Happy New Year! Welcome to the January issue of the Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium newsletter and the first issue of 2013. As grantmakers committed to protecting and improving public education in the state of Texas, we welcome you to learn more about TEGAC and become involved. This issue will highlight the beginning of the 83rd Texas Legislative Session and several upcoming events. The event we are most excited about is coming up soon -- please mark your calendars for the second Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Day at the Capitol on February 27th in Austin. The other big piece of news is the release of Phase II of the research findings on the impact of the budget commissioned by TEGAC.
We also are thrilled to welcome two new members to the Consortium: the Laura and John Arnold Foundation (Houston) and the Still Water Foundation (Austin)! Please take a moment to read through this newsletter and contact us with any questions or comments, or if you are interested in becoming a member of TEGAC.
Senate Education Committee Assignments:
Selected: Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst (R) is out of the gate fast this session with the speedy appointment of members of all committees of the Texas Senate, including the powerful Senate Education Committee. The Committee's Chair Senator Dan Patrick (R - Houston) was selected this summer but last week's appointments rounded out the committees composition and sent a clear message that a new day has dawned for education policy in Texas.
Capitol watchers have noted the large number of Capitol newcomers joining the Committee, including freshmen Senator Donna Campbell (R - New Braunfels), Senator Ken Paxton (R - McKinney), and Senator Larry Taylor (R - Friendswood). While the Committee's new members have captured the Capitol's attention, a grassroots petition drive was launched in support of Senator Wendy Davis (D - Fort Worth) in hopes of convincing the Lieutenant Governor to reconsider his decision to remove her from the Senate Education Committee. You can check out the entire committee and keep an eye on the hearings schedule at http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/Senate/commit/c530/c530.htm.
The Texas State Budget Debate Begins:
The Texas Legislature is constitutionally required to do only one thing during its 140 day session: pass a balanced budget. With no time to waste, the Texas Senate and House of Representatives have released their preliminary budgets. Unfortunately, neither the Senate nor the House chose to prioritize the funding necessary to restore the more than $5 billion in cuts to public schools made during the 2011 Texas Legislature.
However, parents and education supporters have begun to see some glimmers of sunlight in the Legislature's early budget debates. For example, at a recent hearing on education funding of the Senate Finance Committee, restoration of cuts to pre-kindergarten was mentioned as a possible starting point should restoration occur. Advocates promoting the prioritization of research-proven and evidence-based policies took heart to know that the Texas Legislature has acknowledged the detrimental impact of last session's cuts. TheDallas Morning News was on the scene for this week's hearing: http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/2013/01/pre-kindergarten-and-remedial-instruction-grants-may-be-revived-williams-hints.html/.
Texas Legislature Online: You Paid for It, You Might As Well Use It:
It can be very difficult to keep up with what the Texas Legislature is doing during the legislative session. Thousands of bills are filed. The alphabet soup of acronyms can make it hard to differentiate between an LAR (Legislative Appropriations Request) and an FSP (Foundation School Program). Committee hearings happen fast (and slooooow) and often with very little notice. The legislative process is simply not designed to be user-friendly to ordinary Texans interested in following along with the Legislature and its budget and policy debates. Fortunately, the State of Texas provides a truly incredible amount of free resources to anyone interested in following along.
Legislative hearings and floor debates are broadcast live online and archived for later review. Hearing notices can be automatically sent for every committee of the Senate and House of Representatives. Individuals can even track specific bills or receive immediate alerts when legislation related to any topic is filed. Best of all, these resources are all completely free to the public. If you want to get in the game, check it out at http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/resources/FollowABill.aspx and remember, participatory democracy demands participation!
Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Day at the Capitol
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
from 10 am to 4 pm
Texas Tribune Conference Room
823 Congress Ave, Suite 210
Austin, TX 78701
Dear Texas Education Grantmakers,
We are excited to invite you to the 2013 Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Day at the Texas Capitol on February 27, 2013 in Austin. The Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium (TEGAC) is pleased to host this second biennial event. TEGAC was formed in 2012 to unify education funders to promote, protect and improve public education in Texas. The membership now consists of trustees and senior staff of 13 large and small private, corporate, and community foundations. As the 2013 Texas Legislature begins, TEGAC is poised to impact the Texas Capitol with its objective data collection and analysis of the local implications of state budget and policy decisions on public education.
TEGAC was created after a large group of education grantmakers came together in Austin to meet with Texas Legislators and policymakers during the 2011 Legislative Session. Building upon this interest, TEGAC was developed to continue this engagement and to better understand the world of education policy and advocacy.
TEGAC is delighted to bring even more education grantmakers to the Texas Capitol on February 27th. Participants will hear directly from top officials charged with writing education budgets and policy, from the state's business and advocacy communities, and from each other. We will hear from Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams and the chairs of both the House and Senate education committees. The meeting will include an opportunity to learn about groundbreaking research findings on the impact of the budget cuts on public education. Public school superintendents and charter school leaders from across the state and leading education advocates are also part of the program. Finally, there will be time built in at the end of the day for individual meetings with legislators.
We are eager to have your participation at this important convening. Please mark your calendars and RSVP to Jennifer Esterline, Project Consultant for TEGAC, at email@example.com or 512.796.4530. Details will be sent out as they are confirmed. We look forward to seeing you on February 27th.
Janet Harman Caprice Young Linda Evans
President and Founder Vice Pres. for Education President
KDK-Harman Fdn. Laura and John Arnold Fdn. Meadows Fdn.
Second Phase of Data Project Findings to be Released
|Doing More With Less: Public Education in a New Fiscal Reality - Phase II Research Findings to be Released!|
Phase II of the research project done by Children At Risk and commissioned by TEGAC will release its findings at the end of the month. Once the findings are released, they will be housed on the Texas Tribune website and accessing the data on the impact of the cuts by school district will be simple. Children At Risk has scheduled a series of press conferences throughout the state. Below are the times and locations for each press conference. Please consider attending one of these events.
Monday January 28th: Houston (10 am)
Location: Children At Risk office (2900 Weslayan St, Suite 400, Houston, TX 77027)
Speakers: Dr. Bob Sanborn, Superintendent Wanda Bamberg (Aldine ISD)
Thursday January 31st: Austin (10 am)
Speakers: Dr. Bob Sanborn, Superintendent Nola Wellman (Eanes ISD), Jennifer Esterline - Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium
Thursday January 31st: San Antonio (2 pm)
Location: San Antonio Area Foundation (303 East Pearl Parkway, Suite 114 San Antonio, TX 78215)
Speakers: Dr. Bob Sanborn, Superintendent Brian Gottardy (Northeast ISD), Linda McDavitt- Orsinger Foundation, Staff from San Antonio Area Foundation
Monday February 4th: Dallas (10 am)
Location: Sam Houston Elementary School (2827 Throckmorton Street, Dallas, TX 75219)
Speakers: Dr. Bob Sanborn, Candace Halfinger (Richardson ISD)
In addition, Children At Risk will be presenting the details of the research findings at the TEGAC event on Wednesday, February 27, 2013 in Austin. Stay tuned for more information!
About Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium
In 2011 the Texas Legislature approved historic cuts to funding for public education. Foundations across Texas have seen successful public/private partnerships threatened or eliminated by budget cuts. Also, demand for scarce foundation dollars is increasing as community groups see their revenues eliminated from school district budgets.
In response, a geographically and politically diverse consortium group of foundations is joining together to promote, protect and improve public education. The Consortium is designed to be a forum and serve as a focal point for organizing philanthropic efforts. In some cases the Consortium seeks to pool funds from multiple foundations to increase the impact of its advocacy efforts. The Consortium is partnering with policymakers, the media, the business community, academics, advocates, parents and others to ensure the broadest dissemination of its work.
Foundations with all levels of interest and experience in advocacy grantmaking are welcome to participate. Because every foundation is different and the needs of the Consortium are so diverse, there is a place for every foundation in the Consortium.
How do foundations join the Consortium?
Foundations are encouraged to become members of the Consortium. When appropriate, members may decide to make a financial contribution to the Consortium. Contributions will cover the costs of research on the impacts of budget cuts, support for multi-foundation events like the 2013 Education Funders Day at the Texas Capitol, and basic administrative overhead such as printing and travel costs. The suggested contribution is $5,000 annually; however, Consortium members are encouraged to contribute at an amount commensurate with their endowment size. The Consortium has created a fund at the Austin Community Foundation to accept contributions. Contributions can be forwarded to the Austin Community Foundation at:
Austin Community Foundation
C/O: Paula Lange, Finance Manager
4315 Guadalupe, Suite 300
Austin, Texas 78751
Tel: 512 472 4483
What are the benefits of membership?
Foundations that join the Consortium will receive:
- Bi-monthly legislative and policy updates
- Up-to-the-minute information on the localized budget impact data produced by CHILDREN AT RISK and available via the Texas Tribune website
- Annual summary of the impact of changes to education funding for all school districts
- Media related exposure (if desired)
- Logo placement on Consortium materials (if desired)
- On-going training on the legal parameters of foundation and nonprofit advocacy
- Participation in the Education Funders Day at the Capitol in February 2013 and 2015
Additionally, members can self-elect to be involved in developing the Consortium's strategy by participating in the Consortium Advisory Circle.
To learn more, please contact
Jennifer Esterline, Project Consultant, Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium at firstname.lastname@example.org or 512.796.4530.