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Belton ISD Board Approves Resolution to Join Lawsuit Against TEA

On Friday, September 15, the Belton ISD Board of Trustees held a Special Board Meeting and approved a resolution indicating their intention to join a lawsuit directed at the Texas Education Agency (TEA). 


Board President Manuel Alcozer said BISD is joining other districts across the state in the lawsuit because, “the TEA and Education Commissioner Mike Morath violated state law when they missed key deadlines in changing the state accountability system. In fact, the commissioner had an obligation before August 15 to publish both the accountability standards along with publishing the district and school ratings.”


The Board of Trustees has been advocating for accountability reform since last October when it approved its Legislative Priorities. Trustees and staff met with lawmakers throughout the Legislative Session and specifically asked local representatives to address the TEA’s lack of transparency and thoughtful leadership in the accountability system changes. BISD also sent a letter to representatives last spring. 


“Today’s action by the Board of Trustees is in direct alignment with our letter to local lawmakers in the spring. We specifically expressed concerns regarding TEA’s delay in finalizing the accountability system and the need for districts to have advanced notice,” said Superintendent Dr. Matt Smith. 


Trustees also advocated for the state to limit the STAAR assessments to only those necessary to meet federal requirements and support efforts to develop and implement more effective, targeted assessment systems for student learning and growth. They requested support in the creation of Community Based Accountability Systems to better reflect the desires of the Belton ISD community. 


On September 12, the TEA announced they would delay the release of accountability ratings to reanalyze data and adjust the score thresholds for the accountability formula.  


Regardless of the delay, the BISD Board of Trustees feels that joining the lawsuit is the right thing to do. The district’s cost to join the lawsuit is $13,500. “We are just asking the Commissioner to comply with the law,” said Alcozer. “Putting so much emphasis on one test and then changing the rules isn’t fair and it isn’t right.”


Thompson & Horton LLP are representing the Intervenors in this lawsuit.


September 15, 2023