$11.2 billion in federal funds released to Texas schools

After months of intense pressure from TCTA and other education groups, public education supporters and Texas legislators at the state and federal level, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Wednesday that Texas would release $11.2 billion in new federal funds to help schools address student learning loss and costs incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

TEA said the funds will be provided to local school districts through grant applications beginning today. The funds will be supplemental to all other funding sources and will not be supplanted at the state level. TCTA will continue to urge that the remaining funds be released as quickly as possible. Click here to read more and find out how much your district should get.
Budget bill, TRS Sunset bill, and others on the move

The culling of bills has begun, as House committees wind down their activity on House bills and will begin to focus on legislation coming over from the Senate. Items of interest seeing action this week include the budget and the TRS Sunset bill. Click here to read more.

Points of order and related parliamentary issues have plagued the House this session. Tuesday, the House Public Education Committee was a victim, as the committee inadvertently began the second part of its hearing while the House was in session, which is prohibited under the House rules. This delayed the hearing on a controversial charter school bill (SB 28) that the education community has been concerned about. Click here to read more.
Mark your calendar and join us Saturday, May 22

We hope you can join us at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 22, for the next Saturday Spotlight on Zoom. Persie Ngo-Hatchie, TCTA's director of membership, will talk about spring sign-ups, summer training opportunities and plans for recruiting in the fall. Local affiliate officers, faculty representatives and members interested in getting more involved in recruiting colleagues to TCTA are encouraged to attend this free, hourlong session, which will include time for questions. Click here to register and get the Zoom link.
USDE touts progress on reopening schools nationwide

As President Joe Biden marked his first 100 days in office this week, the U.S. Department of Education released an update on progress made so far to reopen schools nationwide and meet student needs.

In other pandemic-related news this week:
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a new effort to feed children this summer by extending the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program. Families that qualify for free or reduced lunch will be eligible for additional P-EBT funds.
  • Are you fully vaccinated against COVID-19? The CDC released updated guidance this week on what activities are safe to do beginning two weeks after receiving your final shot.
Thank you for everything you do for students!

It's been a tough year, so we're extra grateful for our members and all educators who give so much of themselves every day to help students learn and grow.

Teacher Appreciation Week is May 2-8 and #TeachersCan is celebrating in a big way, partnering with DonorsChoose and other partners, including TCTA, to help Texas teachers get items for their classrooms. Up to $1.5 million will be matched. Click here to learn more or support a project.

H-E-B has been on a tour of Texas schools for the past few weeks, giving away prizes as it marks 20 years of its Excellence in Education program. Register now at texaslovesteachers.com for your chance to win a share of $100,000 being given away May 8 during H-E-B's Virtual Tribute to Teachers.

Also check out these places that thank teachers every day with discounts and watch our Facebook page and Twitter feed next week for more offers.
School board seats, bond elections on ballot Saturday

If your school district has board seats and/or bond issues up for election May 1 and you didn't cast a ballot during early voting, make a plan to vote Saturday. Check with your county elections office or local newspaper or TV station to see what's on the ballot and find your polling place. 
Voting ends Wednesday for active employee TRS seat

Voting ends Wednesday (May 5) in the election for the Public School District Employee position on the TRS Board of Trustees. If you haven't voted yet, click here for instructions.
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