Presidents of Texas’ 10 largest school boards send letter to Gov. Abbott about reopening schools

The presidents of the 10 largest school boards in Texas have come together to write a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott about funding for the upcoming school year

According to the district leaders, previous funding decisions by the Texas Education Agency limited the flexibility needed for districts to accommodate the varying conditions with which they are faced.

“School districts require stability to open without fear of financial losses, and we need flexibility to open school in a manner we determine best for each community,” the letter reads.

In the letter, the district leaders went on to make three requests of Abbott; the first being to set a floor-average daily attendance (ADA) for the next year. According to the presidents, this guideline would remove the need for districts to contemplate staff reductions and other budget cuts.

Secondly, the presidents requested that Abbott allow school districts the flexibility to design instructional systems that meet the needs of families and staff given local health conditions. The presidents clarified that they must have the ability to make such decisions.

“To say we are required to have in-class instruction -- no matter what the situation is -- is not only reckless but unsafe for our students and our staff,” the letter reads.

Finally, the district leaders called on Abbott to allow school districts to prohibit students from attending school if they have been in contact with or exposed to an individual who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

According to the letter, newly released guidance allows parents to decide whether their students can attend school under such conditions.

The board called on Abbott to respond with his decisions by July 17 so that they can better inform their local school districts on the mentioned issues.

The presidents of both the Aldine and Houston school boards were among those who signed the letter.

On Wednesday, the TEA announced a change to guidelines. According to a report by the Texas Tribune, TEA officials confirmed the agency would continue to fund school districts if local health officials order them to stay closed, as long as remote instruction is offered for all students.

RELATED READ: Texas classrooms can stay closed this fall without losing state funding if local health officials order it

The new decision now grants school districts the flexibility to participate in entirely virtual instruction for longer than three weeks.

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