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Landgraf: Progress made to help schools during session - Odessa American: Guest Columns

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Landgraf: Progress made to help schools during session

State Rep. Brooks Landgraf was elected in 2014 to House District 81, which encompasses Andrews, Ector, Ward, and Winkler Counties.

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Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2019 4:00 am

It’s time to kick-off another school year. The school zone signs a blinking and the football teams are scrimmaging. But despite years of outcry across the state from students, parents, teachers, and school administrators, the 2019-2020 school year will be another year of high-stakes testing on our public school students.

I did my very best to change this during the 2019 legislative session by filing House Bill 736 and joint authoring House Bill 2113 to either totally repeal the STAAR test or drastically reduce the amount of testing. Unfortunately, neither of these bills received a hearing in the House Public Education Committee before the end of the 2019 session.

While I am disappointed we couldn’t do more to reduce or eliminate STAAR testing during the 2019 session, I am glad to report that significant progress was made on several other education fronts. For instance, the state budget provides $200 million over the next two years for school safety improvements, including building renovations, added security personnel and technology, emergency response training and more.

Additionally, the legislature made major reforms to the state’s school finance system with the passage of House Bill 3. I was proud to coauthor HB 3, which killed two birds with one stone by providing both property tax relief and education reform.

By increasing the state’s share of public education funding, HB 3 provides almost $5 billion in property tax relief. Importantly, HB 3 also reduces Robin Hood payments by $3.6 billion over the next two years and provides over $2 billion for dynamic pay raises for teachers, librarians, counselors, and nurses.

Now that the achievements of HB 3 are in the review mirror, my hope is that providing relief from high-stakes testing will become as important to the rest of the Texas House as it is to me. You can be certain that I will continue to fight for our public school families and teachers. Enough is enough.

God bless Texas!

Odessa, TX

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