Liberty Hill ISD formally expressed its disapproval of the state’s new A-F accountability rating system in the form of a resolution opposing the Texas Education Agency's recent action.

The resolution, passed by the board of trustees Feb. 20, comes as more than 100 school districts have sued the state agency over concerns that its new system will unlawfully lower ratings for the 2022-23 school year.

Current situation

LHISD is opposing the TEA’s “refreshed” A-F rating system, which has changed how ratings are calculated. Under the new system, districts may receive lower ratings despite student performance improving.

The district’s resolution seeks to do the following:
  • Ensure the rating system is “fair, transparent and effective” in assigning ratings based on "consistent measures, methods and procedures"
  • Oppose retroactive and drastic midyear changes to how districts will receive their ratings for the 2022-23 school year
  • Support the rating system adhering to state law
  • Reform the rating system to include “multiple effective school measures” for every grade level and “a more holistic approach” to assign ratings instead of heavily relying on one standardized test, or the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness
While Superintendent Steven Snell said he did not recommend joining the TEA lawsuit, the resolution has allowed LHISD to join other districts in opposing the new rating system, he said. TEA Commissioner Mike Morath said the majority of school districts were in favor of the system because only 10% of Texas school districts joined the lawsuit, Snell said.

“I don’t think you can defeat big government from the outside,” Snell said about the lawsuit. “I think you have to do it from the inside by talking to legislators and advocating for your district.”

In their own words

“We’re not scared of accountability. We welcome accountability,” Snell said. “We expect to have extremely high expectations for academics and everything else in our district, but it needs to be fair, it needs to be reasonable, and it needs to be right.”

The backstory

The board of trustees passed the resolution months after distinct officials expressed their frustration over changes to the rating system in September.

Although student performance improved, the district did not know what its rating would be under the new system, which Snell described as not good for children, schools or public education at a Sept. 11 special meeting.

On Sept. 12, the TEA announced it would delay the release of the 2022-23 school year ratings to reconsider some of the proposed changes to the system.

Stay tuned

Districts are yet to receive their ratings for the 2022-23 school year as a district court temporarily blocked the agency from issuing new ratings in October.

The case is now with the 3rd Court of Appeals, which is scheduling oral arguments to take place later this spring, LHISD Chief of Schools Travis Motal said.