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House Public Ed Committee to Hear Nearly 20 Bills, including HB 1759 on School Finance, April 14

04.09.2015 — The House Public Education Committee will get an early start Tuesday, April 14, meeting at 8 a.m. to hear public testimony on nearly 20 bills, including the House’s school finance reform bill, HB 1759. The bills on the agenda include:

School Funding
  • HB 1759 by Jimmie Don Aycock – would add approximately $3 billion above the funding needed to cover enrollment growth to the House budget allocation for public schools and make other changes to current law on school finance. The committee encourages witnesses testifying on, for, or against HB 1759 to bring written suggestions for the bill.
  • HB 2293 by Drew Darby – would require the comptroller to certify the final taxable value for each school district, appropriately adjusted to give effect to certain provisions of the Education Code related to school funding, to the commissioner as provided by the terms of a memorandum of understanding between the comptroller and the commissioner. HB 2293 is identical to SB 1065.
  • HB 2449 by Sylvester Turner – would require the commissioner to make grants available to school districts to assist them in covering the cost of educating students with disabilities residing in care and treatment facilities, other than state schools, whose parents or guardians do not reside in the district providing services.
  • HB 2451 by Dan Huberty – would require a school district to maintain a minimum balance of undesignated funds in the district’s general fund that is not less than the district’s general operating expenses for 90 days.

Accountability/Reform

  • HB 2804 by Jimmie Don Aycock – would require each school district to assess students in science, social studies, and writing. The commissioner would adopt by rule an approved list of assessment instruments for science and writing and rubrics that establish criteria for selecting, compiling, and evaluating student-produced work in science, social studies, and writing. Each district would adopt a policy that requires assessment of students in these subjects during specified grades. TEA would provide training in evaluating student work under the approved rubrics.
  • HB 1536 by Harold Dutton – would establish the Texas Opportunity School District (TOSD) and require the commissioner to determine, after a campus has been identified as unacceptable for two consecutive school years, whether the district has instituted meaningful change, including reconstituting the staff or leadership at the campus. If so, the commissioner could reevaluate the campus after the conclusion of the subsequent school year; if not, the district superintendent could operate the campus with the same powers and authority granted to the superintendent of the TOSD to operate a campus placed under its jurisdiction unless the commissioner orders one or more of the following: reconstitution; repurposing; alternative management; or placement in the TOSD.
  • HB 1891 by Eddie Rodriguez, et al. – would define a community school as a public elementary, middle, junior high, or high school that partners with one of more community-based organizations, as defined in the bill, to coordinate academic, social, and health services to reduce barriers to learning and improve the quality of education for students in the community. A public school could transition to a community school if it takes five specific steps culminating in approval from at least 75 percent of campus faculty and staff, 75 percent of parents of students at the school, and the school board. A low-performing school transitioning to a community school would receive district-level support to assist it in developing and implementing the community school plan. HB 1981 is identical to SB 1483.
  • HB 1892 by Eddie Rodriguez, et al. – would require TEA to establish a competitive grant program by November 1, 2015, to assist schools in developing community school plans and transitioning into community schools.
  • HB 3106 by Dan Huberty – 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. HB 3106 is identical to SB 1825.

Counselors

  • HB 18 by Jimmie Don Aycock – would require the commissioner to develop and make available postsecondary education and career counseling academies for school counselors employed at middle, junior high, or high school.
  • HB 1434 by Ruth Jones McClendon, et al. – would require a school district with a campus with an ADA of at least 250 that receives additional state aid for this purpose to assign at each campus with at least 250 students at least one full-time school psychologist, licensed professional counselor, licensed clinical social worker, or certified school counselor. The bill would provide additional state aid to assist districts in employing the required school psychologists, licensed professional counselors, licensed clinical social workers, or certified school counselors.

Dual Credit

  • HB 2812 by Drew Springer – would repeal state law that limits the number of dual-credit courses in which students can enroll under certain circumstances.

Staff Development

  • HB 2224 by Joe Deshotel – would require the commissioner to develop and award grants to school districts, regional education service centers, nonprofit organizations, and institutions of higher education for establishing and providing advanced leadership development activities in the staff development training of principals and other administrators. HB 2224 is identical to SB 1036.

Student Health/Well-being

  • HB 2186 by Byron Cook – would require certain school district employees to participate at least once annually in training pertaining to early mental health interventions, mental health promotion and positive youth development, substance abuse prevention and intervention, and suicide prevention.
  • HB 2323 by Cesar Blanco – would require the executive commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission, in cooperation with TEA, to adopt rules for the mandatory spinal screening of girls in grades 5 and 7 and boys in grade 8 attending public or private schools.
  • HB 2847 by Myra Crownover, et al. – would require the commissioner of state health services to establish an advisory committee to consider and advise the commissioner of state health services on the administration of epinephrine auto-injectors to a person experiencing an anaphylactic reaction on a school campus. The bill would allow each school district or open-enrollment charter school to adopt and implement a policy for the maintenance, administration, and disposal of epinephrine auto-injectors at each campus.
  • HB 3562 by Senfronia Thompson – relates to the adoption of a policy allowing a grace period after the exhaustion of the balance of a meal card or account used by students to purchase meals in public schools.

Transportation

  • HB 1135 by Sergio Muñoz, Jr. – would require the commissioner, in determining a district’s regular transportation allotment, to include transportation provided by the district for a student attending a dual-credit course during the school day, including transportation from one campus to another inside the district and from the district to another public secondary school or public institution of higher education.  

Watch the live broadcast.