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2007 Texas Legislative Priorities/Education (April, 2007)

Frisco ISD – As our constituents watch this legislative session, we want them to know that from the perspective of their local ISD, the following are issues we as a district are following and are priorities for our attention in speaking with our representatives and senators.

Vouchers – We must continue to adamantly oppose private school vouchers which would take public tax dollars from public schools and divert them to schools that do not have the same requirements or accountability as those of public schools. Public schools will continue to serve all students who walk through the door. There are not enough funds at this time to meet the challenges faced in Texas schools without this type of effort to diminish those funds even further.  

End of Course Tests – We are supportive of end-of-course tests for the core courses that our high school students are taking as a substitute for the current exit-level TAKS test. It makes some sense to test high school students on what they have learned in a course at the end of the course, rather than trying to test them on knowledge gained over time as the Exit-Level does. We would not support having both End-of-course exams and TAKS – our students are already tested too much.

4x4 Curriculum – Although we support the commitment to provide four years of instruction in all four core content areas, individual districts must have flexibility in how they accomplish this requirement. Not all students need or want to take Calculus and Physics.  A variety of math and science courses must be allowed to be offered to fill this requirement so that we can continue to challenge students, but not at the risk of discouraging some of our students who do not plan to go to a four-year university.

New Instructional Facilities Allotment – We support an increase in the eligibility cap (debt service tax rate limit) and in the per student allotment of these funds that are intended to help districts who open multiple schools annually with the operating costs associated with this rapid growth. The start-up costs for opening new buildings puts a strain on the maintenance and operations area of the budget. Tax reductions have benefited taxpayers in the state, but taxpayers in fast growth districts are not seeing the same relief due to the increasing needs of meeting growth. An increased allotment, along with modifications to the funding formulas should address some of our concerns, for example fast growth districts should be permitted to take advantage of some of the growth in our tax base in order to help with the demands on our maintenance and operations funding.

Enrichment Tax Rate – We support the elimination of the requirements for voter approval of enrichment tax rates.
Online Course Funding – We support the provision of funding to local school districts on a per student basis for successful completion of online courses taken outside of the regularly scheduled school day.  This will be a crucial option for students looking to complete the required 26 credits for the recommended graduation plan while continuing to participate in fine arts, career education and athletic programs.