With the clock ticking on the 87th Legislative Session, Frisco ISD is appealing to state lawmakers to move forward on a bill that would enable the District to continue to offer families the choice of virtual learning.
The District wrote a letter, co-signed by 45 school districts and education organizations from across the state, asking leaders of the Texas Senate to advance legislation that would expand online learning in Texas and provide full funding to districts that choose to make these opportunities available to students.
“There are thousands of students across the state of Texas who thrive in a virtual environment and we have an obligation to ensure that they receive the best education possible by providing them with the choice to receive their learning virtually,” Frisco ISD wrote in the joint letter sent May 14 to Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, Senate Education Committee Chairman Larry Taylor and other members of the Senate Education Committee.
With the last day of the session looming on May 31, lawmakers must advance legislation in the next week in order to provide adequate time for a bill to work its way through the remainder of the legislative process. Both chambers of the Legislature, the House and Senate, have to pass the same version of a bill before it can be signed into law by the Governor. Leaders with the Texas Education Agency have said that without legislative action, the governing agency will not permit school districts to offer virtual learning in the 2021-22 school year as it did during the 2020-21 school year.
One point of contention among lawmakers has been the question of whether school districts should be able to serve students virtually who live outside of their physical attendance boundaries. Frisco ISD intends to serve FISD students through its planned Virtual School, which could be derailed if legislators do not move legislation forward in the coming days.
“While some school districts would possibly take advantage of the ability to open their programs statewide if that provision was included, many have no plans to do so,” the letter stated. “Please do not let thousands of students miss out on an opportunity to engage with their education in the way that is most effective for them.”
Frisco ISD was already working to expand online and blended learning opportunities to students prior to the pandemic. If the Legislature is not able to agree on a bill this session related to online learning, the full scope of virtual offerings FISD has planned for the 2021-22 school year may not be possible.
The District is not alone in hoping for increased flexibility from the Legislature to meet the needs of students who thrive in an online environment and prefer to learn virtually for a variety of reasons. Districts and education organizations who co-signed the letter include:
Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD
Cedar Hill ISD
Clear Creek ISD
Corpus Christi ISD
Fort Worth ISD
Galena Park ISD
Goose Creek Consolidated ISD
Grand Prairie ISD
Lake Worth ISD
La Porte ISD
San Antonio ISD
North Texas Commission
Texas Computer Education Association
Texas School Coalition
Read the full text of the letter.
Contact State Lawmakers
Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick
Presides Over the Texas Senate
Send an Email
Texas Senate Education Committee
First Considers Senate Bills Affecting Texas Schools
Chairman Larry Taylor
A full list of members who serve on the Senate Education Committee is available online, as well as individual contact information for each member.
Sen. Angela Paxton
Represents Frisco ISD in Collin County
Send an Email
Sen. Jane Nelson
Represents Frisco ISD in Denton County
Send an Email
Contact information for Frisco ISD’s House delegation is available here on the District website.