Fort Bend ISD trustee Jim Rice steps into role as Texas Association of School Boards president

"[TASB] advocates for public education and provides knowledge and information to all school board members so they too can be advocates on behalf of their respective school districts in particular and public education in Texas and the nation in general," Jim Rice said. (Courtesy Jim Rice)
"[TASB] advocates for public education and provides knowledge and information to all school board members so they too can be advocates on behalf of their respective school districts in particular and public education in Texas and the nation in general," Jim Rice said. (Courtesy Jim Rice)

"[TASB] advocates for public education and provides knowledge and information to all school board members so they too can be advocates on behalf of their respective school districts in particular and public education in Texas and the nation in general," Jim Rice said. (Courtesy Jim Rice)

Fort Bend ISD trustee Jim Rice is serving as the Texas Association of School Boards president for the 2020-21 year—a role in which he said he will advocate for the betterment of public education.

Through his work at the TASB, at the FBISD board of trustees and as chair of the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce’s Education Division, Rice dedicates a large part of his life to informing himself and others about the importance of education, he said.

“The more that you know and understand about how our community works—from public education, to municipal and state and national government, to our judicial system, to our health and human services that are available in the county—and how you can help, I just felt called to do that,” he said.

Rice will serve as the TASB president during the 87th Texas Legislature, during which representatives from the organization will lobby for or against bills related to public education as directed by TASB members, Rice said.

Heading into the legislative session, Rice said he is focused on ensuring public school funding. During the 86th legislative session in 2019, lawmakers passed House Bill 3, which in part restricted how much property tax growth a school district can take advantage of to 2.5%, saying the state would make up the difference.


Now, as the state faces a $4.8 billion shortfall in revenue caused in part by shrinking sales tax revenue during the coronavirus pandemic, Rice said he fears the state may not be able to fund public education at the level it promised. Rice said while he thinks state lawmakers should remove the 2.5% cap on property tax revenue, he believes it will likely stay in place.

“The state will probably dip partially into its Rainy Day Fund. They won’t fully fund education, and most school districts will be forced to make cuts or possibly ask the public to support a new increase in their maintenance and operation tax rate,” Rice said.

Rice was elected to the FBISD board of trustees in 2010. Along with his wife, Rice has lived in Sugar Land for 40 years, and each of his three children graduated from FBISD. Outside of his work as a trustee, Rice is the founder of Rice & Gardner, a design and construction contract management firm.

Rice said he understands the community’s frustration with public education during the coronavirus pandemic, but he said FBISD administration has worked hard to navigate through these unprecedented times.

“We’re all human,” Rice said. “If I wasn’t on the school board, I’d be critical of us, too. But it’s extremely difficult.”

Rice’s term on the board expires in 2022. He said when the time comes, he will have to seriously consider running for re-election.

“I tell people, ‘Look, when you get elected to the school board, you’re not going to be on the board forever, but while you are, you need to stand and make a positive difference in the lives of all the children,’” Rice said.
By Claire Shoop
Claire joined Community Impact Newspaper in September 2019 as the reporter for the Sugar Land/Missouri City edition. She graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in May 2019 where she studied journalism, government and Arabic. While in school, Claire was a fellow for The Texas Tribune, worked for the student newspaper, The Daily Texan, and spent a semester in Washington, D.C. She enjoys playing cards with her family and listening to the Boss, Bruce Springsteen.


MOST RECENT

Hummingbird Montessori School educates children ages 6 weeks to 6 years. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Hummingbird Montessori School hosting tours, seeking students in Sugar Land

The Montessori school, which opened March 15, is located in the Shops in Riverstone.

Caroline Bordelon's son Caleb, 9, lives with autism. Caleb is nonverbal and has eloped from home many times. Upon learning about the Take Me Home program, Caroline immediately registered Caleb and said the program is greatly needed and gives her peace and comfort for her family. (Courtesy Hope For Three)
Fort Bend County program provides emergency assistance to residents with cognitive disabilities

A new program run through the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office is designed to give people with cognitive disabilities special assistance if they are found alone or in times of emergency.

Dunkin' opened in Missouri City at 6231 Hwy. 6 on April 19. (Courtesy Dunkin')
Dunkin' opens Missouri City location April 19

The global chain serves a variety of coffee beverages as well as doughnuts, bagels and breakfast sandwiches.

Vaccinations at any of Kelsey-Seybold Clinic's 26 Greater Houston-area locations are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. by appointment only at no cost to the individual or family. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Houston-based Kelsey-Seybold Clinic expands vaccine eligibility to age 16 and older

Vaccinations at any of Kelsey-Seybold Clinic's 26 Greater Houston-area locations are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. by appointment only at no cost to the individual or family.

Early voting for the May 1 election runs April 19-27. Here's what you need to know before you head to the polls. (Community Impact staff)
What you need to know to vote in the May election in Sugar Land, Missouri City

Early voting for the May 1 election runs April 19-27. Here's what you need to know before you head to the polls.

Right Mentality offers individual, couples and family counseling to assist with depression, anxiety, trauma, anger management and substance use. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Right Mentality Mental Health and Wellness provides therapy at new Sugar Land location

The practice offers individual, couples and family counseling to assist with depression, anxiety, trauma, anger management and substance use.

Costco Business Centers, of which there are only about 15 in the country, carry different products and provide a different shopping experience to members than do traditional Costco Wholesale stores. (Courtesy Costco Wholesale)
Costco Business Center being built in Stafford; see live music in The Woodlands and more top Houston-area news

Read the top business and community news from the Houston area from the past week.

The program, which began this week in San Marcos, gives Amazon and Whole Foods employees and contractors direct access to COVID-19 vaccinations. (Courtesy Amazon)
Amazon begins rollout of statewide vaccination clinics for employees

The program, which began this week in San Marcos, gives Amazon and Whole Foods employees and contractors direct access to COVID-19 vaccinations.

Memorial Hermann is hosting a drive-thru vaccine clinic at the Smart Financial Center in Sugar Land April 15-16. (Community Impact Newspaper)
Walk-ins welcome at COVID-19 vaccine clinic April 15-16 at Smart Financial Center

Haven't recieved the COVID-19 vaccine yet? Memorial Hermann is hosting a drive-thru clinic from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. in Sugar Land. No appointment necessary.

Federal funding is set aside for public schools to address effects of the pandemic. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Why Texas has not yet distributed $18 billion in federal funds intended for public schools

As budget decisions loom for school districts across Texas, state leaders are holding on to federal funds intended for public schools to use in addressing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Homes priced above $750,000, such as this one in the Heights, saw a surge in sales in March, with almost twice as many properties sold. (Courtesy Houston Association of Realtors)
Average Houston single-family home price jumps 20% in March

The average sale price for a home in March was $370,847.

The proposed change would have moved all city employees except the city manager from a minimum-median-maximum to a defined pay progression plan. (Claire Shoop/Community Impact Newspaper)
Missouri City City Council rejects proposed change to municipal employees' pay plan

The proposed change would have moved all city employees except the city manager from a minimum-median-maximum to a defined pay progression plan.