Texas school districts
|K-12 Education in Texas|
|State Superintendent: Michael Williams|
|Number of students: 5,000,470|
|Number of teachers: 324,282|
|Teacher/pupil ratio: 1:15.4|
|Number of school districts: 1,262|
|Number of schools: 8,697|
|Graduation rate: 88%|
|Per-pupil spending: $8,671|
|Texas Department of Education • Texas school districts • List of school districts in Texas • Texas • School boards portal|
|Education policy project|
|Public education in the United States |
Public education in Texas
Glossary of education terms
- 1 Quick facts
- 2 In the news
- 3 State law
- 4 School board elections
- 5 See also
- 6 External links
- 7 References
Texas is home to 1,262 school districts, 8,697 schools and 5,000,470 K-12 students.
State school administrators
- State Board of Education
- Barbara Cargill, Chair, District 8
- Thomas Ratliff, Vice Chair, District 9
- Martha M. Dominguez, District 1
- Ruben Cortez, Jr., District 2
- Marisa B. Perez, District 3
- Lawrence A. Allen, Jr., District 4
- Ken Mercer, District 5
- Donna Bahorich, District 6
- David Bradley, District 7
- Tom Maynard, District 10
- Patricia Hardy, District 11
- Geraldine Miller, District 12
- Mavis B. Knight, District 13
- Sue Melton-Malone, District 14
- Marty Rowley, District 15
The following table displays the state's top 10 school districts by total student enrollment.
The following table displays the ethnic distribution of students in Texas as reported in the National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data for 2011-2012.
|Demographic information for Texas's K-12 public school system|
|Ethnicity||Students||State Percentage||United States Percentage**|
|Hawaiian Nat./Pacific Isl. students||6,258||0.13%||0.42%|
|Two or more||84,167||1.68%||2.54%|
|**Note: This is the percentage of all students in the United States that are reported to be of this ethnicity.|
In the news
Home-rule effort in Dallas
Volunteers with a local group called Support Our Public Schools circulated petitions starting on March 4, 2014 to turn Dallas Independent School District into a home-rule district. A state law passed in 1995 allows local residents to replace their existing district structure with a home-rule charter. This charter could bypass some state regulations including minimum salary schedules for teachers, curriculum standards and the number of days in a school year. Support Our Public Schools is a group funded by former hedge fund manager John Arnold and several anonymous donors through his non-profit organization, Action Now Initiative. Arnold worked with local officials including board member Mike Morath to form the group due to concerns about the district's record of academic performance. Morath supports Support Our Public Schools but does not serve on the group's board. The organization hopes to complete the entire process in time for the gubernatorial election on November 4, 2014. If successful, Dallas Independent School District would be the first school district in Texas to use the home-rule charter process.
Support Our Public Schools submitted more than 48,000 petitions to district officials in mid-May 2014. District officials certified that enough valid signatures were submitted to proceed to the next step in the process in late May 2014. The group had to gather at least 24,459 valid signatures or five percent of registered voters in the district to force the creation of a charter commission by the school board. School board members appointed 15 members to the charter commission during a meeting on June 19, 2014.
Each member of the board is a resident of the district, four board members are teachers and the entire board is designed to reflect the district's demographic makeup. Two members of the commission were selected by the entire board, four educators were selected by an advisory panel and each trustee selected one commission member. D. Marcus Ranger, the husband of outgoing trustee Carla Ranger, and Lew Blackburn, Jr., the son of current trustee Lew Blackburn, Sr., were appointed to the commission. The state's home-rule charter law does not restrict spouses or relatives of current board members from serving on commissions. Commission members have until June 2015 to develop a home-rule charter for the district. If approved by the Texas Commissioner of Education, voters would approve or reject the charter at the polls. State law requires a simple majority and at least 25% of registered voters to cast ballots in the charter election. The following table details the charter commission including how they were appointed:
|Bob Weiss||Entire board|
|Stephanie Elizalde||Entire board|
|Melissa Malonson||District 1 trustee Elizabeth Jones|
|Edwin Flores||District 2 trustee Mike Morath|
|Jeff Veazey||District 3 trustee Dan Micciche|
|Ricardo Mendez||District 4 trustee Nancy Bingham|
|Lew Blackburn, Jr.||District 5 trustee Lew Blackburn Sr.|
|D. Marcus Ranger||District 6 trustee Carla Ranger|
|Jerome Garza||District 7 trustee Eric Cowan|
|Danae Gutierrez||District 8 trustee Miguel Solis|
|Shirley Ison-Newsome||District 9 trustee Bernadette Nutall|
|Isaac Freeman||Advisory panel|
|Ron Oliver||Advisory panel|
|Bonita Reece||Advisory panel|
|Julie Sandel||Advisory panel|
Local officials and advocates debated the group's efforts during the petition drive. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings supports the effort in order to bring change to the district while board members Lew Blackburn and Bernadette Nutall have questioned the motivations of Support Our Public Schools. Superintendent Mike Miles has not endorsed or rejected the movement but believes the home-rule effort is unnecessary as the district has initiated reforms within the current structure. Alliance-AFT president Rena Honea argues that this effort is "part of a plan to underfund our schools, declare them a failure, and contract out to private operators the control of our neighborhood schools, disenfranchising parents and community stakeholders and de-professionalizing teaching."
Mark Melton, a local attorney and charter supporter, published a seven-page constitution in May 2014 intended to guide the charter commission. This constitution developed by Melton and four colleagues would leave the district largely unchanged. The document proposes a three-term limit on all board members, a provision for recalling board members and an earlier start date for district schools. Melton's proposal would allow a recall election to take place if 15 percent of residents in a trustee district signed petitions. He offered the proposals as a reaction to the rancorous debate taking place between Support Our Public Schools volunteers and some district residents.
Federal investigation of worker visas in Garland
Administrators in Garland Independent School District reported discrepancies in its worker visa program to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on February 12, 2014. This program helps bilingual foreign teachers receive H1-B visas that last up to six years. The district employed 260 teachers who hold H1-B visas during the 2013-2014 school year. A small group of teachers faces deportation due to the expiration of their visas. Testimony during a February 25 board meeting revealed that participants felt that the district did not go far enough to help with green card applications. Teachers also testified that they paid for program costs. Federal law requires employers to pay the application costs and fees associated with H1-B visas. The Department of Homeland Security is currently conducting a full investigation of the program.
An internal investigation conducted by district attorney Harry Jones found that former human resources director Victor Leos and former assistant superintendent Gary Reeves mishandled worker visas for foreign teachers. Leos was found to have taken excessive fees from visa applicants. He also enriched relatives by recommending foreign teachers rent rooms from his step son and handle residency paperwork through his step daughter's law firm. Reeves is currently on administrative leave for ignoring early warning signs of Leos's behavior. The investigation found emails addressed to Reeves dating back to February 2013 that highlighted abuses by Leos.
Common Core, or the Common Core State Standards Initiative, is an American education initiative that outlines quantifiable benchmarks in English and mathematics at each grade level from kindergarten through high school. As of 2014, Texas had not adopted the Common Core standards.
School board composition
Texas school board members are generally elected by residents of the school district, although some school board members are appointed to fill vacancies until the next election for the seat is held. Texas school board elections typically follow one of these three methods, or a mixture thereof:
- At-large: All voters residing in the school district may vote for any candidates running, regardless of geographic location.
- Trustee area: Only voters residing in a specific geographic area within the school district may vote on certain candidates, who must also reside in that specific geographic area.
- Trustee area at-large: All voters residing in the school district may vote for any candidates running, but candidates must reside in specific geographic areas within the school district.
School boards can consists of five, seven or nine members. Board members serve terms of three or four years.
Texas contains multiple types of school districts. Independent school districts administer K-12 schools separately from municipal and county governments. Consolidated school districts are typically formed when two or more school districts combine into a single governing body.
Texas does not impose statewide term limits on school board members. However, terms limits on school board members can still be imposed on the local level.
School board elections
- See also: Texas school board elections, 2015
A total of 78 Texas school districts among America's largest school districts by enrollment will hold elections in 2015 for 200 seats. Board elections in 68 districts will be held on May 9, 2015. The remaining 10 districts will hold their elections on November 3, 2015.
Here are several quick facts about Texas's school board elections in 2015:
- The largest school district by enrollment with an election in 2015 is Houston Independent School District with 203,066 K-12 students.
- The smallest school districts by enrollment with an election in 2015 is Dickinson Independent School District with 9,368 K-12 students.
- Six districts are tied for the most seats on the ballot in 2015 with four seats up for election in each district.
- Spring Branch Independent School District has the fewest seats on the ballot in 2015 with one seat up for election.
The districts listed below served 2,524,061 K-12 students during the 2010-2011 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Click on the district names for more information on the district and its school board elections.
Path to the ballot
To qualify for the ballot as a school board candidate in Texas, a person must be:
- 18 years of age or older
- A registered voter
- A resident of the district for at least six months prior to the election
Candidates file applications for placement on the ballot with the school district clerk.
Candidates can claim exemption from campaign finance reporting requirements if they do not anticipate spending or receiving $500 during the election. If they receive or spend in excess of $500, they must file amended paperwork with the school district clerk detailing contributions and expenditures.
- School board elections portal
- United States school districts
- List of school districts in Texas
- Texas Education Agency
- Public education in Texas
- Texas Secretary of State
- Texas Education Agency
- Texas Association of School Boards
- Texas Classroom Teachers Association
- American Federation of Teachers - Texas
- National Center for Education Statistics school district search tool
- National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12," accessed March 18, 2014
- ED Data Express, "State Tables Report," accessed March 17, 2014 The site includes this disclaimer: "States converted to an adjusted cohort graduation rate [starting in the 2010-2011 school year], which may or may not be the same as the calculation they used in prior years. Due to the potential differences, caution should be used when comparing graduation rates across states."
- United States Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011," accessed March 18, 2014
- United States Department of Education, "2012 EDFacts State Profile," accessed August 8, 2013
- Texas Education Agency, "SBOE Members," accessed June 13, 2014
- National Center for Education Statistics, "ELSI Table Generator," accessed July 11, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey, 2011-2012," accessed May 7, 2014
- Dallas Morning News, "Dallas ISD trustee Mike Morath explains his role in home-rule group," March 10, 2014
- Dallas Morning News, "Group pushes for election to remake Dallas ISD as freer home-rule district," March 2, 2014
- Dallas Morning News, "Dallas ISD trustees struggle with how to form home-rule commission," May 30, 2014
- Dallas Morning News, "Dallas attorney Mark Melton’s group releases proposed home-rule charter for Dallas ISD," May 21, 2014
- Dallas Morning News, "Dallas ISD trustees name 15-member commission to write home-rule charter," June 20, 2014
- Dallas Morning News, "Superintendent Mike Miles: Home rule not key to a better Dallas ISD," March 19, 2014
- "Dallas Observer," "Dallas ISD Trustees Are Skeptical of Shadowy Home-Rule District Push," March 4, 2014
- North Dallas Gazette, "Garland ISD discloses self-reporting to Homeland Security regarding H-1B Visa info," February 13, 2014
- WFAA, "Garland ISD teachers say they face deportation," February 25, 2014
- Dallas Observer, "The Feds' Investigation Into Garland ISD's Visa Problems Could Cost the District Serious Cash," February 27, 2014
- WFAA, "Investigators detail corruption in Garland ISD foreign teacher program," April 8, 2014
- Common Core State Standards Initiative, "Core Standards in your State," accessed June 12, 2014
- Texas Association of School Boards, "Resources for Board Candidates," accessed July 10, 2014
- Texas Education Code, "Texas Education Code - Chapter 13 Creation, Consolidation, And Abolition Of A District," accessed July 10, 2014
- Texas Association of School Boards, "Policy: Eligibility/Qualifications," October 19, 2011
State of Texas
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