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Texas HB 3458 Follow-Up
The Texas Deaf Network is very concerned about a harmful bill called HB3458. We feel that Governor Abbott and the House Public Education Committee are conspiring to control the future of our precious Texas School for the Deaf. Their motives are obviously political and suspicious in nature.
You can help by sending a short email to each member on the committee. The two attachments will provide you their emails and headshots. Do feel free to contact your local representative and senator to tell them directly that you oppose HB3458!
There is a link where you can add your comments and simply say that you strongly disagree and oppose HB3458. Here it is: https://legiscan.com/TX/comments/HB3458/202. Please speak up as soon as possible.
There are several groups helping to stop the detrimental bill, including TAD, TSDAA, Deaf TV Foundation, Coalition of Texans with Disabilities and several other concerned groups.
Now is the time to act and prevent our state government from taking over TSD, and affecting the Texas Deaf Community! Our future is at stake!
Bill: HB 3458
Author: Representative Brad Buckley (Public Education Chairman)
Caption: Relating to the composition and leadership of the Governing Board of the Texas School for the Deaf.
HB 3458 would amend Section 30.052(a) of the Texas Education Code by increasing the TSD Board size from 9 to 11 members. The additional two members would be from the public with no specified deaf connection. All the other prescribed affiliations would remain as is. Additionally, the bill adds language that would allow the Governor to appoint the President and the Vice President of the Board. The increase to 11 members also specifies that six persons must be deaf themselves.
Currently, the TSD Governing Board is composed of nine members, each member of the board must be a person who is experienced with working with persons who are deaf or hard of hearing, a person who is the parent of a person who is deaf, or a person who is deaf themselves.
Currently, five of the nine board members must be deaf. (TX Education Code §30.052(a))
Currently, the TSD Board is required to organize and conduct itself in the same manner as an independent school district Board of Trustees to the extent that the organization and conduct do not conflict with the Board’s responsibilities relating to the status of the school as a state agency. (TX Education Code §30.052(d))
The TSD Board, like all independent school district boards, conducts annual elections to determine board officers, including President and Vice President. (This is a well-established best practice in board governance.)
TSD has been conducting effective Board elections for President and Vice-President for decades and the Board is unclear as to why there would be a need to change that process.
Additionally, the current statute in TEC, Section §30.052(a) has served the Board and the School well in ensuring diverse board membership that understands the unique role of TSD in serving deaf students and the deaf community of Texas.
Appointing two members from the public with no knowledge of deafness, deaf education or the unique role of our school would not contribute to advancing TSD’s mission and vision.
Download PDF format: House Public Education Committe (list with email and phone number) and HB 3458 BA 03062023 (Expanded details)