I Want To Be Governor of the State of Texas, Part 2

When I become Governor of the State of Texas I will focus on the following issues.

  1. Public school funding:
    1. I will appoint a 9-member committee to develop a formula that will work to fund all schools adequately. This cannot be done by legislatures that do not have the knowledge of school funding it takes.
    2. Committee members will include
      1. F. Scott McCown- Retired State District Judge
        1. His appointment is to insure the funding is constitutional.
      2. Wayne Pierce- Executive Director of the Equity Center
      3. 7 school superintendents
        1. 2 from small school districts
        2. 2 from mid-size school districts
        3. 2 from large school districts
        4. 1 at-large
  2.  Lottery:
    1. I will hire an independent auditor to review the revenue from the lottery since its inception.
    2. A website will be created to post a monthly profit and expense reports from the lottery.
    3. A referendum item will be placed on the next November ballot to designate that all lottery profits be deposited in the “Rainy Day Fund”.
    4. A second referendum item will be placed on the next November ballot to use the lottery profits that are deposited in the “Rainy Day Fund” to “SUPPLEMENT” education funding.
  1. Casino Gambling:
    1. This is an issue that needs to be decided by the people. With billions of dollars going across the state line to benefit other states, it is time for some of this money to stay in the State of Texas. A referendum item will be placed on the next November ballot.
    2. After the approval of the casino gambling regional casinos in the following areas.
      1. Houston/Galveston
      2. Dallas/Fort Worth
      3. Austin/San Antonio
      4. Rio Grande Valley
      5. El Paso
      6. Texas Panhandle (Between Lubbock and Amarillo)
    3. These will be state run casinos with profit going directly into the Rainy Day Fund without a middleman taking their cut.
  1. Teachers/Educators:
    1. Pass a law that each year teachers must receive a pay increase equal or more to 105% of the cost of the increase in the cost of their health insurance.
      1. Example: if the insurance rate goes up by $100 per month, then they will receive a $105 per month raise. No educator should take a pay cut due to insurance rate increases.
      2. Either combine TRS insurance and ERS insurance or increase the state contribution to TRS insurance, which has not increased since the inception in 2002
    2. Develop a base pay scale for teachers that cover 35 years rather than 20. After 20 years, then teacher salary increases are not funded by the state but the local districts.
    3. Increase state funding to TRS to a minimum of 50% of the amount allowable.
      1. Example: Minimum funding contribution is 6%, Maximum 7.5%, meaning the state contribution would be 6.75% of an educators salary will be contributed to TRS by the state.
  1. Schools:
    1. Repeal the A-F school grading system.
    2. Develop a school improvement pilot program based smaller classes.
    3. Within each district identify a high school, middle school, and elementary school that feeds each other. This will allow us to track the progress of the students over time.
    4. The next step is to provide enough funding to reduce class sizes significantly.
    5. Elementary (PK-4) classes a hard cap of 12 students per teacher.
    6. Middle School (5-8) classes a hard cap of 15 students per teacher.
    7. High Schools (9-12) classes a hard cap of 18 students per teacher.
    8. Higher the best teachers in the district to teach in these schools. Pay them an extra stipend.
    9. Give them a common planning period so that they can prepare the best lessons.
    10. Give them a conference period to attend to their own classroom needs (grading paper, recording grades, or contacting parents)
    11. With the assumption that the best teachers are in place to teach, the students need to be held accountable for their effort. As they reach the high school level, then “failure is an option”. They will be required to meet timelines and deadlines, just like in the real world.

The leadership shall include:

  1. 1 (one) Principal
  2. 1 Associate Principal for instruction
  3. 1 Associate Principal of Administration (only if the population exceeds 1100 students)
  4. 1 Assistant Principal for every 250 students.
  5. 1 Counselor for every 250 students.
  6. 1 Attendance Officer
    1. If a student is absent two days in a row, then they will contact the parents to find out why. If the student is absent three days or more then they will conduct a home visit to assess the situation
  7. A discipline management plan then ensures minimal disruptions. If a student is a constant disruption to the learning environment, then they shall be moved to an alternative campus more suited for his discipline.

NOTE: THE DISTRICT WILL DEVELOP AN ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION PROGRAM (AEP) THAT WILL BE ABLE TO PROVIDE SERVICES TO AT LEAST 2.5% OF THE DISTRICTS STUDENTS. THERE WILL NOT BE ANY LIMITATIONS ON HOW MANY STUDENTS MAY OR WILL BE ASSIGNED TO THE AEP

12. Each day students in grades PK-5 will have a minimum of 30 minutes of recess time TWICE A DAY, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Structured Physical Education time cannot replace this time.

13. School Calendar

  1. The planning of the school calendar shall be returned to the local level. High schools should ideally complete the fall semester before breaking for Christmas in December with between 89-91 days in the fall semester. In the spring, the semester should end before Memorial Day in May.
  2. All senior graduations should be conducted between May 7th and May 15th each year.

14. Testing:

  1. A four-year stoppage will be enacted immediately. No STAAR or any other type of standardized test will be given.
  2. A life skills assessment will be developed for high school senior before graduation.

For Example:

  1. How to open a checking account
  2. How to complete a job application
  3. How to write a resume and application letter
  4. How to dress for an interview
  5. How to interview
  6. How do wash clothes
  7. How to cook simple meals
  8. How to apply for a loan
  9. CPR/First Aid Certification

NOTE: The business community will need to be consulted in order to develop a complete list.

15.  No more unfunded mandates.

6. Charter Schools:

  1. For-profit charter schools will be illegal. Charter may only have a fund balance equal to 4 months operating expenses.
  2. Charter school superintendent salaries will be limited by the average salary of similar size school’s superintendents.
    1. A charter school superintendent of a school of 1500 students PK-12 compared to a similar public school of approximately 1500 students PK-12

 

7. Child Protective Services:

  1. Under the current law, educators can have their certificates suspended or revoked for failing to report suspected child, abuse or neglect.
    1. As a companion law, if an educator reports suspected abuse or neglect then it must be investigated thoroughly. An onsite, in-person visit, must be conducted followed by a detailed report.

This is a work in progress. I am open to suggestions.

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