Daniel Mayer, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Texas Legislature meets every two years to set the state’s budget and consider and implement new legislation. The state’s 88th legislative session will open Jan. 10, 2023.

The Arlington ISD issues a legislative agenda for each Texas legislative session with a series of priorities and recommendations that are important to the district and public education in Texas. The district’s agenda for the state’s 88th legislative session focuses on school safety, school finance, human capital, unfinished learning and parental rights.

2023 Arlington ISD Legislative Priorities

COVID-19

COVID-19

Allocate state funds to ensure public education is not disrupted due to financial hardships created by COVID-19.

Funding

Funding

Identify state revenue sources to sustain the school finance system established by House Bill 3 and continue buying down school district property tax rates.

House Bill 3

House Bill 3

Ensure the Texas Education Agency (TEA) implements HB 3 in accordance with the bill’s intent and make adjustments as necessary.

Health Insurance

Health Insurance

Ensure the Texas Retirement System (TRS) continues the work it began following the 86th legislative session to increase access to affordable health insurance for public school employees.

Accountability

Accountability

Require a complete recalibration of the accountability system in 2023.

Mental Health

Mental Health

Identify effective solutions and appropriate ongoing funding for identifying and serving students with mental health needs.

2023 Legislative Agenda Summary

  • School Safety

    School safety is the Arlington ISD’s number one priority. The 88th Texas Legislature should help districts improve security by increasing funding for safety enhancements and additional security personnel, allowing most practical application decisions to be made at the local level and prioritizing mental health by providing additional funding for student services and proactive intervention and by creating a platform that identifies students with mental health needs. Read the full agenda.

  • School Finance

    The state’s school funding model does not fully meet the state’s education needs or account for inflation and human capital shortages. Legislation is needed that improves school funding and student achievement, continues tax relief and protects local authority. Among the district’s 16 recommendations to improve school finance are calls to change the state’s school funding model to be based on enrollment instead of attendance and adjust the basic allotment for inflation. Read the full agenda.

  • Human Capital

    School districts across the state are facing increasing difficulty filling all positions, from teachers and substitutes to bus drivers and food service workers. The state can establish policies and provide funding to help alleviate the staffing shortages. The 88th legislature should fund a teacher certification loan program, continue efforts to increase access to affordable health care for district employees and make state-funded teacher incentive programs accessible to all teachers in the state. Read the full agenda.

  • Unfinished Learning

    The unfinished learning caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is real. Arlington ISD has addressed it head on, and the district’s students are making tremendous progress. Still, there is work to be done. The state legislature should help by sustaining funding for extended learning opportunities for students once federal funding ends and revamping the accountability system to reduce an over-reliance on STAAR testing. Read the full agenda.

  • Parental Rights

    The Arlington ISD believes parents are critical partners with the school district in the education of their children and encourages active parental involvement in both creating and implementing its educational programs. The 88th Texas Legislature should protect those rights by maintaining the rights of parents already established by Texas Education Code (TEC) Chapter 26. Read the full agenda.