Texas To Provide Schools A “Hold Harmless” For Declines In Attendance


JR Irvin Elementary college Midlothian, TX Photograph by Kristin Barclay

Funding is being supplied to help faculties for the rest of the 2020-2021 tutorial 12 months

AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas Training Company (TEA) introduced immediately that the State of Texas will present a “maintain innocent” to Texas college techniques for the remainder of the 2020-2021 tutorial college 12 months solely. This implies funding can be made obtainable to high school techniques in Texas which have seen enrollment and attendance declines due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so long as they preserve or enhance present ranges of on-campus attendance.

Districts can be funded on attendance in keeping with projections made previous to the general public well being disaster. This can make sure that college techniques in Texas can retain their academics for the 2020-21 college 12 months for whom they initially budgeted. This last semester of maintain innocent means districts have been held innocent for 3 consecutive semesters — Spring Semester of the 2019-20 tutorial 12 months and the whole lot of the 2020-21 tutorial 12 months.

“As extra districts return to in-person instruction, we’re guaranteeing that faculties aren’t financially penalized for declines in attendance because of COVID-19,” mentioned Governor Abbott. “Offering a maintain innocent for the rest of the 2020-2021 college 12 months is a vital a part of our state’s dedication to supporting our faculty techniques and academics and getting extra college students again within the classroom.”

College students Again In The Classroom

“My objective is to get all of our college students again within the classroom and this maintain innocent funding will guarantee our public faculties can full the varsity 12 months and proceed to carry college students again to campuses for in-person studying. As all the time, we’re grateful to these academics throughout the state who’ve labored tirelessly throughout the pandemic to maintain our college students on monitor,” mentioned Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick.

“The State of Texas is dedicated to getting extra college students again into the classroom for in-person instruction and absolutely funding our faculties – regardless of challenges that occurred on account of COVID-19. I absolutely help the choice to supply mandatory funding and preserve our dedication to Texas faculties,” mentioned Speaker Dade Phelan.

“The legislature was already devoted to fulfilling the commitments made in Home Invoice 3 from final session. The monetary stability supplied by this maintain innocent will additional help our faculties of their efforts to assist our college students meet the challenges introduced on by COVID-19,” mentioned Senator Larry Taylor.

“It will be an understatement to say that Texas households have been negatively affected by the COVID surroundings. And maybe these most affected have been our public school college students who’ve needed to educate remotely or under no circumstances. Texas ought to do every thing doable to get these college students again to high school however college districts should not be penalized financially for the absence of those college students. That’s the reason this maintain innocent provision is a monetary should for Texas college districts,” mentioned Consultant Harold Dutton.

However, Is There a Catch?

Texas State Lecturers Affiliation President Ovidia Molina launched the next assertion:

We imagine the hold-harmless resolution issued by Gov. Greg Abbott and different state leaders might be a optimistic step in funding for our public faculties, however there could also be a catch. For districts to obtain full funding for the rest of the spring semester, no matter attendance losses, they must “preserve or enhance present ranges of on-campus attendance.”

What if there’s a spike in COVID-19 circumstances after spring break or due to Gov. Abbott’s resolution to finish the masks mandate and calm down different security requirements? Districts that would lose on-campus attendance to on-line studying as a result of their communities grow to be COVID hotspots shouldn’t be penalized for attendance losses both.

The hold-harmless provision should apply to all college districts for the rest of the spring semester. Lecturers and different college staff in all our districts have carried out heroically throughout the pandemic, typically in danger to their very own well being, and want all of the assets the state can present. Texas voters agree.

In a latest bipartisan ballot commissioned by TSTA, a majority of seemingly Texas voters (59 p.c) mentioned public faculties want extra funding, not cuts.

All TX Lecturers & Employees Now Eligible for COVID vaccine

Knowledge has proven all through the COVID-19 pandemic that faculties are secure. College techniques in Texas should observe public well being steering issued by TEA. Based mostly on this steering, school districts are broadly using a variety of measures together with masks, screening practices, enhancements in air flow, the usage of fast COVID-19 assessments, and improved hygiene procedures. Moreover, all Texas academics and faculty employees at the moment are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Texas.

In regular instances, faculties are funded primarily based on the scholars enrolled and the every day attendance on campus. This 12 months, TEA prioritized flexibility to make sure important funding help for varsity techniques. They supplied full funding primarily based on every day attendance, whether or not the attendance was in-person or distant. The maintain innocent allocates funding above the statutory assured degree of funding for college kids who aren’t enrolled, or for college kids who attend (even when remotely) much less ceaselessly. For the present second semester, it’s being supplied so long as on-campus attendance participation charges don’t decline or these charges in any other case stay excessive (at the least 80 p.c).

TEA has revealed on its Coronavirus useful resource web site paperwork that be aware the baseline on-campus attendance participation charges of each Texas college system within the fall of 2020.

Extra particulars on the specifics of the maintain innocent calculation might be present in TEA’s Attendance and Enrollment Funding FAQ.

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