded guilty to allegedly filing a false tax return, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced. An investigation began in December 2018 on John Longoria after a two-year “extensive and suspicious remodeling” project at his home, followed by several search warrants executed by authorities in November 2020. view article arw

As a growing number of school boards across the state change public comment rules to give priority to parents, teachers and residents in their districts, some parents in the Fort Worth Independent School District are asking trustees to do the same. At board meetings over the past two months, speakers have asked trustees to adopt a policy limiting the amount of time outsiders get to speak and making them wait until after district stakeholders have spoken. Advocates for those policies say they would limit the influence of outside groups and tamp down on culture war conflicts. But are those policies legal?  view article arw