Texas voters approved the rainy day fund’s creation in 1988 as an emergency piggy bank to rescue state government in case future leaders faced the sort of oil and gas crash that beset the state budget in the 1980s.  Now, with another sharp drop in oil prices — combined with the far-reaching effects of the coronavirus — wreaking havoc on the state’s economy, will Gov. Greg Abbott see fit to dip into the $8.5 billion dollar fund?  He’s not saying.  Comptroller Glenn Hegar, who provides state leaders with revenue projections, is already sounding alarm bells, saying he expects rainy day fund spending to be necessary to keep up core government work.  Unemployment numbers mount; restaurants and retail stores are shuttered; and oil prices remain in the cellar, down by two-thirds since January. With sales and other consumption taxes making up the lion’s share of state general revenues, a $3 billion budget surplus projected by Hegar last year has evaporated. view article arw

Texas voters approved the rainy day fund’s creation in 1988 as an emergency piggy bank to rescue state government in case future leaders faced the sort of oil and gas crash that beset the state budget in the 1980s.  Now, with another sharp drop in oil prices — combined with the far-reaching effects of the coronavirus — wreaking havoc on the state’s economy, will Gov. Greg Abbott see fit to dip into the $8.5 billion dollar fund?  He’s not saying.  Comptroller Glenn Hegar, who provides state leaders with revenue projections, is already sounding alarm bells, saying he expects rainy day fund spending to be necessary to keep up core government work.  Unemployment numbers mount; restaurants and retail stores are shuttered; and oil prices remain in the cellar, down by two-thirds since January. With sales and other consumption taxes making up the lion’s share of state general revenues, a $3 billion budget surplus projected by Hegar last year has evaporated. view article arw

A May vote on whether to continue funding the citywide Pre-K 4 SA program could be postponed because of the spread of coronavirus.  The board that governs the early childhood education entity on Thursday recommended that City Council move the election slated for May 2 to Election Day, Nov. 3. view article arw

WASHINGTON — It took a pandemic to get Democratic and Republican senators to work together. It is a testament to COVID-19's devastating impact on the American economy and to public health that members of the U.S. Senate on Wednesday night unanimously supported a bill so sweeping, so expensive, that it touches almost every part of American life and will, if it passes the U.S. House on Friday, cost three times as much as the bank bailout of 2008. view article arw

Caught between growing conservative opposition to business restrictions and Democrats pushing for a statewide shelter-in-place order, Gov. Greg Abbott opted Tuesday to continue as before — but warned that he has not ruled out a stricter response if needed. "The best thing we can do to get the economy going is to get COVID-19 behind us," Abbott said. "We must bend the curve of the growth of coronavirus in Texas. As soon as we do that, the economy will come roaring back."  Abbott said the stay-at-home orders adopted by Travis and Williamson counties and other areas, which include the temporary closing of nonessential businesses, go much further than his executive order limiting gatherings of 10 or more. view article arw

Go ahead and die, Dan

March 2508:40 AM
 

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, chiming in to support President Donald Trump’s new focus on the economy over fierce warnings from public health officials, suggested on Fox News on Monday night that he would rather die from the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus than see instability in the American economic system.  “No one reached out to me and said, ‘As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?’ And if that’s the exchange, I’m all in,” he said. “And that doesn’t make me noble or brave or anything like that. view article arw

The May 26 primary election runoffs will be delayed until July in response to the growing outbreak of the new coronavirus in Texas under an order signed Friday by Gov. Greg Abbott.  Abbott signed the postponement under the emergency powers of his previous statewide disaster declaration. Dozens of runoffs are ongoing for party nominations to congressional and local offices. The most prominent is the contest between former Air Force helicopter pilot MJ Hegar and state Sen. Royce West of Dallas for the Democratic nomination to take on Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn. view article arw

In the most aggressive statewide move yet to combat the coronavirus pandemic in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a series of directives Thursday that limit social gatherings to no more than 10 people, close all schools and restrict bars and restaurants. The order, which is effective midnight Friday until at least April 3, also ends most visitation at nursing homes and assisted living facilities. It came as Department of State Health Services Commissioner John Hellerstedt declared a public health disaster, the first in more than 100 years.   (20) view article arw

The four orders serve to limit public gatherings and help reduce exposure for people across the state. view article arw

With an extended spring break, many parents are wondering how this impacts the school year, and STAAR testing. Most ask-will my child have to make up days missed due to COVID-19 cancellation? The Red Oak ISD Superintendent addresses some of those concerns. view article arw

For the first time since 2008, more Texans voted in the Democratic presidential primary than in the Republican primary — but just barely.  With all polling places tallied Thursday, Democrats had cast 2,076,046 votes in the pitched contest to take on President Donald Trump in November. Meanwhile, Republicans cast 2,008,385 votes in the presidential contest. Overall, a small majority of votes — 2,071,745 — came during early voting, and 2,012,686 were cast on election day, according to the Texas secretary of state’s office. view article arw

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has canceled Senate committee hearings this month, citing concerns about the coronavirus.  Patrick said he made the move after consulting with committee leaders.  “Public testimony is important — we want to hear the voice of every Texan and make sure they are comfortable traveling to committee hearings,” a Patrick spokesperson said in an email. “Lt. Gov. Patrick believes this step is the prudent thing to do at this time as Texas continues ongoing efforts to contain and mitigate the impact of COVID-19.”  The Senate Select Committee on Mass Violence Prevention and Community Safety was scheduled to hold a hearing Tuesday, but an updated online notice said the public meeting would be postponed to a later date “out of an abundance of caution given the recent public health events occurring around the globe.” view article arw

The Austin school district found itself in a conundrum. It needed a modern sexual education curriculum and found one by a Canadian public health care provider. The problem was the Canadian system offers abortions, and Texas law bars public agencies from paying or supporting groups that do. view article arw

But primary reveals the impact of massive charter-school donations  Congratulations to all of our endorsed candidates who won on Tuesday night and those who made it into run-offs! We know these candidates will be fierce advocates for public education, and we look forward to supporting them in November.   We also would like to thank all of our members who voted and volunteered on campaigns leading up to the primary. The hard work showed, and in races we tracked members turned out at nearly double the average rate through early voting! view article arw

State Rep. Harold Dutton said Thursday he has hired a private investigator to look into the candidacy of Natasha Ruiz, an opponent who forced him into a runoff despite never establishing a presence in the race.  Dutton, a Houston Democrat and one of the longest serving members of the Texas House, said he may contest the result of the election depending on what the investigation yields. None of Ruiz’s three opponents — Dutton, Houston Councilman Jerry Davis and transportation logistics executive Richard Bonton — have ever seen Ruiz or found any evidence that she had a campaign.  The news, first reported by ABC 13, comes after Dutton finished first in the four-candidate primary for House District 142, which covers parts of northeast Houston and Harris County, including Fifth Ward and Kashmere Gardens. view article arw

Long headless, the Legislative Budget Board has a new director: Jerry McGinty of Huntsville, the chief financial officer of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.  He takes the helm of a troubled agency that has lacked a leader since October 2018. The organization’s scores of employees are charged with providing state lawmakers nonpartisan budget analyses they can use to make decisions on the state’s two-year, $250 billion budget.  McGinty has worked at TDCJ for nearly three decades, serving also as budget director and in human resources and communications roles, according to an announcement Thursday from Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen. view article arw

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Long time Democratic State Representative Harold Dutton was forced into a runoff Tuesday night, but a ghost candidate may have helped make that happen.  Dutton, who has long represented House District 142 in northeast Houston, already faced a formidable challenger in Houston City Council Member Jerry Davis. However, the only female name on the ballot is what's raising eyebrows.   "When you're leading, you're never at a disadvantage," said Dutton, "But I think there are a lot of questions about what happened in this election.   (06) view article arw

Congratulations to our winners!  Note: Please do not forward this email from a school district computer or device read more arw

DALLAS, March 4, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The Commit Partnership and Educate Texas are proud to announce the launch of the Texas Impact Network, a joint venture focused on collectively building capacity within school systems across the state of Texas through strong regional partnerships supporting effective implementation of optional state-funded, student-focused policies.  All support from the Texas Impact Network will be funded principally through philanthropic contributions and will be provided at no cost to participating school systems.  In June 2019, the 86th Texas Legislature passed House Bill 3 (HB3), a landmark multi-billion dollar school finance package that drove substantial funding toward equitable strategies to directly benefit students who need it the most. view article arw

An elementary school teacher at Judson Independent School District has been arrested for aggravated sexual assault of a child, according to an arrest affidavit. Ryan Patrick England, 33, a first-grade teacher at Elolf Elementary School, was arrested Wednesday after inappropriately touching an 8-year-old student, the affidavit states. view article arw

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Republican agitator who has called President Donald Trump a child rapist and posts risque images of women on social media advanced to a runoff in Tuesday’s primary for a seat on the influential Texas State Board of Education.  Robert Morrow has long been a thorn for Texas Republicans. He’ll face either Lani Popp, a San Antonio area public school speech pathologist, or Inga Cotton, who heads a nonprofit that supports families choosing charter schools, in the May runoff for the central Texas district. view article arw

2020 primary results: State races

March 0408:02 AM
 

I’m going to direct you to the Texas Tribune results page, which combines both parties’ results and is a couple orders of magnitude less sucky than the revamped SOS election night results pages. Good Lord, whoever designed that “upgrade” from the lower-tech previous version should be banished to a desert island. We’re gonna do bullet points here: view article arw

Tomorrow is Election Day!

March 0308:40 AM
 

Tomorrow is Election Day!  Please VOTE!  view article arw

Tuesday's elections will trim dozens and dozens of would-be officeholders from the ballots, setting the table for a number of consequential runoffs and for a highly contested and anticipated general election in Texas. view article arw

Even though the 87th Texas Legislature is a year away, Lewisville ISD is already forming its game plan on how to get its priorities across to lawmakers.  School Board members said the key is to the make the list of priorities short yet impactful.  Even better if it can fit on the back of a business card, Trustee Jenny Proznik said. view article arw

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Schools around the country are using Digital Learning Day to showcase how pivotal technology is to helping students learn.  15 WFISD schools allowed administrators and community members to tour several campuses throughout the city to show how technology helps reach students in this generation.  At Rider High School, students were using Chromebooks and teachers were using phones. view article arw

The great philosopher and author, Dr. Seuss, once wrote..."Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It's not." read more arw

Kilgore ISD trustees were told Monday night that a recent settlement offer from plaintiffs in a longstanding lawsuit against the district was rejected and that the district will consult tonight with its attorney on the next step it should take. Axberg vs. Kilgore ISD, filed in September 2016 on behalf of Gregg County plaintiffs Darlene Axberg, John Axberg and Sheila Anderson, alleges the district improperly collected taxes after repealing its long-standing local option homestead exemption in 2015. The plaintiffs say the district’s repeal was a violation of what was at the time a newly passed school reform law. view article arw

FORT WORTH — U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey is about as restrained as Texans come, but in recent days he has unloaded his unvarnished thoughts on the Democratic presidential primary to practically any reporter he could find.  His message? U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ march to the party’s nomination will jeopardize Texas Democrats’ efforts to capture the state House of Representatives and a slew of U.S. House seats across the state.  “Bernie has no coattails,” said Veasey, who has endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden. “It’s going to be Bernie and his cause taking the party down with him. view article arw

The Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) provided testimony today, Feb. 25, 2020, before the Senate Finance Committee. Among the topics discussed were the long-term facilities planning for TRS, including the recent decision made by the TRS Board of Trustees to continue leasing space at 816 Congress Avenue for its Investment Management Division (IMD) in lieu of moving into the Indeed Tower. The committee had already scheduled TRS to testify on a Senate interim charge relating to the agency’s investment responsibilities, but Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick added a discussion about the Indeed Tower lease to the Senate Finance Committee charge.  view article arw

Facing a $2.3 million budget deficit for the 2019-20 school year, Eanes ISD passed a resolution during a Feb. 25 board meeting for the option to seek a voter-approved tax rate election.  Administrators have often stated that House Bill 3, which passed in June, provided the EISD with significantly less financial assistance than its neighboring districts. For example, for every dollar EISD received, Lake Travis ISD received six, according to district information.   (02/27) view article arw

Though Bexar County has a record number of voters registered for the March 3 primary election, traffic at voting sites was slow during the first week of early voting.  Only 45,270 out of 1.13 million registered voters in Bexar County cast ballots in the first six days of early voting. That’s 4 percent of the county’s electorate, which is unusually low, Bexar County Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen said at a Monday news conference. view article arw

MCALLEN — Less than six weeks out from primary day in Texas, Amanda Edwards, among the leading Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate, made a campaign stop in the Rio Grande Valley, where she stressed at a small forum the importance of elevating new voices.  “We have to bring people to the table so that they’re not on the menu,” the former Houston City Council member said at the January event. “And one of the things that’s critically important is when we bring them to the table, then we have to deliver.” view article arw

AUSTIN – Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughs today announced a new statewide initiative, "Ready. Check. Vote.," to educate Texas voters about what they need to bring to the polls when they cast their ballot. The campaign will utilize social media, paid advertising, and a grassroots tour to communicate to Texans the seven approved forms of photo identification and what to do if they do not possess and cannot reasonably obtain one of these seven forms. In its 2019 session, the Texas Legislature appropriated funding to the Secretary of State’s office for this initiative.  (02/26) view article arw

n order to select a candidate to represent their party in the general election, the Republican and Democratic parties each hold state by state primaries and caucuses. Each state has different voting laws and procedures, but there are two main types of elections. view article arw