Spotlight Texas

Commentary: A Second Special Session Would Stir Up a Million Teachers
Commentary: A Second Special Session Would Stir Up a Million Teachers

The 85th Texas Legislature just completed a tumultuous special session, tasked by Gov. Greg Abbott to tackle 20 subjects not addressed to his liking during the regular session. The special session was an engineered opportunity for a legislative bonus round, necessitated after critical sunset legislation affecting medical licensure did not pass in May.

Media reported that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick worked with a handful of legislators at the end of the regular session to stonewall or take hostage those bills to advance his pet priorities — like private school vouchers and state regulations on bathroom usage — and demand a special session when the ransom wasn’t paid.

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Katy ISD Storm Shelters Full Monday Afternoon
Katy ISD Storm Shelters Full Monday Afternoon

Two Katy ISD schools that opened as shelters for flooding victims Monday have reached capacity, the district announced at 4:19 p.m.

Morton Ranch and Cinco Ranch high schools were opened at 7:30 a.m. and by the time of the alert, each had more than 1,000 people, according to district spokesperson Maria DiPetta. People still seeking shelter are encouraged to check the American Red Cross’ website as well as the #HarveyRelief online map.

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Legislature OKs $563 Million Bill for Retired Teachers, Schools
Legislature OKs $563 Million Bill for Retired Teachers, Schools

The Texas House reluctantly agreed on Tuesday to a $1.5 billion cut to one of its bills that would now inject $351 million into the public education system over the next two years.

"To say I'm disappointed is an understatement," said Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Houston, the author of House Bill 21. "The biggest disappointment that all of us have is that we were unable to find the middle ground that would make sense. But I know for a fact that the things that are in here have to be fixed."

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House Bill 22 Overview and Expected Timeline for Implementation
House Bill 22 Overview and Expected Timeline for Implementation

This correspondence is to provide you with a brief overview of House Bill (HB) 22 (85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017) and the expected timeline for implementation.

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Medicaid Overpaid Texas $18.9 million for School-Based Health Services, Seeks Refund
Medicaid Overpaid Texas $18.9 million for School-Based Health Services, Seeks Refund

Texas received $18.9 million from Medicaid for school-based health services that were billed improperly, and the federal government is seeking to get the money back.

The School Health and Related Services, or SHARS program, allows Texas school districts to request Medicaid reimbursement for providing medically necessary health services to qualified children, age 20 or younger, who have disabilities. Among other things, the services can include counseling, physical and speech therapy, transportation and nursing.
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School Finance Deal Still Possible as Clock Ticks on Texas Legislature Special Session
School Finance Deal Still Possible as Clock Ticks on Texas Legislature Special Session

The broad outlines of a possible deal on school finance, despite deep mistrust between the two chambers, surfaced Wednesday after the Legislature's two panels with jurisdiction over public schools showed a bit of respect for one another.

The clock is ticking, and many stumbling blocks lie ahead.

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Senate Education Chair: House School Finance Plan "Not a Long-Term Solution"
Senate Education Chair: House School Finance Plan "Not a Long-Term Solution"

The Texas Senate's education chairman said Tuesday that he would not accept a House proposal to put $1.8 billion into public schools.

During a Senate Republican Caucus news conference, Sen. Larry Taylor touted his plan to create a commission to study the school finance system over the House's plan to reform it by adding more funding. The House gave final approval to that proposal, House Bill 21, on Monday.
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HISD Trustees To Meet With State Officials, Vow To Avoid School Closures
HISD Trustees To Meet With State Officials, Vow To Avoid School Closures

State officials are heading to HISD headquarters Thursday to discuss plans to improve the district’s chronically failing schools – or face a state take-over of the board.

As News 88.7 first reported this week, the Houston Independent School District is at risk of a state take-over as soon as next year.

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With Retired Teachers' Health Care at Stake, Legislators Clash On Fixes
With Retired Teachers' Health Care at Stake, Legislators Clash On Fixes

When David Hatcher got a blood test at his oncologist's office two summers ago, the doctor spelled out his results decisively: "The bad news is you've got leukemia. The good news: It's the kind we can treat with a pill."

A retired public school history teacher, Hatcher might soon be unable to afford the tablets that keep his chronic myeloid leukemia in check - his health care costs are set to rise, whether or not the Texas Legislature can agree in the next two weeks on a temporary fix for the retired teachers' health insurance plan.
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Keller School Becomes First 'Storm Ready' Campus in Texas
Keller School Becomes First 'Storm Ready' Campus in Texas

A North Texas high school has been declared the first and so far only ‘storm ready’ school in the state.

But Keller's Timber Creek High School did not have to make any renovations to earn the title.

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