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News and Announcements

Judge Rules Texas School Finance System Unconstitutional 8/28/14

State District Judge John Dietz ruled August 28 that the system Texas uses to fund public education is unconstitutional. The ruling came after the judge re-opened the trial to consider new evidence related to 2013 legislative action. The trial brought by hundreds of Texas school districts, including RISD, against the state of Texas began in October of 2012. Judge Dietz held that the school finance system has evolved into an unconstitutional state property tax and that the system fails to provide the plaintiff districts access to enough funding to provide a constitutionally adequate education.

"We applaud Judge Dietz's ruling, which is a victory for students, parents and educators," said RISD Superintendent Dr. Kay Waggoner. "It is the critical first step in bringing adequate funding to all Texas school districts." The ruling is widely expected to be appealed by the state of Texas, eventually or directly to the Texas Supreme Court.

Mark Trachtenberg, a partner with Haynes and Boone, LLP, and one of the attorneys representing the group of school districts that includes RISD, said at the time of the initial ruling "Judge Dietz's ruling is the first step in an important process. While we expect that the Texas Supreme Court will ultimately have its say, there is no reason why the Legislature has to wait on the appeals process before addressing the constitutional deficiencies in the system. Because of statutory mandates, rising academic standards, and declining state funding, districts have lost meaningful discretion over their local property tax rates and have no opportunity to provide enrichment programming desired by their local communities."

 
 

ACT Participation Doubles as RISD Only District in Texas to Offer Exam Free to Juniors 

For the last two years, Richardson ISD has been the only district in Texas to offer the ACT college entrance exam free-of-charge to all junior students at their home campuses during the school day. This unique effort has introduced the college entrance process to hundreds of additional students than otherwise traditionally participate. Overall, more than 95% of RISD's Class of 2014 took the ACT, compared with 40% in Texas and 57% in the United States.

RISD was able to offer the exam through a collaborative effort with ACT in its District Choice School Testing Program, the first school district in Texas to participate. "We believe that this notable decision was important for the success of all our students," explained Dr. Kay Waggoner, RISD Superintendent. "When all students are able take the ACT for college entry at their own campus where they are comfortable, and without the barrier of cost, they increase their chances of attending college."

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Patranella Named O. Henry Principal  8/15/14

RISD Superintendent Kay Waggoner announced today that Mr. Frank Patranella has accepted the position of principal at O. Henry Elementary School. He comes to O. Henry from Lake Highlands Elementary, where he has been the assistant principal since 2011.

"I'm excited that Mr. Frank Patranella will be leading O. Henry Elementary," said Dr. Waggoner. "His background and experience is a great fit for O. Henry, and I invite parents, students and staff to join me in welcoming him to the OHE family."

Mr. Patranella has been with RISD for nine years, beginning as a classroom teacher and also serving as a TAP master teacher. He holds a bachelor's degree in Education from the University of Dallas and a master's degree in Education Administration from Lamar University.

 
 

LHE's Born Named National Finalist  8/14/14

Lake Highlands Elementary Kindergarten teacher Anne Born has been named a finalist for the 2014 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics & Science Teaching. The award recognizes K-6 science & math teachers who use innovative methods to bring teaching to life. It is the highest recognition a mathematics or science teacher may receive for exemplary teaching in the United States. The awards are made biannually, and the national winner will be announced in the summer of 2015.

Congratulations!

 
 
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