Teachers and administrators at West ISD are nervously optimistic about this week’s start of a new school year four months after a massive fertilizer plant explosion leveled much of the town and left West ISD a hollow shell.
The new school may only be a series of portable buildings, but the faculty are proud to be back.
Dr. Jan Hungate is one of the chief administrators for West ISD and said sections of town are still unrecognizable, partially because of the blast, and partially because of new growth.
Sparks flew on and off the stage in Tyler, Texas, during the debate about online lesson plan provider CSCOPE between State Board of Education member Thomas Ratliff and lieutenant governor candidate Dan Patrick, both Republicans.
When Pre-K 4 SA opens its doors for the first time ever, there will be no school bell like there might be in a traditional school setting, but there will be a lot of excitement.
Pre-K 4 SA, which started as Mayor Julián Castro’s Brainpower Initiative, has been nine months in the making. Voters approved the measure in November with nearly 54 percent of the vote, which officially raised the city’s sales tax to the state cap of 8.25 percent.
The sales tax revenue will generate $31 million each year for the program.
From the tail end of the regular legislative session until the last seconds of the final special session of the summer, 60 Texas colleges and universities held their breath wondering if Gov. Rick Perry would add legislation to provide an extra $2.7 billion in tuition revenue bonds to complete various projects on campuses.
Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, authored a bill with bipartisan support to cover the money, but Perry didn't add it to the special sessions.
On Friday a Burnet County judge will decide if Llano ISD can continue to use the CSCOPE lesson plans for the start of this school year.
The decision could have an effect on what happens in school districts across the state as educators and districts struggle with how to meet state standards for education without a curriculum framework that was tailored to meet those marks.
State Board of Education member Thomas Ratliff, who is a Republican, has backed the use of online lesson plan provider CSCOPE from the beginning, but the groups making the push to impeach are not using that as their reason to oust him.
"They allege that because I represent Microsoft as a paid lobbyist at the Texas Legislature that that somehow disqualifies me or gives me a conflict of interest on the State Board of Education," Ratliff said.
Burnet County Judge Dan Mills has ordered a temporary restraining order to stop the use of CSCOPE, an online curriculum provider, in Llano ISD until a further ruling.
Leticia McCasland and Trevor Dupuy, both former Llano ISD School Board candidates who made ending the CSCOPE lesson plans part of their campaigns, filed a lawsuit to end the use of the curriculum provider in Llano ISD.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst praised the judge's order and called a press conference to highlight the temporary dismantling of the controversial online lesson plans.