Hello TAD Members,
I am very excited about the Sympo event scheduled for October 1. I very much wish I could be with you, but I will be attending the Gallaudet Board Meeting, including the swearing in events for the new President.
Karl asked me to summarize TSD’s legislative agenda for this upcoming 85th Legislative Session. So, here it is in a nutshell…
We will be presenting five requests for exceptional items, which, basically means five requests for increases in funding above our current base budget.
The first is to restore the mandatory 4% reduction that all state agencies were required to make. We requested an exemption from this as a public education agency but that was not approved---hence---we will make it our first priority to restore these funds, which is---$1,447,810.
The second exceptional item is a request for additional instructional and support staff. Our student population continues to grow and become more diverse, including many students with special needs that require a lot of support services. Our current funding is just not sufficient to provide the kind of staff support that we need. We are requesting a variety of positions in this exceptional item from teachers, to counselors, to IEP facilitators and 1:1 support professionals—a total of 10.3 new positions and this request totals $1,016,000.
Our third exceptional item is a request for dormitory furniture. We really need to replace much of our living room and bedroom furnishings that have not been replaced since 1997. As you can imagine thousands of students have used this furniture over the past 19 years and the condition is not acceptable to providing a warm and welcoming home environment for our residential students.
Our fourth exceptional item is a small amount of funds, $30,000 to assist our financial migration to the State CAPPS system—Centralized Accounting and Payroll and Personnel System.
Our fifth and final request relates to new and re-purposed facilities identified in our current Master Plan. During the previous 84th Legislative Session, the Texas Facilities Commission, TFC, was awarded funds to prepare a master plan for the TSD campus. We have been working in collaboration with PSC architects and TFC in seeking staff and community input. We will be making a $44 million dollar request based on Facility Condition assessments, enrollment projections, and academic space needs. The first phase of the Master Plan includes:
- A new Toddler Learning Center
- Clinger Gym renovations
- A new multi-purpose Auditorium and
- A Central Services Building.
This week on September 21, there will be an Open Community Forum on the Master Plan and we hope all of you will attend.
I appreciate the ongoing opportunity to collaborate with TAD. I think we are better and stronger together as we move forward to ensure that deaf and hard of hearing students and adults have the best possible services in our state.