Renew your membership today!
TASA’s online Member Services Center is the place to go to become a member of TALAS. Please read these step-by-step directions or contact Debbie O’Donnell at 512.852.2108.
Texas News
Mesquite ISD principal named finalist for H-E-B Excellence in Education Award
Mesquite ISD Shaw Elementary School Principal Kim Bañuelos was surprised Wednesday morning when she received a special visit from the Mesquite ISD superintendent Angel Rivera and H-E-B staff.

Among 50 educators, she was recognized as one of five finalists statewide for the H-E-B Excellence in Education Award.

“I didn’t know I was listed as a finalist until a complete shock and surprise yesterday,” Bañuelos said. “H-E-B had been working with my secretary, my assistant principal and my immediate supervisor to plan the surprise.”

TASB Legislative Report – March 23, 2023
Senate passes property tax bills: The Texas Senate on Wednesday passed two bills designed to reduce Texans’ property tax bills. Senators had a robust discussion on the bills and unanimously passed the legislation. Some legislators did raise the concern that compressing school tax rates and increasing homestead exemptions places more pressure on the state to maintain the same level of funding if the state economy experiences a downturn. In their discussion, senators also noted that increasing the state share of public education after compression helps to lower district recapture payments. 

Dallas ISD expands recruitment efforts to Panama
Dallas ISD continues to be a trailblazer in the field of international recruiting and recently visited Panama City, Panama, to find outstanding bilingual educators to lead district classrooms.

“This was a way to expand the district’s international recruiting efforts, given the current teacher shortage, specifically in the areas of bilingual and special education,” said Rafael Fontalvo, director of the Staffing Department, whose efforts and connections were recently featured in a local story.

Austin Democrat introduces bill that would change the way public schools are funded in Texas
Funding would be based on enrollment instead of attendance.

State Representative Gina Hinojosa wants to change the way public schools are funded in Texas, calling the old system “archaic.”

The Democrat from Austin says her bill, HB 31, would base funding on total enrollment, not attendance, and would help all students.

A ‘Dark Vision’ of Discipline: Zero Tolerance Makes a Comeback
Texas is already expelling more at-risk students and the Texas Legislature may make things worse.

Improving school safety is a top priority in Texas during this legislative session after last year’s deadly school shooting in Uvalde. But instead of making guns less accessible to children, for some GOP legislators the solution to ensuring school safety means tossing out any at-risk students, deemed to be disruptive or aggressive. 

“Not all kids belong in the classroom anymore,” state Senator Charles Perry said during last December’s hearings of the Special Senate Committee to Protect All Texans, the group tasked with investigating and proposing measures to improve school safety. 

Affiliate Feature
The El Paso Texas Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents is an educational organization that Empowers advocates in El Paso del Norte by building capacity in educational leaders that will impact all students in the region.

TALAS El Paso, empowering advocates in El Paso del Norte by building capacity in educational leaders that will impact all students in the region
Looking for a new opportunity?
Leadership opportunities available:
Take a look at who’s hiring:
National News
GOP Parents Rights Bill Passes House, But Faces Likely ‘Dead End’ in Senate
Even if it’s defeated, the measure is expected to be a cornerstone of the Republican agenda heading into the 2024 elections

The GOP-led House on Friday passed a bill that would force schools to offer parents far greater transparency about what their children learn, but that Democrats argue could lead to book bans and discrimination against LGBTQ students.  

The Parents Bill of Rights passed 213 to 208, with five Republicans voting against it. 

How Can Schools Help Students Process Racial Trauma? A New Program Provides Answers
For the last few years, East Palo Alto Academy in California faced an issue with hate speech: specifically, non-Black students using the n-word.

The high school, with ties to neighboring Stanford University, has a student body that is about 85 percent Latinx, 6 percent African American or Black, and the remainder Polynesian, or Pacific Islander. The school’s administrators are adamant about making sure no student feels marginalized on campus, so when members of the Black student union expressed concerns about whether the school’s policies were addressing the use of hate speech, Principal Amika Guillaume decided to act.

How the wealthiest families are taking advantage of school vouchers
States and some affluent taxpayers appear to be diverting ever more funds from public schools to private institutions.

It’s all about voucher tax credits—and families with incomes over $200,000 are snapping them up in the name of school choice.

Voucher tax credits—available in at least 21 states—reimburse individuals for “donations” made to organizations that hand out vouchers for free or reduced tuition at private schools, many of which are operated by religious organizations. Never-before-published data reveals that the wealthiest families are claiming most of these voucher credits in three states that shared data, according to a study by Carl Davis, research director at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

3 Ways To Support A Sense Of Belonging For Students
The concept of belonging is a critical but often overlooked part of student success.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, colleges and universities have put a welcome focus on students. Whether they’re called Learners First or Students First, these concepts help institutions be more attuned to the needs of their learners.

While the meaning of the concepts themselves might seem obvious, the mere existence of these initiatives demonstrates the work needed across the postsecondary landscape. It starts with listening to students — to understand why busy adult learners take the time to further their education and learn what is or is not working.

A surprising remedy for teens in mental health crises
The provider shortage is real, but teens can be empowered to step up for each other

Last spring, Jamie Gorman had a panic attack at the mall.

The then-high school sophomore was with a group of friends at Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey, when she began to feel overwhelmed. Her fingers were tingling. She couldn’t catch her breath. She felt shaky and dizzy.

Her teenage friends sprang into action.

Las Tienditas
This Week’s Featured Sponsor
TALAS sponsors make this newsletter and other TALAS activities possible. Please support them. Click on the logo to learn more!
Day in and day out, we work hand-in-hand with school administrators, staff, and communities to meet the goals of their bond programs by creating quality learning environments that best prepare their students for the 21st century workforce. Our program and project managers bring decades of experience managing and planning K-12 bond programs of all sizes using technical processes and procedures designed for every project phase — from project conception to completion. Complete, turn-key program management services put you in good hands and free you to concentrate on what you do best — educating your students.