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House Public Education Committee to Consider Bills on Testing, Funding, and More

03.19.2015 — The Texas House Public Education Committee will meet at 2 p.m., or upon final adjournment of the House, on Tuesday, March 24, to hear testimony on the following bills: 
  • HB 462 by Craig Goldman – would require the commissioner of education to determine a method by which a student’s successful completion of a dual-credit course could be used to satisfy the requirements concerning an EOC assessment instrument in an equivalent subject.
  • HB 506 by Eddie Rodriguez – would allow certain school districts to adopt an interest and sinking fund (I&S) tax rate equal to an amount per $100 of valuation that is 20 percent greater than the current $0.50 per $100 limitation. The bill would also require the board of a district with an I&S tax rate of $0.45 or greater per $100 of valuation to adopt a capital improvement plan that addresses the district’s needs for additional or renovated facilities.
  • HB 742 by Dan Huberty, et al. – would eliminate the fourth- and seventh-grade writing and eighth-grade social studies STAAR tests, as well as the the U.S. History EOC exam.
  • HB 743 by Huberty – would require that before it is administered, an assessment instrument be determined to be valid and reliable, based on empirical evidence, by an independent entity. The bill requires TEA to ensure that an assessment instrument is designed to primarily assess the TEKS identified by the SBOE for the subject and grade level for which it is administered.
  • HB 767 by Wayne Smith, et al. – would require school districts to require students who are otherwise required by UIL to receive a physical examination prior to participating in a UIL athletic activity to also have an electrocardiogram before participating in the activity, including practice, once before the student’s first year of participation and again before the student’s third year of participation.
  • HB 917 by Jason Villalba – relates to school marshals for private schools, notifying a parent or guardian of whether an employee of a public or private school is appointed school marshal, and the confidentiality of information submitted to or collected by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement in connection with a certification for appointment as school marshal.
  • HB 1164 by Gary VanDeaver – would change references to the subject of writing in current law regarding assessment instruments or EOC assessments to English language arts or language arts respectively. The bill also specifies that a writing sample submitted with an assessment instrument could not be used to assess a student's writing for purposes of accountability, grade promotion, or graduation criteria. The assessment of a student's writing would be governed by new Education Code 39.0264, which would require each school district to assess students in grades 4 and 7 and at the end of English I and II secondary-level courses in accordance with the writing TEKS. A district could use any method the district deems appropriate for this assessment, including portfolio assessment.
  • HB 1305 by Greg Bonnen, et al. – relates to local programs to provide free or reduced-price breakfast to eligible students attending public schools and the method of determining the number of educationally disadvantaged students.
  • HB 1474 by VanDeaver – would change the requirement that the SBOE set aside funds from the permanent school fund to the available school fund to be placed in the state instructional materials fund from each year to each biennium. The bill requires that an amount of money equal to the total biennium distribution be placed in the state instructional materials fund by the 30th day after the first fiscal year of the biennium begins. It also requires the comptroller, in connection with installment transfers of funds from the general revenue fund to the foundation school fund, to permit TEA to make temporary transfers from the foundation school fund for payment of the instructional materials allotment. These temporary transfers could impact the timing of transferring installments and the amount.
  • HB 1843 by Jimmie Don Aycock – would require the commissioner of education to develop and make available literacy achievement academies for teachers who instruct students in kindergarten or first, second, or third grades. The commissioner would adopt criteria for selecting teachers to attend an academy, with priority given to teachers employed by districts in which 50 percent or more of the students are educationally disadvantaged. A teacher who attends an academy would be entitled to a stipend as determined by the commissioner; this stipend would not be considered in determining whether the district is paying the teacher the minimum monthly salary. HB 1843 is identical to SB 925.
  • HB 2349 by Aycock – would allow a student to earn a performance acknowledgement on the student’s diploma and transcript with outstanding performance on an established, valid, reliable, and nationally norm-referenced preliminary college preparation assessment instrument used to measure a student’s progress toward readiness for college and the workplace, or on an established, valid, reliable, and nationally norm-referenced assessment instrument used by colleges and universities as part of their undergraduate admissions process, or for earning a state-recognized industry certification or license. The bill also includes provisions on EOC assessments and junior college enrollment.
  • HB 2610 by Ken King – would require each school district to operate so that it provides for at least 75,600 minutes (rather than 180 days) of instruction, including intermissions and recesses, for students. The bill says that if the commissioner of education does not approve reduced instruction time under Subsection (b), a school district may add additional minutes to the end of the district’s normal school hours as necessary to compensate for minutes of instruction lost due to school closures caused by disaster, flood, extreme weather conditions, fuel curtailment, or another calamity. The bill also prevents school districts from scheduling the last day of a school year for students before May 15.
  • HB 2810 by King – would require, that for any biennium, the SBOE could issue proclamations only for instructional materials in which the total projected cost of instructional materials under the proclamations did not exceed 75 percent of the total amount used to fund the instructional materials allotment under Section 31.0211 for that biennium.
  • HB 2811 by King – would require that proclamations be issued only during the second year of a biennium. The bill also states that, for any biennium, the SBOE could issue proclamations only for instructional materials in which the total projected cost of instructional materials under the proclamations did not exceed 75 percent of the total amount used to fund the instructional materials allotment under Section 31.0211 for that biennium. It also states that the SBOE could issue a proclamation for only supplemental instructional materials instead of a proclamation for instructional materials that are not supplemental, if the supplemental instructional materials are sufficient for the subject addressed in the proclamation.

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