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FGSC's Dr. Greg Smith Testimony on HB 1525

Testimony Provided to House Public Education Committee on HB 1525


By Greg Smith, Executive Director of the Fast Growth School Coalition
March 23, 2021


Greetings Chairman Dutton and Committee.  I am Greg Smith; the Executive Director of the Fast Growth School Coalition and I am here to testify on HB 1525.


Thank you for taking the groundbreaking Huberty-Taylor Act, HB 3, and striving to improve it with HB 1525.  Today, I will visit with you about the improvement of the funds allocated under Sec. 48.111, otherwise known as the Fast Growth Allotment.  First and foremost, we are thankful that the 86th Legislature and TEA have provided resources and support to many of our fast-growing school districts across Texas even if that distribution was not always focused on the fast-growing districts it was intended to serve.  We are eager to work with this committee and TEA to improve the distribution of Fast Growth Allotment Funds so that those funds go to districts who are truly growing quickly over time.


Under the existing rules, the allotment left out at least 14 school districts that are fast growing over a long, sustained period.  Unfortunately, HB 1525 does not correct this.  So, districts like Klein, Northside, Cy-Fair, and Socorro, to name a few, are growing and building schools but are not in the mix to receive an allotment even though they check the box on long-term sustainable growth and merit the designated support.  




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Demographic Trends Across Texas and its Impact on Fast Growing School Districts

Demographic Trends Across Texas and its Impact on Fast Growing School Districts

 

Fast Growth School Coalition is pleased to welcome Bob Templeton of Templeton Demographics for our March Lunch and Learn. Leading a fast growth district creates opportunities and challenges. Templeton Demographics understands how municipal planning, unemployment rates, and economic development impact annual student growth. Bob will offer his expert analysis of the demographic trends driving a changing Texas, as well as how COVID-19 is impacting the state and its public schools for the near and long-term. Join us for Bob’s presentation and an opportunity for discussion. 

 

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RYHT: Money Intended for Education Should Stay in Education

Raise Your Hand Texas Testifies, "Money Intended for Education Should Stay in Education"

The federal government is providing billions in COVID-19 relief funding to public schools across the country. Texas initially received $1.3 billion in federal stimulus funding intended for our schools in the spring of 2020. However, our schools did not see any additional money because Texas instead diverted these funds to fill other state budget holes.

Now, another $5.5 billion in federal funds promised to our schools hangs in the balance.

The state should not use federal stimulus dollars that were meant for education to fill other holes in the state budget. Please share on social media with #FundTxEdRecovery. Learn more here.

Read Raise Your Hand Texas's Senate Finance Committee Testimony from February 22

State's Fastest Growing School Districts Call on Texas Lawmakers to Invest in Public Schools

STATE’S FASTEST GROWING SCHOOL DISTRICTS CALL ON TEXAS LAWMAKERS TO INVEST IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Coalition’s Priorities Reflect Unique Challenges of “Destination Districts”


AUSTIN, TEXAS—As the Legislative Session gets underway in Austin this month, the state’s fastest-growing school districts call on state lawmakers to protect Texas’ historic investments in public schools and address chronically low state investment in fast-growth school facilities funding.

Fast Growth School Coalition represents the collective voice of the state’s fastest-growing school districts. The majority of new student enrollment in Texas public schools each year occurs in roughly just 75 of the more than 1,200 Texas public school districts.

The coalition’s legislative priorities reflect the unique challenges fast-growing districts face and broader public school policy concerns in light of COVID-19.

“Increasing state funding for new facilities to ensure our fast growth districts can meet the needs of their community remains a challenge,” said Dr. Greg Smith, Executive Director of Fast Growth School Coalition. “COVID-19 only adds to the budget challenges and financial concerns facing our districts and public schools all across our state.”

In addition to protecting the state’s historic investments in public schools last session (House Bill 3, 86th Regular Session), Fast Growth School Coalition’s legislative priorities also include:

•    Encourage investment in facilities funding: Adjust the “fast growth allotment” in public school facilities funding to ensure targeted funding serves schools where concentrated enrollment creates a disproportionate impact.
 
•    Support charter school transparency and efficiency: Require voter approval of a new charter within the ISD where it will be located and provide better school and public notification for new charter school construction.
 
•    Renew Texas’ commitment to local control: Support local control with uniform election dates. Amend ballot language that misleads voters and restore the notion of freedom with accountability.
 
•    Connect students, schools, and communities: Develop an omnibus solution to address the broadband access divide in urban, suburban, and rural communities.

A complete summary of Fast Growth School Coalition’s legislative priorities is available online.

“We strongly believe – and the economic data has shown – that money matters in public education and an investment in our state’s fastest-growing schools makes good economic sense,” said Dr. Smith.

Areas of rapid economic growth, business expansion, and significant population increases are where Texans can find fast-growth school districts.

“Not only do fast growth districts provide high-quality education, but they’re also driving Texas’ economy and recovery from the pandemic,” said Dr. Smith. “Texas’ fastest-growing school districts create and sustain jobs, drive new construction and infrastructure investment in local communities, and spur further business relocations and expansions.”

Dr. Smith, who most recently served as Superintendent of Clear Creek ISD, took the reins of Fast Growth School Coalition, effective Jan. 1. He replaces Dr. Guy Sconzo, who lost his battle with cancer last year.

“Dr. Smith is the right leader for our coalition during this especially challenging time for our state’s fastest-growing school districts. He’ll be a strong advocate for our coalition and public schools more broadly,” said Dr. Doug Killian, President of Fast Growth School Coalition and Superintendent of Pflugerville ISD.

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About Fast Growth School Coalition
For more than two decades, the Fast Growth School Coalition (FGSC, fastgrowthtexas.org) educates and advocates for investment in the state’s fastest-growing school districts to deliver the high-quality education Texas students and taxpayers deserve. For a complete list of fast-growth school districts, visit http://fastgrowthtexas.org/member-districts/. Follow Fast Growth School Coalition on Twitter, @FastGrowthTexas.

Media contact: Jennifer Harris, [email protected]

Dr. Greg Smith to Lead Fast Growth School Coalition

 

DR. GREG SMITH TO LEAD FAST GROWTH SCHOOL COALITION

New Executive Director Takes the Reins at a Pivotal Moment for 
State’s Fastest Growing School Districts, Public Education

AUSTIN, TEXAS (Aug. 13, 2020)--The Fast Growth School Coalition, a statewide organization representing the collective voice of Texas’ fastest growing school districts, today announced its new Executive Director, Dr. Greg Smith.

Dr. Smith, currently Superintendent of Clear Creek ISD, joins FGSC, effective Jan. 1, 2021. He replaces Dr. Guy Sconzo, who lost his battle with cancer earlier this year.

“Dr. Smith is the right leader for our coalition during this especially challenging time for our state’s fastest growing school districts and across public education more broadly,” said Dr. Doug Killian, President of Fast Growth School Coalition and Superintendent of Pflugerville ISD. “He’s been in the trenches with us as a superintendent at two fast growth districts over the past two decades. The breadth and depth of Dr. Smith’s experience locally and at the State Capitol is a tremendous asset to FGSC and our member districts.”

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Statement on Passing of Dr. Guy Sconzo

Statement on the Passing of Dr. Guy Sconzo

The following statement on the passing of Dr. Guy Sconzo, Executive Director of Fast Growth School Coalition and former Humble Independent School District Superintendent, should be attributed to Doug Killian, Ed.D., Superintendent of Pflugerville Independent School District and President of the Fast Growth School Coalition:

“The Texas public education community lost a giant today with the passing of Dr. Guy Sconzo.

“Guy’s contributions to our Fast Growth School Coalition and Texas’ public education community cannot be understated.

“Guy was a tireless advocate for public school students and educators. He was the first superintendent in Texas to testify in a school finance lawsuit seeking a more fair and adequate funding system to serve the needs of all Texas students better. And, his work as Fast Growth School Coalition ensured that our lawmakers and the public understood the value and importance of investing in Texas’ fastest-growing school districts. 

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