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August 27, 2019 Communique



August 2019


Accountability & Assessment

-2019 Accountability & PBMAS data posted in TEAS

-Accountability data posted publicly on TEA website

-Post current accountability ratings, TAPR Report and School Report Card on district website by 10th day of the school year (TEC§39.362)

-Schools post accountability on their website by the 10th day of instruction (TEC§39.362)


Admin & Leadership

-Review inclement weather procedures with administrative team

-Hold district/campus SBDM Committee elections

-Distribute/public Notification of Parents' Rights

-Distribute copies of TEC§37 & local discipline policies to professional staff before the start of school (TEC§37.018)

-Review/amend Student Code of Conduct and post on website

-Review sexual harassment procedures with staff and students

-Annual UIL Mandatory training for Academic/Athletic Staff

-Required Anti-bullying training

UIL Safety (SB82) & Concussion Training (HB2038)

-Update Ask TED

-DCSI Superintendent Attestation Statement due: August 30

-Bus Accident Report Survey due: August 31

Federal/State Programs

-Federal Programs compliance report due for previous year



-Prepare final budget amendment for prior year for September 1st FY

-Post on website adopted a tax rate that will raise more taxes for maintenance & operations than last year's tax rate, if applicable

-Post on website summary of proposed budget if it maintains a website; summary must be concurrently posted with notice of budget

-Prominently post on the district's website for three years an external link to the budget adopted by the Board of Trustees

-Publish notice of public meeting to discuss budget and proposed tax rate (Publish at least 10 days before meeting)

-Hold meeting to adopt budget & proposed tax rate on or before Aug 31 for Sept 1st FY


School Board

-Hold budget workshops for Sept 1 FY

-Hold public hearing/Adopt budget for September 1st FY

-Approve health insurance rates (as appropriate)

-Order of Trustee election & post notice for November election

-Adopt Student Code of Conduct

-Adopt district/campus improvement plan

-Approve waivers as needed


Special Education

-2019-2020 Special Ed Consolidated Grant Application due late August or early September

-Monitor special ed expenditures from the general fund to ensure on track for MOE compliance



-Publish Annual Public Notification of Nondiscrimination in Career Technology Education Programs

-Establish/approve Local School Health Advisory Council



The Texas Association of Community Schools has a rich history. To understand where an organization is, it is important to understand where it has been.  Over the next five weeks, the Communique will be our vehicle to help every superintendent better understand our history and our organization.


Prior to 1975 the Texas Association of Small Schools had operated under the direction of the Texas Education Agency (TEA). The organization’s priority was curriculum improvement in the state’s smallest school districts, and the students in the small school districts of the state benefited from this arrangement for many years. However, during the 64th Session of the Texas Legislature that ended on June 2, 1975, a bill that would eliminate the small school formula in two years was passed and signed in to law. 


Superintendents of school districts affected by the elimination of the funding source (a real threat of forced consolidation) gathered in Austin in the summer of 1975 to plan a strategy for toppling the new law before it could go into effect. 


Since the Texas Association of Small Schools was under the direction of a state agency, advocacy before the legislature was prohibited. These superintendents realized that if they wanted to have an impact on public education in the state, their only recourse was to have an association that was independent of TEA. Thus, the Texas Association of Community Schools (TACS) was born during that meeting. The association was built upon a foundation of (1.) advocating before the legislature and other state agencies, (2.) ensuring quality classroom instruction, (3.) providing quality professional development for educators, and (4.) cooperating with other associations and organizations that share TACS values. Membership was limited to school districts with only one high school.


The new organization needed an executive director, and P.E. Hutchinson, the recently retired director of finance at TEA, was asked to serve. He agreed, but only until a full-time executive director could be found. Linda Valk was hired as the first employee of the association, and she retired in 2018 after forty-two years with the organization.


TACS operated on a shoestring for a time. Beginning with four boxes of materials from TEA, no money, and borrowed furniture, the officers met in Austin to hand write membership letters. Slowly but surely the association grew. By 1980, TACS held its first regional conference in Lubbock. Soon regional conferences in west Texas and east Texas were added. All of these conferences still thrive today. In 2012 the first state conference was held in San Antonio, and it has grown in size and reputation each year since. 


In the early 1980s TACS started saving to purchase an office “to call its own” since the leaders were tiring of renting. Finally, in 1996, after years of scrimping and saving, office property on Interstate Highway 35 was purchased, and TACS had its first “real” home.


The years 1980 until 1988 were good years for the association. In the mid-1980s employees of TACS member schools were desperate for good health insurance at a reasonable rate. TACS established an insurance trust which was managed by Corporate Risk Counselors. The insurance trust was successful beyond the officers’ wildest dreams. TACS finally had some money to put in the bank! The organization’s leaders worked hard traveling to all parts of the state “selling” TACS to every superintendent of a school district eligible for membership. In 1988 membership jumped to 866 school districts which has proven to be the high water mark for membership.


In September of 1988, in many ways, the bubble burst, however. The insurance trust filed bankruptcy! The association president Bill Alexander sent out an “all hands on deck” distress cry to all past presidents and to the executive committee. In a special meeting in San Antonio, the association leaders determined to work hard and stay positive. Many other education groups around the state came to TACS’s aid offering as much help as they could. The silver lining in this dark cloud of a year was Pepsi Cola coming on-board as a corporate partner with desperately needed funding. From this beginning, the TACS Corporate Partnership program has grown to over 30 companies.


The insurance fiasco lingered for several years. It made for some long, interesting board meetings that only reinforced every officer and board member’s commitment to the association. Finally, in the 1992-93 school year, the court cleared the association’s name in the insurance trust bankruptcy case. That was a time of celebration, but it was four long years coming


Through the years TACS has distinguished itself with its student scholarship programs. What began as the Small School Academic Competition has evolved to become the TACS Academic Challenge. Over the years, thanks to this program, more than $1.5 million has been provided to students to continue their education. Recently TACS, with the help of corporate partners, added a competitive application component to its student scholarship program. The TACS scholarship program has been awarding between $75,000 and $100,000 annually to deserving students.


In 2005 TACS sold its headquarters on Interstate Highway 35 and purchased a condominium in downtown Austin only two blocks from the State Capitol. From this location successful advocacy before the legislature has been enhanced and made easier.


In only five short years, TACS is looking forward to celebrating its golden anniversary; fifty years of serving the small and mid-sized school districts of Texas and their students!


san antonio riverwalkTHE TACS SAN ANTONIO CONFERENCE sponsored by School Specialty 


We're less than TWO WEEKS out from our San Antonio conference!


Why not join the TACS staff and many other school leaders this year in San Antonio on September 8th-10th at our TACS SAN ANTONIO CONFERENCE sponsored by School Specialty? Held on the Riverwalk at the Palacio del Rio Hilton, this two and a half day event is filled with great information, good food, fantastic fun, wonderful fellowship, and all of the excitement the Riverwalk can bring!


Bring a team. The program will appeal to all educators and school board members, and CPU credits will be awarded. Just click here to register for the TACS SAN ANTONIO CONFERENCE sponsored by School Specialty. It may be the most valuable dollars you spend this year! And don’t forget to experience the city while you are there!


It's Membership Drive Season!


All of you should have received your membership renewal/enrollment materials at the beginning of the summer, but that probably feels like forever go now that school's back in session! Being a TACS member has tons of benefits for your district and for small and mid-size districts as a whole - you can read more about those benefits here. We've added some great new programs and conferences that you'll have exclusive access to as a TACS member!


The legislature may not be in session this year, but we still have plenty of work to do making sure small public schools have their voice heard, and to ensure that public ed is a priority topic next year.


If you've misplaced your invoice, you can download one here and fill in all your district's information. We look forward to working on behalf of your schools!

TACS Wellness Tip

Learn to manage your stress. Stress doesn't just ruin your good mood, it can also have negative effects on blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. Stress is inevitable in everyone's life (especially for school administrators!), but we can all learn how to properly manage it so it doesn't affect our health.





News From Other Organizations

Health Education and Physical Education TEKS Surveys Closing—September 4, 2019


The State Board of Education (SBOE) has begun the process for the review and revision of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for health education and physical education. As part of the SBOE’s process, TEA is surveying educators regarding the current health education and physical education TEKS. The results of the survey will inform work group recommendations to the SBOE for revisions to the TEKS. The surveys will close on Wednesday, September 4, 2019.


To provide feedback regarding the health education TEKS, please submit the Health Education TEKS Survey available at


To provide feedback regarding the physical education TEKS, please submit the Physical Education TEKS Survey available at



New "HB 3 in 30" Videos: Small/Mid-Sized Allotment & CCMR


TEA released TWO videos last week as part of its "HB 3 in 30" series. One that our members may find particularly relevant is on the Small/Mid-Sized District Allotment.


The other video focuses on another big issue for districts: CCMR: CTE, Innovative High School Models, and Subsidy for High School Equivalency.


This video series is an amazing resource for superintendents and school administrators who may have question on how the new school finance legislation affects their district. You can find supporting documents and additional correspondence here on TEA's HB 3 informational page.



Reminder: Submit Your Annual Bus Accident Report Survey


The TEA has created a web-based survey for you to use in reporting bus accident information. The survey will be open through August 31. The survey, as well as a PDF that allows you to preview the survey questions, is available on the TEA Bus Accident Reporting System web page.


Every school district and open-enrollment charter school must use the survey to submit its own individual report by August 31. If no accidents meeting the reporting requirements occurred during the school year, your school district or charter school must submit a report showing zero as the number of bus accidents.


A note on what to report: If an accident involved a citation (for either party), your district or charter school must report the accident. For an accident that did not involve a citation, your district or charter school has discretion over whether to report the accident.


Please select your school district or charter school from one of three separate lists in the survey. The lists are arranged alphabetically by the first letter of the school district or charter school. The three lists are organized by school districts or charter schools that begin with A–G, H–R, and S–Z.


You can find more information on bus accident reporting requirements and on the survey on the TEA Bus Accident Reporting System web page. If you have questions, please contact Soyoung Lee in the TEA’s State Funding division at (512) 463-9534 or









Contact Information

Texas Association of Community Schools
1011 San Jacinto Blvd., Ste. 204
Austin, Texas 78701-1924
Phone: (512) 440-8227
Fax: (512) 442-6705

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