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Senate Education Committee Passes House’s Pre-K Bill, Senate Home-School UIL Bill, More

05.01.2015 — The Senate Education Committee passed the following bills on Thursday:

  • HB 4 by Dan Huberty, et al. would give schools at least $130 million, up to $1,500 per student, to improve pre-K programs in districts that meet certain requirements. It was passed by the full House April 9. Read the latest version.

  • CSSB 161 by Jose Rodríguez, as filed, would increase the weight for bilingual or ESL in the FSP from 0.10 to 0.25.
  • SB 674 by Donna Campbell would require that any minimum academic qualifications for a certificate that require a person to possess a bachelor’s degree must also require that the person receive instruction regarding mental health, substance abuse, and youth suicide. SB 674 is identical to HB 2218.

  • CSSB 811 by Jose Rodríguez, as filed, would require a school district to provide a child’s IEP translated into the parent’s native language in audiotape form if requested by the parent.
  • SB 968 by Royce West would require the SBOE to adopt TEKS for the health curriculum that address the dangers, causes, consequences, signs, symptoms, and treatment of nonmedical use of prescription drugs. TEA would be required to compile a list of evidence-based prescription drug misuse awareness programs from which a district would choose a program to use in its middle, junior high, and high school health curricula. SB 968 is identical to HB 1820.
  • SB 996 by Van Taylor would require a school district or open-enrollment charter school to provide a parent or guardian written notice indicating whether any school employee is currently appointed a school marshal if the parent or guardian inquires in writing. The notice could not disclose confidential information. The bill would also make confidential all information, not just identifying information, about those who train for appointment as school marshals. SB 996 is identical to HB 370.
  • CSSB 1178 Donald Huffines would, as substituted, require an interim study of education savings accounts through which the state would provide a student annual funding equal to 80 percent of the total average per student funding amount in the school district the child would otherwise attend to use on education-related expenses, including tuition to private school or homeschool materials. 

  • CSSB 1216 by Paul Bettencourt, et al., as filed, would initiate a sunset review of each county board of education, board of county school trustees, and office of county school superintendent in a county with a population of 3.3 million or more.
  • CSSB 1259 by Jose Rodríguez, as filed, would require the statewide plan to ensure that each district develops a process to be used by a teacher who instructs a student with a disability in a regular classroom setting to provide input into the student’s IEP. The bill would also provide that the regular education teacher who serves as a member of a student’s ARD committee should be a teacher who is responsible for implementing a portion of the student’s IEP. The committee would develop a written report that would document the decisions of the committee with respect to issues discussed at the meeting. The report would include specific information in accordance with federal regulations, including an indication of each member’s agreement or disagreement with the committee’s decisions. The members who disagree would be offered the opportunity to write their own statements of disagreement. SB 1259 is identical to HB 3991.

  • CSSB 1479 by Sylvia Garcia, as filed, would require a school district to provide a reasonable amount of break time at appropriate intervals to accommodate an educator’s desire to express breast milk for the educator’s child under one year of age, and provide a private location in close proximity to the educator’s work area, other than a toilet stall or restroom, with an accessible electrical outlet and a locking door.
  • SB 1497 by Van Taylor would require a school district, open-enrollment charter school, or shared services arrangement to discharge or refuse to hire an employee or applicant if the employee or applicant has been convicted of a felony, an offense that requires registration as a sex offender, an offense equivalent to either of the foregoing under federal or another state’s law, or a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude. SB 1497 is identical to HB 4006.

  • SB 1568 by Eddie Lucio relates to the issuance of interest-bearing time warrants by school districts. It changes the number of years over which warrants will mature from 15 to 20.
  • SB 1825 by Brandon Creighton would allow the commissioner to extend the authority of a board of managers for up to two additional years if, before the second anniversary of the appointment date, the commissioner determines that insufficient progress has been made toward improving the academic or financial performance of the district. SB 1825 is identical to HB 3106.

  • SB 2046 by Van Taylor would require a public school that participates in a UIL activity to allow a home-schooled student, who otherwise meets league eligibility standards, to represent that school in a league activity. A home-schooled student would have to demonstrate grade-level academic proficiency by fulfilling certain requirements.
  • CSSB 1897 by Larry Taylor would allow the commissioner to grant more than one charter for an open-enrollment charter school to a charter holder if the additional charter is for an open-enrollment charter school that has a different purpose or serves a different student population from the charter holder’s existing open-enrollment charter school or schools. The committee substitute would not count the first year of a newly opened charter school’s accountability ratings for purposes of closure provisions requiring a poor-performing charter to be closed after three years. The substitute also allows a charter holder to expand as long as 90 percent of its campuses are not academically unacceptable (current law is 100 percent). The committee substitute would prohibit the creation of new charters to prevent the masking of performance of some campuses by others. The substitute also removes reconstitution of a charter from the sanctions available under the bill.