Posted inEducation

Great expectations: Northwest ISD sets priorities for Texas Legislature before special session

The Northwest ISD school board is making its stance clear to lawmakers ahead of the expected education-focused special session of the Texas Legislature.

The board voted 7-0 on Sept. 25 to approve two resolutions setting the district’s legislative priorities. The first asks legislators to reject any version of a voucher-like program and instead support increased public school funding. The second suggests hitting pause on A-F ratings while rolling out a revised system.

The resolutions inform Northwest ISD’s lawmakers where the district stands on these issues, Superintendent Mark Foust said in a statement to the Fort Worth Report.

“At a time when educators are facing unprecedented challenges, we expect all our legislators would support public school teachers; unfortunately, some are using public education as a fulcrum,” Foust said. 

Earlier this year, lawmakers proposed creating an education savings account program that would give parents public dollars to fund their children’s private school tuition. The idea was a top priority for Gov. Greg Abbott during this past spring’s legislative session. 

While parents and organizations in Tarrant County are mixed on the effectiveness of school vouchers, Abbott promised political consequences if lawmakers cannot agree on passing them. 

How lawmakers got here

In May, House Bill 100 — which would have enacted an education savings account program in Texas and increased funding to raise teachers’ salaries — died after lawmakers failed to compromise. 

Texas already has school choice

  • Parents can choose to send their children to a traditional public school, charter school or private school or to homeschool them. 
  • School districts also offer specialized school options to parents instead of traditional neighborhood ones. Many districts allow parents to send their children to schools outside their district. 
  • The October special session will focus on whether parents can use taxpayer dollars for their child’s private school.

The program would have cost the state approximately $1.5 billion by 2028, according to the bill’s cost estimates. 

In its resolution, Northwest ISD said that the education savings account program lacks accountability for private schools. 

“Our state is sitting on a historic budget surplus of more than $30 billion, and some elected officials are refusing to pass teacher and staff raises unless funds for vouchers for private school choice are diverted away from public schools,” Foust said. 

A-F accountability ratings

Northwest ISD called on the Legislature to direct Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath to not assign the accountability ratings during the first year of rolling out a revised system. 

The new accountability system is planned to arrive the same year TEA revised the state standardized test. 

Revisions for A-F scores have been in the works since 2021, and lawmakers approved a redesign of the standardized test in 2019.

Dang Le is a reporting fellow for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here

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