Crowley students will have to attend online classes from Thursday until after its Thanksgiving break because of coronavirus-related staffing shortages, the district announced Tuesday.  Crowley ISD has 34 staff members who have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus and 139 staff members are quarantined, according to the district’s dashboard. Additionally, 45 students have tested positive for the virus, and 701 have quarantined, according to the district’s data. Among the quarantined staff members are people who were in close contact with someone who has had the virus, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. view article arw

Huntsville ISD is seeking to maintain its status as a District of Innovation, with its first public hearing scheduled later this month.   The District of Innovation designation, which was first established by the Texas Legislature in 2015, allows school districts with accountability ratings of "C" or above to utilize certain exemptions related to class sizes, school year schedules, and teacher contracts and certifications.  Two of the major impact for Huntsville ISD is the ability to adopt a flexible school calendar, and also hire teachers with specific work and career experiences that may not hold traditional teaching certificates. view article arw

In a political environment like Washington, D.C., the kinds of legal perils encircling Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton might be grounds for firing, impeachment or congressional investigation.  Paxton, indicted more than five years ago on securities fraud charges, has not yet had his day in court. And another, more current investigation stems from allegations from eight of his top aides that his help for a campaign donor has crossed into bribery and abuse of office. Four of those aides — all eight have left the agency, voluntarily and involuntarily  view article arw

In a letter this week to the Texas Association of School Boards and the Texas Association of School Administrators, TMA and the Texas Pediatric Society (TPS) expressed reservations about some Texas school districts discontinuing virtual learning and requiring in-person instruction.  During a time of accelerating spread of COVID-19, physicians have misgivings about policies in which “[f]amilies who wish to continue virtually are notified their child will be disenrolled unless the child meets medical risk criteria to continue with virtual learning,” TMA and TPS wrote.  The letter, from TMA President Diana Fite, MD, and TPS President Seth Kaplan, MD, notes that school-age children can transmit the virus to high-risk household or community members, even if the children don’t experience severe symptoms themselves.  It also notes that disenrollment jeopardizes access to resources such as meals, special education, and mental health services, and students are unlikely to quarantine when exposed, or isolate when infected, if virtual learning isn’t an option.  TMA and TPS make three requests in the letter: read more arw

In a letter this week to the Texas Association of School Boards and the Texas Association of School Administrators, TMA and the Texas Pediatric Society (TPS) expressed reservations about some Texas school districts discontinuing virtual learning and requiring in-person instruction.  During a time of accelerating spread of COVID-19, physicians have misgivings about policies in which “[f]amilies who wish to continue virtually are notified their child will be disenrolled unless the child meets medical risk criteria to continue with virtual learning,” TMA and TPS wrote.  The letter, from TMA President Diana Fite, MD, and TPS President Seth Kaplan, MD, notes that school-age children can transmit the virus to high-risk household or community members, even if the children don’t experience severe symptoms themselves.  It also notes that disenrollment jeopardizes access to resources such as meals, special education, and mental health services, and students are unlikely to quarantine when exposed, or isolate when infected, if virtual learning isn’t an option.  TMA and TPS make three requests in the letter: read more arw

BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Bryan ISD is hoping future bonds will be less confusing on the ballot.  The bond in last week’s election passed by only 273 votes. While the bond won’t raise the tax rate, state law required the proposition to include the phrase, “This is a property tax increase.”  That had some voters choose no because of the wording. School leaders met with State Representatives John Raney and Kyle Kacal to see if the law can be addressed during the upcoming legislative session.  “We could really see by looking at the undervotes that this did have a very significant impact. In fact, if we were only talking about one or two percent of those undervotes, then there would not have been a question of it passing," said Mark McCall, Bryan ISD School Board President. view article arw

Patrick said he would spend a total of $1 million of his campaign funds as an incentive to people across the country to report voter fraud.  President Donald Trump has filed legal challenges in a number of states to contest the election results.  Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa said the Lt. Governor is wasting his time because the President lost the election.  “The overwhelming evidence shows that he lost the election. That’s what he should be worried about, by making sure that there is a there’s a transition between a new administration and the old administration whether or not Mr. Trump concedes,” Hinojosa said.  But Republican State Senator Bob Hall, District 2, supports the Lt. Governor’s announcement.  “If this helps put an end to fraudulent voting, I think it’s a great idea. Because somehow we have got to make sure that we have honest elections,” Sen. Hall said. view article arw

The 87th Texas Legislature won’t gavel in until January, but state lawmakers on Monday got their first chance to file legislation for what’s expected to be a particularly tough 140-day stretch at the Capitol next year.  By mid-afternoon Monday, the first day to pre-file legislation, more than 530 bills had already been filed in the House and Senate. Thousands of bills are expected to be filed throughout the legislative session, though only a fraction of them will make it through both chambers and end up on Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. view article arw

Cy-Fair ISD officials at a Nov. 5 meeting presented their priorities for the 87th Texas Legislature, which the board of trustees approved Nov. 9. The upcoming legislative session officially convenes in January, but state lawmakers began prefiling bills this week. Following the passing of House Bill 3 in the 86th Texas Legislature in 2019, the Texas House and Senate agreed to invest $11.6 billion in public school systems. This allowed CFISD to provide salary increases and launch full-day pre-K districtwide. view article arw

Greg Abbott and Dade Phelan share the same malady. Their mutual toothache’s name is Allen West, and he is the chair of the Republican Party of Texas.  The Republican governor of Texas and the Republican state representative who has claimed more than enough support to be the next speaker of the Texas House are West’s most prominent targets, drawing more personal and pointed attacks than the Democrats you might expect to find in his crosshairs. view article arw

Join The Texas Tribune at noon Central Nov. 9-13 as we sit down with lawmakers, local officials and residents of rural Texas communities to discuss the upcoming legislative session, the obstacles to rural education, the state of rural health care, the outlook for economic development, the shifting landscape for natural resources and the perpetual question of broadband access. view article arw

Greg Abbott and Dade Phelan share the same malady. Their mutual toothache’s name is Allen West, and he is the chair of the Republican Party of Texas.  The Republican governor of Texas and the Republican state representative who has claimed more than enough support to be the next speaker of the Texas House are West’s most prominent targets, drawing more personal and pointed attacks than the Democrats you might expect to find in his crosshairs. view article arw

After an election season unlike any other — one that saw dozens of lawsuits concerning voter access and a record 11.4 million Texans casting ballots — state legislators are preparing for a partisan battle over laws that govern early voting, absentee ballots and related matters during the upcoming legislative session.  Monday was the first day to pre-file bills for the 87th session, scheduled to begin Jan. 12. As of 1 p.m., more than 500 bills have been filed in both chambers so far — and thousands more are expected over the next several weeks. While just a small fraction of those bills will make it to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk, the influx of legislation gives an early hint at the priorities weighing on lawmakers’ minds this year, with dozens of bills addressing health care, racial injustice, abortion, redistricting and election law.    (10) view article arw

AUSTIN — State Rep. Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, appears to have a clear path to become the next speaker of the Texas House after Rep. Geanie Morrison of Victoria, his final GOP rival in the race, withdrew her candidacy Thursday and threw her support behind him.  Morrison withdrew from the race at a meeting of House Republicans in Austin on Thursday afternoon. The meeting was not an official GOP caucus event even though all Republican members were invited.    (09) view article arw

AUSTIN, Texas - Every school day, Leander ISD provides about 11,000 free meals; breakfast. and lunch. Drive-up locations like this one at Cedar Park Middle school help families with kids who are taking classes online.  A federal grant is keeping pantries stocked and the program running into the 2021 school year. view article arw

If you're going by the numbers of Republican and Democratic winners, nothing really happened in the general election in Texas this year. But there's a lot beneath the numbers.  In the 2020 general election, Texans voted to stay the course. The returns are still unofficial, but the overall effect is clear: The state’s congressional delegation will have the same mix of Republicans and Democrats next year as it has today. The Texas Senate will have one more Democrat than it has now, but Republicans still have the majority.  view article arw

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan earlier Wednesday ordered the agency to conduct two sweeps of processing facilities in the state for returned mail-in ballots that were postmarked by Tuesday. view article arw

Cushing ISD results released

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The Nacogdoches County Elections Office on Thursday released results of the Cushing ISD election after accounting for outstanding mail and military ballots. Garnering the most votes among Cushing’s ISD’s five candidates were Joseph  Owens with 679,  Bobby Brashears with 651 and David “Chuck” Gresham with 454.  Owens and Brashears were announced as presumptive winners late Tuesday, but the third seat was too close to call until outstanding ballots were taken into account. view article arw

In the light of day on Wednesday morning, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the whirlwind of Election Day largely missed Texas.  The partisan makeup of our state Senate and House of Representatives isn’t much different. Same with our congressional delegation. And the folks who’ve controlled state government for the last few years will continue to control it for at least another two. view article arw

For Republicans in Texas, Tuesday was a great night. Not only did they stymie Democrats’ efforts to flip the Texas House, but they did so with often wide margins.  Democrats managed to pick up only one Republican seat, while losing a Democratic seat, leaving them exactly where they have been for two years: nine short of a majority in the 150-member chamber.  “I'm just overjoyed by how successful our state Republicans were across the country last night,” said Austin Chambers, head of the Republican State Legislative Committee, in a call with reporters. “I believe that this is more impressive of a win for Republicans than 2010 was. Because this was a presidential cycle and we actually had an opponent this time around. In 2010, the Democrats did nothing, Republicans called them sleeping. This time, they spent over half a billion dollars and we beat the hell out of them.”    (06) view article arw

Democrats have said for years that Texas is a nonvoting state that could flip blue with massive voter turnout. But although the 2020 presidential election brought more turnout than Texas has seen in almost 30 years, no blue wave washed across the state.  “Texas has changed somewhat, but it hasn’t changed from its basic nature,” said longtime lobbyist Bill Miller. “The more people that vote, the more it will reflect” that. view article arw

AUSTIN — Beaumont Republican Dade Phelan announced Wednesday that he has enough support to be voted in by his colleagues as Texas House speaker.  The announcement came less than a day after an election in which Democrats’ plan to flip the chamber flopped and Republicans held onto their majority despite tough challenges.  Phelan, who was re-elected Tuesday for his fourth term, said 83 state representatives were backing his quest. view article arw

Texas Republicans used massive voter turnout gains in Houston and along the Texas border to squelch any chance Democrats had in turning Texas blue for the first time in 44 years.  Going into Tuesday’s elections, Democrats were on a mission to drive up victory margins in Houston, along Interstate 35, and along the Texas border. But what they didn’t count on was that Republicans and President Donald Trump would dramatically increase their vote totals in Houston and along the Texas border to assure Texas would not be able to flip even if Democrats dominated along the I-35 corridor, as they did. view article arw

Clear skies across Texas ushered voters to the polls for a historic Election Day on Tuesday, even as a political storm hovers at the close of an anxious, divisive presidential election unlike any other.  Masked up against a pandemic and determined to be a part of the record-breaking turnout in Texas and across the nation, voters lined up before dawn at schools and shopping malls and gigantic brand-new voting centers. view article arw

The city and the Texas General Land Office have agreed to a 30-day delay of the state’s takeover of Houston’s Harvey housing repair program while they iron out a new deal for the funds.  The GLO got federal approval last month to take over the roughly $1.3 billion in federal housing grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The deadline for the city to wind down its programs was Nov. 6. view article arw

This year proved another disappointment for Texas Democrats, who underperformed the high expectations they had set for themselves, particularly in a hotly contested battle for dominance in the Texas House. Some thought it might happen as early as 2014 — and then 2016, and, of course, in 2018.  When all those elections proved disappointing, Texas Democrats said 2020 would be the year, given record voter turnout, a once-in-a-century pandemic that grew out of control under Republican leadership and a highly controversial president.    (04) view article arw

Texas is playing host to a series of high-stakes contests up and down the ballot, from a presidential race that could be the state’s closest in a generation to the fight for the Texas House majority. view article arw

SAN BENITO — The city’s rival political factions are counting on a record turnout to draw winning votes in crowded city and school board elections that could change the balance of power on the city commission and school board.  In the city election, 11 candidates are running in four races, including a three-candidate scramble for the mayor’s gavel.  Meanwhile, five seats are up for grabs in the school election, in which 11 candidates are on the ballot. view article arw

During early voting in Texas, 9,718,648 people — 57.3% of registered voters — voted in person and by mail, surpassing the total number of votes cast in 2016. In 2016, 8,969,226 Texans cast a ballot in the general election. Texas has added 1.8 million registered voters since the 2016 election, and this year's overall percentage turnout is still below 2016's turnout of 59.4%.     view article arw

Report Shows Average Pay Raise Of $3,800 To $5,200 For Texas Teachers - Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Education Agency (TEA) today released a report showing significant pay raises for Texas teachers for the 2019-2020 academic year as a result of House Bill 3 (HB 3). Statewide, Texas teachers who have more than 5 years of experience received an average pay raise of over $5,200, while teachers who have been working up to five years received an average pay raise of more than $3,800. It is worth noting that the pay increases are averages of all teacher raises in Texas; individual raises vary. The pay raises are part of a $1.1 billion annual investment in additional compensation that started last year for Texas teachers, counselors, librarians, and school nurses.     view article arw

It's been an election season like no other. Brace yourself for a results process that lasts longer than in recent elections.  The presidential race in Texas looks more competitive than it has been in decades. More than 8 million Texans have already voted early. Many candidates will opt for social distancing instead of their normal results watch parties. And there's a decent chance we won't know many of the results by the time everyone goes to bed. If you're planning on watching the votes tick in, here are a few things to keep in mind.    (03) view article arw

Two days to go and the tension across America is high. Who will emerge victorious at the end of Tuesday’s Election Day? Will we even know before going to bed that night?  While the eyes of the nation — and, indeed, the world — are on the race for president, there are many important races further down the ballot here in Brazos County. In addition to races for city councils, school boards and numerous county offices, we have a critical Bryan school bond election and a number of proposed changes to Bryan’s city charter.  The Eagle’s Editorial Board interviewed the candidates in contested Brazos County races via Zoom and talked to Bryan school and city officials. Today, we recap our recommendations, in ballot order: view article arw

SAN BENITO — Residents like John Estrada helped drive a record early voting turnout in two of the city’s most hotly contested elections in decades.  On Tuesday, residents go to the polls to vote in crowded city and school board elections, each fielding 11 candidates.  During the extended, three-week early voting period, 4,401 residents cast ballots in the city election while 6,877 voted in the school board election as of Thursday night, Remi Garza, the county’s elections administrator, said.  “I think it’s safe to say they’ve never had this level of turnout,” he said. view article arw

Both Fort Bend ISD and the city of Sugar Land unanimously approved their legislative priorities for the upcoming 87th session of the Texas Legislature during their respective meetings Oct. 19 and Oct. 20.  State legislators are expected to meet in Austin from January through May for what many officials are calling an unprecedented session as the state faces revenue shortages and shifting priorities due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. view article arw