SINE DIE EDITION
The 87th Texas Legislative Session was unlike any other. It began in the midst of a global pandemic and ended with a showdown between Republicans and Democrats in the House. In between, bills concerning public charters were proposed, debated, and passed. The YES Prep team was in continual contact with our Houston-area lawmakers to ensure that the needs of our students and families were well represented. A huge thank you to everyone who engaged throughout session to make sure charter needs were heard!
Public Education Fully Funded
In a session when lawmakers had every excuse to cut funding for public schools, Texas legislators stuck to their word. Public schools, including public charters, were fully funded for the biennium. This includes all the reforms enacted last session through HB 3. We are so grateful for our lawmakers’ unwavering commitment to public education!
Charter Access to State Grant Programs
With the passing of Senate Bill 346, public charter schools gained access to the Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) grant program, which provides funding for public schools to purchase equipment for use in career and technical education classes. This legislation ensures that all Texas public schools have access to these funds and that all public school students have access to the opportunities the funds provide.
Property Tax Parity for All Schools
HB 3610 ensures that charter schools and ISDs are treated the same when it comes to property taxes. Before this bill, public charter schools had to use state-allocated funds (an estimated 12 million dollars in total!) to pay local property taxes on leased school buildings, even though ISDs and private schools are exempt from these taxes. With this change, public charters can spend put those funds back where they belong—in the classroom!
A Good Defense
Sometimes the bills that don’t pass are just as important as those that do. This session, bills were filed that would have prevented new charters from being established, stopped the growth of existing charters like YES Prep, or wrapped our schools in endless red tape. Thankfully, with the help of the advocacy efforts of our statewide charter community, no anti-charter bills passed this session!
Dozens of other bills were passed this session that affect schools, educators, and students. Visit the YES Prep Bill Tracker to see the rest of the education legislation that passed or failed this session.
Thank you again to the parents, students, teachers, Board members, and community members who engaged with us this session. It was a great session for Texas public charter schools. When we ensure our voices are heard, it makes a real difference.
You can visit our YES Prep Advocacy Page for information throughout the interim! There you’ll find key information about charters and ways that you can get involved in our advocacy efforts.
If you have any questions about our advocacy efforts, reach out to Sarah Landsman at firstname.lastname@example.org.