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House Public Education Committee to Consider HB 1759 School Finance Reform Bill and SB 149 Graduation Bill Among Others April 6-7

04.02.2015 — The Texas House Public Education Committee will meet Monday, April 6, at 1 p.m. to consider pending business, then on Tuesday, April 7, at 2 p.m. to consider the following bills, as introduced:

  • HB 744 by Dan Huberty – would eliminate the clause “on a school campus” from current law that allows a school board to purchase insurance against bodily injury sustained by students training for or engaging in interschool athletic competition or engaging in school-sponsored activities.

  • HB 1170 by Marsha Farney – would specify that an open-enrollment charter school is considered to be a political subdivision for purposes of Local Government Code, Chapter 172, and a local government for purposes of Government Code, Chapters 791 and 2259, except that a charter school may not issue public securities under 2259.031(b). The bill would also allow an open-enrollment charter school to elect to extend workers’ compensation benefits to employees through any method available to a political subdivision under Labor Code, Chapter 504.

  • HB 1171 by Farney – would provide that an open-enrollment charter school, charter holder, employees, volunteers, or governing body members are immune to the same extent as a school district or its employees, volunteers, or trustees. The bill would define an open-enrollment charter school as a governmental unit for purposes of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code, Chapter 101, and subject to liability only as a school district is under that chapter. An open-enrollment charter school would be considered a local government for purposes of payment on a tort claim under Civil Practice and Remedies Code, Chapter 102, and a local governmental entity for purposes of contract liability under Local Government Code, Chapter 271, Subchapter I, and only liable as a school district is under that law.

  • HB 1706 by Gary VanDeaver, et al. – would mandate that the commissioner of education’s periodic review of required reports and paperwork include a comparison of those required by state and federal law. The commissioner would have to eliminate any required by state law that duplicates the content of those required by federal law. The bill would also require superintendents to ensure that a copy of any report required by federal law, rule, or regulation is also delivered to TEA. HB 1706 is identical to SB 502.

  • HB 1759 by Jimmie Don Aycock – would require the commissioner of education to adopt rules providing for the distribution of state revenue for the maintenance and operation of public schools and the support of instructional facilities and school district debt. State revenue would be defined as state financial assistance formerly distributed under Education Code Chapters 42 and 46 as they existed on January 1, 2015. (This is the school finance reform bill that must pass for public schools to receive the additional $800 million that the Texas House announced it would add to the budget on March 25. Read more.)

  • HB 1796 by Dwayne Bohac, et al. – would modify several provisions related to assignment and transfer of students and change the transportation allotment. Read the full bill.

  • HB 1798 by Joe Deshotel, et al. – would replace the home-rule school district charter as an option with the local control school district. Many current statutes that apply to home-rule school district charters would be amended to apply to local control school districts. The bill would allow an independent school district to begin operation as a local control school district under a local control plan after approval of a proposed plan by registered voters of the district. Read the full bill.

  • HB 1804 by Elliott Naishtat – would subject campuses and open-enrollment charter schools to current law requiring notice to the educational decision-maker and caseworker for a child in substitute care regarding events that may significantly impact the education of the child.

  • HB 1993 by J.D. Sheffield – would allow a school district that uses an electronic platform to communicate student grade and performance information to parents to permit parents to sign required notices of student performance electronically so long as the district retains a record verifying the parent’s acknowledgment of the required notice. A district that accepts electronic signatures would be required to offer parents the option to provide a handwritten signature.

  • HB 2543 by Farney, et al. – would address numerous issues related to teacher appraisals, professional development, and compensation, including deleting classroom teachers from the current minimum salary schedule and imposing a requirement that each district pay a minimum monthly salary to each classroom teacher of $2,754. Read the full bill.

  • HB 2545 by Sheffield – would provide that a student who is at least 21 but under 26 years old is eligible to participate in a school district’s special education program if the student is otherwise eligible for the program under Education Code 29.003, and the district admits students of this age under 25.001(b).  
  • SB 149 by Kel Seliger, et al. – would allow a student who passes all classes but fails up to two EOC exams to graduate with the unanimous approval of an individual graduation committee composed of teachers, counselors, administrators, and parents. It also requires the graduation committee to assign a project or portfolio of work as a demonstration of proficiency in the subject area in which the student failed the EOC. (The full Senate passed this bill on March 17.)
Watch the live broadcasts of both the April 6 and April 7 meetings.