On Sept. 21, the Leander ISD Board of Trustees voted to adopt a resolution to join other Texas school districts in a lawsuit against the Texas Education Agency and the commissioner of education over failing to properly notify districts of revisions to the state accountability system. 

Every year, the TEA provides a letter rating, A through F to each district and campus in the state. A majority of the rating system relies on student performance on the state’s annual standardized assessment, the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR). In 2022, Leander ISD earned a “B”.

While TEA gave school districts a glimpse of the A-F refresh in March 2023, the agency and commissioner have still not finalized the rules or methodologies that will be used to evaluate schools for the 2022-23 or 2023-24 school years, as required by law. Earlier this month, the commissioner announced a further delay in releasing final rules for the accountability manual and the issuance of the 2023 accountability ratings. 

“The current status seems antithetical to the goal of providing transparency and clarity in the accountability system,” LISD Board President Gloria Gonzales-Dholakia, Ph.D., said. “We believe we have no other choice but to join this lawsuit in an ultimate desire to accurately reflect the success and improvements of #1LISD.”

According to the lawsuit,  the commissioner failed to provide school districts with “a document in a simple, accessible format that explains the accountability performance measures, methods, and procedures that will be applied” for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years. The lawsuit seeks an injunction to stop the commissioner from issuing new ratings using the retroactively applied, yet-to-be-finalized measures.

LISD advocates for higher standards and increased rigor in student performance. Nevertheless, it is essential for school districts throughout Texas to receive sufficient advance notice of how these standards will be implemented, as mandated by law.

“In Leander ISD, we are committed to student growth and empowered learning,” LISD Superintendent Bruce Gearing, Ed.D., said. “Joining this lawsuit is an expression of our dedication to ensuring that all students and schools are evaluated fairly, and that the accountability ratings are based on a system that provides clear signaling of improvement and success.”

In recognition of each and every #1LISD student’s unique education journey, the district has created a Community-Based Accountability System (CBAS) that evaluates the district through multiple measures outlined in its Strategic Plan. The five focus areas include:

  • Empowered Student Learning
  • Empowered Staff
  • Impactful Family Engagement
  • Equitable Access
  • Safe and Innovative Learning Environments

Now in the second year of implementation, the district is releasing its CBAS report at the end of this month and discussing it with the Board during its October 5 meeting.