TTIA Legislative Update 
September 1, 2016

 

 























 

 

As Texas students return to school, TTIA reminds its members of the economic benefits of continuing to maintain the 4th Monday in August School Start Date. TTIA has been fighting this issue on behalf of its member for more than 10 years; yet again, there is confirmation a number of bills will be filed this coming session to undue this hard fought win.
 
TTIA anticipates education groups will continue to try to convince legislators to change current law and/or seek exemptions or waivers from the law under the guise that the law takes away local control, especially in terms of setting a school year calendar. There could also be efforts to extend the school year well beyond Memorial Day, perhaps as much as two or more weeks into June, effectively negating the three additional weeks gained as a result of the current fourth Monday in August start date law. Consequently, TTIA members must be aware that there could be an effort among certain legislators to brand the school start date law as an unreasonable regulation placed upon school districts.
 
TTIA reminds its members this issue requires perpetual vigilance as illustrated during the 84th Legislative Session, where 10 separate bills (four Senate bills, six House bills) were filed to eliminate or modify the 4th Monday school start date law.
 
Because of advocacy and grassroots efforts, a House bill was rewritten to exclude a referendum on the school start date and an attempt, late in the session, to amend a House bill to include a waiver to the school start date was defeated on the Senate floor - 5 Senators, including the Chairman of the Senate Education committee, stood to oppose the measure.
 
In 2016, the start date was August 22nd.  In 2017, the start date will be August 28th. The law, which took effect with the beginning of the 2007-2008 school year, restored approximately three weeks to the summer vacation period that had been lost when many schools were starting their school years earlier and earlier, some as early as the first week in August.
 
In addition to restoring a more traditional, family summer vacation period, research* conducted by noted economist Dr. Ray Perryman shows, should the school start date be moved up, even by one week, the impacts to Texas' economy will be devastating and result in a loss of:

  • 5,872 permanent jobs
  • $42 million in state tax revenues
  • $16.3 million in local tax revenues
  • $805 million in total expenditures
  • $432 million in gross state product
  • $261 million in personal income

TTIA has built a strong coalition of partner associations and groups that will continue to work to preserve the current school start date law.
 
Education finance, education reform and overall government efficiency will clearly be policy issues the 85th Texas Legislature will consider. TTIA members must ensure that their legislators understand the tremendous economic benefits the current law provides. Additionally, we must help legislators understand the law has saved the state millions of dollars in tax revenues by reducing expensive utility and other non-instructional costs while also generating additional millions of dollars in tax revenues that can be used to help fund public education and other state government services in Texas.
 
* The Perryman Group Report: The Impact of Earlier Public School Start Dates on Business Activity in Texas and Local Areas within the State, February 2013.
If you have questions about any of the information contained in this TTIA Legislative Update, please contact Homero Lucero, Sr. VP, Government Relations at homerol@ttia.org or 512-328-8842 x104.