School board members from some Parker County districts participated in a legislative update training Monday evening at Weatherford ISD’s Bowie Learning Center.
The training is a requirement for board members after a legislative session occurs, Education Service Center Region 11 field service agent and board trainer Dale Latham said. Latham presented to board members an overview of bills that are expected to impact educational law.
Weatherford, Peaster, Garner and Millsap ISDs attended the training Monday, Latham said. Board members from other districts told Latham that they got their training during the Texas Association of School Boards or Texas Association of School Administrators conferences.
House Bill 3 was discussed during the meeting, which is the school finance reform legislation. Because of the law, school districts were able to reduce maintenance and operations tax rates and give compensation raises to teachers, nurses, librarians, counselors and other staff.
“It’s an ominous bill that had multiple parts to it that are not only impacting school funding but also providing extra monies for early literacy, proficiency plans, early math proficiency plans and also addressing college, career and military readiness indicators for our kids,” Latham said.
Texas Education Agency and school districts are still deciphering what the new law means and what it could evolve into, Weatherford ISD Board President Mike Guest said, and research on this will probably need to continue.
“All we can do is take the information we’re given to date and just base everything on that going forward,” Guest said. “I’ve heard negative and positive. There’s a lot of individuals in Austin that are saying that there’s no way to sustain that. I can’t tell you if that’s true or not and how they would be able to sustain it, but the information we have right now is all in the positive about how we can give the raises and reduce the tax rate.”
In light of other new school legislation, Guest also praised WISD for its forward approach on career readiness and safety initiatives.
Garner ISD board president Clay Youngblood said there is uncertainty about how HB 3 will be funded by the legislature in the future.
Youngblood also pointed out the unity on school finance reform from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen.
Youngblood said the training is helpful in breaking down the legislative changes for school boards.
“Without that training, we would absolutely be in the dark,” Youngblood said. “It would be a monumental task to try to interpret all of that stuff in the time it needs to be.”