Harvey Update

1.  The $81 billion appropriation designated to help with all recent disasters passed the US House before the holidays, but did not get a vote in the Senate.  It should be taken up this month.  The package did contain some tuition relief for displaced families, but the details are not certain at this point.

Thank you to all schools who responded to our call for numbers of affected families.  These estimates are very important in asking for federal help.  We will keep watching and advocating for the needs of private school schools, students, and families.

2.  Funds for transportation, psychological counseling, and substitute teacher expenses due to the hurricane were included in the Project SERV grant.  Texas applied for this grant and was awarded $2 million for all schools, both public and private.  As you can see, this is not a large allocation for each school.  We are hopeful that another allocation will supplement these funds.

They will be distributed as equitable services through the local school district.  Please contact your local school district for details.  If you would like to see the amount awarded each district or charter school, please email us at:  [email protected] and we will send you that spreadsheet.

3.  Houses of worship are now eligible for FEMA funding, not just schools.  More information here.

January Featured Schools

Congratulations to our featured schools of the month: Ambleside School of San Angelo, Holy Cross Christian Academy in Burleson, Resurrection Catholic School in Houston, Scenic Hills Christian SDA School in San Antonio, and St. Paul Lutheran School Serbin. TPSA is proud to represent them and be the public voice for these amazing private schools.

School Marshal Update

The school marshal bill that became law this past summer has gone through some rule changes. 

Private school representatives may begin to take the classes at the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement beginning in May of 2018.  There are also some reporting requirements, such as reporting when school marshals serving on private school campuses are no longer employed and/or no longer qualified to be a school marshal. 

More information may be found here.

Join Us in Houston, Midland, and Austin this Semester!


Join us in Houston on Tuesday, January 30th
from 11 - 1pm
at Second Baptist SchoolRepresentative Tom Oliverson will be with us.

or if you are in Midland on Wednesday, February 7th from 11 - 1pm, join us at Midland Christian SchoolRepresentative Brooks Landgraf will be with us.

Save the date for March 22nd for a district meeting in Austin at lunchtime at Hyde Park School.  More details to come!

All of these meetings include lunch and a discussion with legislators about private schools in the public sphere.  You do not need to be a member of TPSA to attend. 

Please email [email protected] to rsvp or for more information about any of these events. 

New Tax Law and Private Schools

The tax reform package that passed before the holidays expanded the use of 529 plans from qualified college expenses only to up to $10,000 per year for private K-12 school tuition as well.  529 plans are state-sponsored investment plans that receive special tax benefits.  Post-tax money is invested in these accounts and they grow tax deferred, and qualified withdrawals are federal tax free.

More information about these investment accounts may be found hereThe Council for American Private Education Outlook also has an article with more details about this important change to our tax laws as well as other provisions that affect private schools.

CAPE Announces New Executive Director
Joe McTighe to Retire

 The board of directors of the Council for American Private Education (CAPE), announced the appointment of Michael Schuttloffel (pronounced shut-lawful) as executive director effective July 1, 2018.

In accepting the position, Schuttloffel, currently the executive director of the Kansas Catholic Conference, called CAPE, "an organization with a respected past and a promising future for serving the religious and independent school community in the United States." 

Michael played a central role in the passage of the first school choice bill in Kansas - a tax credit scholarship signed into law in 2014.  He also has a Texas connection!  He was an advisor to the governor of Texas before becoming a congressional advisor in DC. 

Michael assumes the post being vacated by Joe McTighe, who is retiring after effectively serving this organization and representing private schools nationally for the past 21 years.  Joe and his wife, Trish, have elevated the stature, visibility, and effectiveness of this important organization.

During his retirement speech at the private school leadership conference at the US Department of Education, Joe brilliantly highlighted the history of private school education in the US, posed a contemporary challenge, and commented on the future of private schools in this country. Joe's intelligence and great humor makes these remarks some not to be missed for anyone involved in private schools. 

Joe and Trish will be sorely missed, but CAPE is in great hands with Michael!

Interested in education policy?  The US Department of Education sponsors a school ambassador program for educators to be involved in the development and implementation of national education policy.  More information may be found here.  Application deadline is January 31st, 2018.

The Center for Disease Control has regional training workshops for educators interested in bringing public health sciences into middle- and high-school classrooms.  More information may be found here.

Is your school a green school?  The US Department of Education recognizes schools that show:  (1) reduced environmental impact and costs, (2) improved health and wellness, and (3) effective environmental and sustainability education.  More information found here.

Thank You Sponsors!

If you are a principal of a Catholic school, please await instruction from your Diocesan Superintendent before taking action on this email