/CMSApp/TTV/media/LegacyTTVBlogImages/blog-post-default.jpg /CMSApp/TTV/media/LegacyTTVBlogImages/blog-post-default.jpg

A brief rundown of the 83rd legislative session

Teach the Vote
Teach the Vote

Date Posted: 5/28/2013 | Author: Jennifer Mitchell, CAE

Although the 83rd legislative session officially came to a close yesterday, legislators didn’t get a true Memorial Day vacation, as a special session on redistricting was called for before the day was out. We’ll continue to monitor and post on the happenings of the special session, but for now, here’s a look at how some of the big items ended up at the end of the regular session. Senate Bill (SB) 1 and other budget bills

  • Overall appropriation of $3.93 billion to public education.
  • Restores $3.4 billion in school district formula funding (about $230 per student in the first year of the next biennium and $300 in the second year).
  • Restores about $200 million to various programs, including pre-K and the Student Success initiative, but leaves all grant program underfunded.
  • Adds a new $330 million funding stream to districts to cover the new 1.5 percent districts must contribute to the Teacher Retirement System (TRS).
SB 2 on charter schools
  • Expands charter school cap to allow for 15 new charters each year until 2019, ending at a total cap of 305.
  • Exempts dropout recovery, special education and home-rule district charters from the cap.
  • Allows districts to place up to 15 percent of students and/or one full feeder pattern into district-run charter schools. These campuses/districts are exempt from many state quality standards such as class size limits, teacher certification, disciplinary laws, teacher contracts, etc., unless the school board votes to maintain these standards.
  • Moves most charter regulation from the State Board of Education to the commissioner of education (who heads the Teacher Education Agency (TEA)).
SB 1458 on TRS
  • Secures the defined benefit pension system into the future.
  • Provides around two-thirds of retirees who retired in 2004 or before with a 3 percent COLA, capped at $100 per month.
  • Restricts age 62 requirement for full benefits to those with less than five years of service credit after Aug. 31, 2014.
  • Requires retirees to be age 62 to receive access to top tiers of TRS-Care insurance; exempts anyone with 25 years of service or who meets the rule of 70 by Aug. 31, 2014.
  • Increases the state contribution of 6.8 percent.
  • Creates a new district contribution of 1.5 percent.
  • Increases the active-member contribution to 7.7 percent by 2017.
  • Ties future decreases in state contribution to proportional decreases in district and active-member contribution.
Vouchers No private school voucher bills were passed during the regular session, although Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is asking the governor to put them on the call for the special session. Virtual vouchers were defeated, but private, for-profit corporations won the right to provide virtual courses through the state Virtual School Network (VSN).We also expect to see further efforts by the corporate lobby to weaken public school quality standards and privatize portions of public education through parent trigger laws, recovery school districts, special education vouchers and other mechanisms. Sen. Tommy Williams (R–The Woodlands) has already filed a bill this special session for special education vouchers. Stay tuned for more on testing and other bills.    


Thank you for submitting your comment.
Oops, an unexpected error occurred! Please refresh the page and try again.