Sitting on an elementary school stage before dozens of educators, Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday signed into law a sweeping plan to overhaul how Texas funds public education, investing $11.5 billion to boost educator pay, expand access to full-day pre-K for students and slow the growth of crippling property tax bills for homeowners and businesses. While educators say they are pleased lawmakers prioritized education and worked to elevate the teaching profession, some are skeptical the changes will last. There is no money committed to pay for all those upgrades beyond 2021, when the state estimates that lawmakers will have to come up with more than $13 billion to keep them going. view article arw

Over the weekend, Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law Senate Bill 12, which increases state contributions to the Teacher Retirement System over the next five years. The goal is to pay off debt and make the pension fund financially healthy.  “We are making a promise to our current active teachers that their retirement security will be assured with dollars in the bank to pay for those costs long into the future,” Tim Lee, executive director of the Texas Retired Teachers Association, said. “That’s important to all Texans because the taxpayer wants to know that our teachers are going to be taken care of because by and large, our teachers do not have social security. This is their retirement security, so if we’re going to make a promise to our active teachers, we want to make sure we’re going to live up to that promise.”  view article arw

Indianapolis Public Schools paid almost $600,000 to settle three lawsuits in a case involving a former school counselor who was accused of having sex with students. The Indianapolis Star obtained the financial details of the settlements through public records requests. The school board approved them nearly two weeks ago without disclosing the amount. The lawsuits arose from allegations that former counselor Shana Taylor had sex with two teenage students while working for the district in 2015 and 2016. view article arw

Federal prosecutors plan to ask a judge Wednesday for more than a year in prison for a former Stanford sailing coach who admitted to accepting bribes in the college admissions cheating scheme. John Vandemoer will be the first person sentenced in the case that has ensnared athletic coaches at elite universities across the country as well as prominent parents, including business executives and Hollywood stars. Among those charged are actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin as well as Loughlin's fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli. Prosecutors are seeking 13 months behind bars, saying such a sentence is necessary to help restore confidence in a college admissions system that many believe is rigged in favor of the rich. view article arw

A federal judge has found that an Indiana school district violated a transgender student's civil rights by not allowing him to use male bathrooms at school. The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana sued the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation last year after the teenager was told to use the female bathroom or bathrooms in the nurse's office. view article arw

Kennedale TX school district won’t discipline a superintendent that a mom says racially targeted her son view article arw

A Ballinger Independent School District secretary was indicted on multiple charges accusing her of stealing district money and unlawfully using district credit/debit cards. view article arw

Not my words, but also not wrong words. This is an article about hiring design professionals—not about competitive bidding. In fact, as indicated by the title it is about some of the legal and practical reasons that Competitive Bidding for design professionals is almost universally shunned in the United States. Astronaut John Glenn once joked about how he felt before his 1962 trip aboard Friendship 7:

The Kennedale school board of trustees decided not to discipline the district’s superintendent at a Tuesday night meeting after a parent said the superintendent racially targeted her child at school in early May. The district board, family and NAACP officials met in closed session at a special meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The board returned with a decision at about 9 p.m. view article arw

Rick Sorrells is a disgraced former school administrator, an admitted criminal, a soon-to-be resident of the federal prison system and, despite all of that, he is eligible to receive his full state pension.  Sorrells, who admitted taking $3 million in bribes in a scandal that destroyed the agency he once led, is facing a maximum 10 years behind bars for wire fraud.  But his pension is protected by Texas laws that allow the benefits to stay in place even if serious financial crimes have been committed, NBC 5 Investigates has learned. view article arw

Esmeraldo Cepeda was fired from her position as the dean of instruction at the Santa Rosa Independent School earlier this month following a lawsuit filed against the school district for lack of transparency. "The board retreated in a closed session they did not discuss her termination in the open public and came back motioned it, seconded it and fired her without any discussions," said John Shergold, Cepeda's attorney. "Her lawsuit is filed because our state legislature or government code states that if you're going to propose the termination of the person against a government employee that that employee has the right to request the hearing to be held in the open public and so that's what she did." view article arw

An employee of Taylor ISD's Child Development Center has been charged and arrested after police said she pinned a child to the ground when he resisted taking a nap. A child care provider at the center reported the alleged incident on May 17, stating that co-worker Mikelean Griffith, 67, of Hutto pinned the two-year-old boy down earlier that day. Griffith allegedly held the child to a mat, placing her knee in the center of his back while both of her hands were on his shoulders near his neck. Reports state she then transferred her body weight onto his back. view article arw

Killeen Police report a retired kindergarten teacher from Peebles Elementary School allegedly engaged in inappropriate conduct with a student during the 2016-17 school year. Through the investigation, detectives with the Criminal Investigation Division's Special Victims Unit discovered a juvenile victim disclosed that Leonardo Casias had inappropriate physical contact with the student. view article arw

A now former employee of the Santa Rosa Independent School District is suing the district for their lack of transparency regarding her position with the district. In a lawsuit filed last Friday, Esmeralda Cepeda, who was the Dean of Instruction, is alleging that the school district violated the Texas Open Meetings Act, because her request to be heard regarding her position wasn’t held publicly as was requested. view article arw

In the winter of 2013, when the principal of Houston ISD’s Westside High School suggested making copies of colorful study guides recently purchased from a small Austin-area company, an English teacher responded that there was a “glaring disclaimer about copyright” at the bottom of the documents.  The teacher suggested the guides, which cost nearly $2,000 total, should be handed out during class and picked up before the final bell. But when the school’s principal brushed aside the copyright concerns, the teacher fell in line.  “I’m ok with violating it though…lol,” the teacher wrote in an email, according to a lawsuit. view article arw

Maybe you don’t know exactly what the Supreme Court’s historic 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling is, but you’ve heard about it often enough to know that you should. Watch the video below. It will take only six minutes. view article arw

Pearland ISD has announced changes to its dress code amid criticism of the district's confrontation of minority students over their hair style and headwear. The dress code announced Thursday for the 2019-20 school year removes restrictions on "hair styles and carvings," but says distracting colors remain prohibited. The policy says head coverings such as hats, caps, bandanas and hair rollers remain banned, but that "exceptions will be made for religious headwear." view article arw

Pearland Independent School District has come under fire from parents after multiple confrontations with its minority students deemed as culturally insensitive and discriminatory. Families of Pearland ISD are now requesting a committee, of which half should be students, be formed to represent diverse perspectives of the district, according to a news release. They're also requesting cultural sensitivity training, as well as data on the demographics of student punishment and student enrollment in various academic programs. view article arw

With the recent allegations involving former employees at Santa Rosa Independent School District, many parents are questioning the transparency of the school district. "This is a time of healing, this is a time for insight," Nick Maddox, Legal Counsel for Santa Rosa I.S.D., said. view article arw

As he awaits his sentencing, just the mention of Robert Leonard, a central player in a scandal that rocked Dallas City Hall and killed a once-reputable school agency, continues to stir the anger from the people hurt by corruption.  "He raped it," said one former employee of Dallas County Schools.  Others who lost their jobs with the demise of DCS had these choice words for Leonard: "He destroyed it"…"He took it down" …"He was the poison." view article arw

More arrests are possible in a Santa Rosa sexual assault investigation. Two former district employees are behind bars; both are accused of having improper relationships with students. The employees accused in this case are Josue Cepeda and Isaac Flores. view article arw

Frisco ISD’s board of trustees elections proceeded as scheduled May 4 despite a lawsuit claiming the district’s at-large voting system prevents minority candidates from getting elected to the board. The suit, filed April 16, claims the FISD board does not reflect the district’s current demographics. Since the 2016-17 school year, less than 50% of the student population has been white, and the largest minority group is Asian, according to Texas Education Agency data. The six board members who served prior to the May 4 election and were named on the lawsuit are all white. The suit alleges that seven candidates—five Asian and two Hispanic candidates—have unsuccessfully run for a seat on the board in the past four years. view article arw

Frisco ISD and its board of trustees have denied a federal lawsuit’s claims that the district’s at-large voting system prevents minority candidates from getting elected to the board, according to court documents. The district filed its first response to the lawsuit May 8, days after the regular election in which a minority candidate was elected to the board. Gopal Ponangi won the Place 1 seat and will be sworn into office on June 10. view article arw

Former Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway is scheduled to report to federal prison Tuesday morning. Caraway was sentenced to serve 56 months in prison in April and ordered to pay more than $500,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to wire fraud conspiracy and tax evasion charges. He admitted accepting more than $400,000 in bribes and kickbacks from the owner of a school bus camera company who also pleaded guilty to federal charges in the scandal surrounding Dallas County Schools (DCS). view article arw

A concerned parent has filed an appeal after the Amarillo ISD board of trustees denied his complaint. Dr. Marc Henson filed a formal complaint to Amarillo ISD in March regarding the resignation of Coach Kori Clements. The TEA responded and denied jurisdiction in the case of the complaint, saying the allegations should be filed directly with the school district. In April, Dr. Henson filed additional complaints with Amarillo High School Principal David Vincent, Superintendent Doug Loomis and School Board President Scott Flow. view article arw

Three key employees in Hallettsville ISD are charged and accused of failing to report an allegation of abuse. Thursday night, community members gathered to express their concern. The informal meeting that ended around 10 p.m., allowed parents to voice their concerns about the recent happenings. Hallettsville High School Principal Darrin Alexander Bickham, Assistant Principal Scott Eugene Cottenoir, and head baseball coach Calvin Edward Cook were arrested regarding the failure to report a case of abuse occurring in March 2019. view article arw

Roxton ISD — Consolidation of Roxton ISD and Chisum ISD into a single school district under a local consolidation agreement.  YES: 115  NO: 31 --- Chisum ISD — Consolidation of Roxton ISD and Chisum ISD into a single school district under a local consolidation agreement YES: 100 NO: 21 read more arw

A lawsuit between Amarillo ISD and Travelers Lloyds Insurance Company has been settled. view article arw

Preventive Law: Measles!!!

May 0208:31 AM
 

Texas is in the middle of the biggest measles outbreak in years. Across the nation, the 2019 outbreak is the largest (more than 681 reported cases, including at least 10 in Texas) in the United States since the year 2000, when the disease was declared eliminated. Other infectious diseases that were considered rare, such as whooping cough, are also on the rise.

The principal, assistant principal and head baseball coach for a Texas high school have been arrested on felony charges they failed to report a case of child abuse or neglect. Hallettsville police said in a statement Tuesday that the three men violated a state law requiring educators to report such cases to law enforcement. view article arw

A trio of leaders of Hallettsville High School were arrested Tuesday, the Hallettsville Police Department said. Principal Darrin Bickham, Assistant Principal Scott Cottenoir and baseball coach Calvin Cook face state jail felony charges after police said they failed to report an offense that took place in the first week of March in Medina County. view article arw

In the court of public opinion — presided over by Facebook — Frisco ISD parent Suresh Kumar has been held in contempt. Kumar filed a lawsuit April 16 alleging that the school district’s at-large system for electing trustees discriminates against Frisco ISD’s rapidly growing Asian population. And while Kumar, his lawyers and Frisco ISD are mostly mum, the conversation on social media has painted the Indian American plaintiff as a troublemaker intent on sabotaging a thriving school system. view article arw

A federal judge has temporarily blocked a Texas law that requires people contracting with the state to sign a pledge not to boycott Israel.  The ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pitman stems from a lawsuit filed by a speech pathologist with the Pflugerville Independent School District whose contract was terminated after she refused to sign a document stating she would not boycott Israel.   According to court documents, Bahia Amawi, a U.S. citizen of Palestinian origin, said she participates in the boycott movement because she's an advocate for "Palestinian human rights and justice."     She sued, arguing the law violates her First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.   view article arw

The third grade teacher facing multiple counts of indecency with a child by sexual contact has bonded out of jail. That was confirmed Friday evening by Navarro County Sheriff Elmer Tanner. Ramon Santuario-Mendoza, 48, taught at Sam Houston Elementary School in Corsicana ISD until he was placed on administrative leave last week. view article arw

Fort Worth school district school board President Tobi Jackson was advised in a written opinion from an attorney in April 2016 that if she had a business relationship with an employee of one of the district’s most important vendors, she needed to disclose it.   But she ignored the advice and a month later cast a vote to give that vendor, the powerful law firm of Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, a six-year tax collection contract.  Jackson filed none of the documentation required by state ethics laws to disclose such a conflict. District officials, meanwhile, refused to release the legal opinion, which had been requested by news reporters under the state’s public information law. The requestors, including The Texas Monitor, sought to clarify Jackson’s relationship with Linebarger. The Texas Monitor received a copy of the opinion from another source. view article arw