The Oldest Blog
A first amendment blog for school administrators and attorneys.
A recent amendment to Section 11.156 of the Education Code (House Bill 1525) requires school districts to use PTA donations designated to fund supplemental educational staff positions for that purpose for the 2021-2022 school year. The amendments were effective on September 1, 2021, after school districts finalized their budgets for the 2021-2022 school year and after most school districts finalized their staffing plans for the year.
In a recent opinion, the Texas Attorney General expressed his opinion that a school district must comply with HB 1525’s requirements for the 2021-2022 school year no matter when the PTA received the funds – if the campus has directed the funds be spent for that purpose during the school year. The AG does not analyze who has the authority to speak for the campus.
The opinion acknowledges that this reading of Section 11.156 would require the Board to amend its budget to comply with Texas Education Code Section 44.006, which prohibits school districts from spending public funds, including donated funds, in a manner other than as provided in the District’s budget. The AG did not address that districts must still comply with all federal laws regarding spending. That includes the requirement that districts receiving Title I funding provide comparable services at their campuses that receive Title I assistance and their campuses that do not. 20 U.S.C. § 6321(c).
Attorney General opinions are advisory only, although the courts give them some deference. Schools should work with legal counsel to determine how to balance Section 11.156 with other legal requirements during the 2021-2022 school year.
Read the full attorney general opinion here.