Now that the legislative session has ended, eUpdate will return to its bimonthly schedule, next publishing on Thursday, June 17. Between editions, watch for news updates on our website and social media pages. Have a great summer!
Session ends with priority bills left pending, at least one special session ahead

The 87th session of the Texas Legislature ended Monday, after an eventful weekend culminating in House Democrats walking out Sunday to break a quorum and preclude voting on a controversial elections bill. SB 7 was one of Gov. Greg Abbott’s top priorities and had caused wide-scale partisan disagreement throughout the session.

A fall special session to address redistricting is expected, and Abbott has already indicated lawmakers will also consider how federal COVID-relief funds should be spent during that session. We don’t yet know whether the fall special session will be expanded to include voting issues, bail reform, how transgender students participate in sports, virtual learning post-COVID and any other legislation that did not pass during the regular session, or whether Abbott will call a separate special session this summer. Click here to read more.

For now, we have compiled summaries of the education-related bills that were approved by the House and Senate and sent to the governor, who has yet to sign or veto most of the legislation. Click here to read the summaries.
Don't miss our legislative wrapup June 19 on Zoom

We hope you can join members of TCTA's top-ranked teacher lobby team for a wrapup of the 87th session of the Texas Legislature at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 19. They'll go over key education legislation that passed and explain what it means for your classrooms in the coming year. They'll also save time for your questions. Click here to register and get the Zoom link and password.
TRS Board approves higher ActiveCare rates for 2021-22

The TRS Board of Directors met in a special meeting today to approve new ActiveCare premium rates and plan changes. ActiveCare rates will increase an average of 6.2%, with the Primary+ plan premiums rising by 5.5% and Primary, high-deductible (HD) and ActiveCare 2 premiums by 8%. Only the HD plan will see changes in benefits. Open enrollment for the upcoming school year is July 12-Aug. 23. Click here to see the new ActiveCare rates and read more.
TEA releasing $5.5 billion in federal COVID relief funds

Beginning Friday, eligible public school districts and open-enrollment charter schools in Texas may apply to TEA to receive their allocation of the $5.5 billion appropriated to Texas for public education purposes under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief II Fund. Funds are being provided as federal grants to eligible districts. School systems should use these new funds for allowable activities to respond to the pandemic and to address student learning loss as a result of COVID-19. Click here to read more.

With hurricane season underway, TEA also reminded districts this week to review emergency procedures and make sure plans are in place to help keep students and staff safe if a storm strikes. Click here to read more.
TCTA's 2021-22 Executive Board takes office

Please join us welcoming the 2021-22 Executive Board and Directors' Council. Sherry Miller of Killeen is now state president and Twila Read of Grand Prairie is immediate past president. We thank Twila for her leadership during the past year and look forward to the year ahead with Sherry at the helm.

Also serving on the Executive Board this year are:
  • Eleanore Malone of Tyler as president-elect
  • Melody Young of Sherman as Budget chair
  • Joyce McCurdy of Wichita Falls as Curriculum & Instruction chair
  • Jennifer Hutchinson of Hays Consolidated as Governance chair
  • Cristal Isaacks of Levelland as Legislation chair
  • Debra Helbert of Lamar Consolidated as Membership chair
  • Sharron Wood of Little Cypress-Mauriceville as Professional Rights & Responsibilities chair
  • Nydia Alvarez-Alonzo of Mission as Teacher Personal Services chair

We also look forward to working with this year's Directors' Council members:
  • Director-at-Large: Ruben Chavez of Edcouch Elsa
  • Director-at-Large: Stephanie Granado of McAllen
  • District 1: Carmen Garza of Pharr San Juan Alamo
  • District 3: James Garcia of Victoria
  • District 4: Dawn Hopkins of Lamar Consolidated
  • District 9: Holly Lucas of Wichita Falls
  • District 10: Melanie Love of Pottsboro
  • District 13: Natalie Tatsch of Gonzalez
  • District 14: Tommy Evans of Abilene
  • District 15: Brec Espinoza of Brownwood
  • District 16: Christina Johnson of Amarillo
  • District 17: Sandi Hansen of Lubbock
  • District 18: Terrill Littlejohn of Midland
  • District 19: Scott Berkenpas of Socorro
  • District 20: Vivian Burleson of Northside
Dallas ISD teachers file grievance over appraisals

Several teachers in Dallas ISD filed a grievance regarding their appraisal. The district denied the grievances, claiming that they had not been filed in time, according to the district's grievance procedure. The teachers appealed that decision and the case was ultimately considered by the Texas Supreme Court, which held that although it would not rule on the teacher's arguments regarding their appraisal, the grievances had been filed in a timely manner and should be considered by the commissioner. Click here to read more. 
New legislation gives seniors who failed STAAR a chance to graduate with IGC approval

Seniors who struggled with STAAR end-of-course exams could still graduate with the Class of 2021. House Bill 999, which went into effect on May 31, establishes that students in grade 12 in the 2020-21 school year are eligible to graduate via an individual graduation committee decision regardless of the number of STAAR end-of-course exams on which a student has failed to perform satisfactorily. Click here to read more about the requirements from TEA.
Renew your membership and relax this summer!

Renew your membership for the 2021-22 school year and relax this summer, knowing your coverage will continue in the fall. You can also encourage your colleagues to join TCTA, though their legal coverage won't begin until Aug. 1, 2021, or the date they join, whichever is later. For every two eligible members you recruit, you can earn $25 through our Take 2/Make $25 program.
TEA plans summer workshop series on high-impact tutoring

School districts wanting to participate in TEA's high-impact tutoring implementation workshop series this summer must apply by June 7. The training will entail a mix of synchronous and asynchronous support with a cohort of other school districts to provide opportunities to network with and learn from others establishing strong tutoring programs for this fall.
  • June 15 is the deadline for first-year teachers to complete TEA's survey.
  • June 20 is Father's Day.
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