By George Slaughter
The Texas Legislature did not pass legislation to provide funding for virtual schools, and as a result the Katy Independent School District said it is unable to provide a virtual high school option to its students this fall.
The legislature’s regular session ended May 31. Gov. Greg Abbott has not called a special session, nor is it immediately clear whether virtual school funding would be on that agenda. In a special session, legislators can only consider items that the governor places on that agenda.
Katy schools open for in-person learning August 18.
Last month, school trustees voted to proceed with the development of a virtual high school, pending funding and guidance from the state. The virtual high school was to be considered a stand-alone, tuition-free virtual high school campus.
The district in April surveyed parents about their interest in seeing such a school established. The district said more than 1,200 responses were received that indicated interest.
In a letter to parents sent Friday, the district said it continues to offer supplemental paid online courses through its Katy Virtual School. The virtual school is for students interested in pursuing online coursework outside of the regular school day. The district also encouraged families to visit its Summer Enrichment Activities website for other summer activities.
The virtual school is different from the proposed virtual high school. Both the virtual school and the proposed virtual high school are different from the Katy Virtual Academy, which the district created to provide online learning during the pandemic when businesses and public facilities were closed.
The virtual academy ceased operation June 1 as district officials planned to return to in-person learning.