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House Public Ed Votes Out HB 21 School Finance Bill, 7 Others and Considers 20 More, Several on Charter Schools

03.28.2017 — On Tuesday, March 28, the House Public Education Committee heard testimony on 20 bills. Early in the meeting, the committee voted out HB 21 on school finance, as well as seven others. Those bills will now go to the full House for consideration.


Bills Recommended for Consideration by the Full House

  • CSHB 21 (Huberty), heard by the committee on March 7, 14, and 21, as substituted, would allocate $1.9 billion in additional funding to public schools and lower recapture. It would move funding for transportation, the current high school allotment and Additional State Aid for Non-Professional Staff to the basic allotment; expand the career and technology education allotment to students in technology applications courses for high school credit and to grade 8 (currently 9-12); increase the weight for bilingual students from .1 to .11; add a .1 weight for students with dyslexia or related disorders; repeal the hold harmless provision for districts identified as Chapter 41 in 1993; and provide $200 million (total for the biennium) in hardship grants that would consider the loss of ASATR for purposes of calculating the grants but would not extend ASATR. Huberty thanked all those who provided input on the bill as it was modified during the past few weeks and stated: “We didn’t help everybody, but we tried. The biggest change is getting rid of the hardship grant for Chapter 41, but the reality is that wasn’t supposed to last for 25 years. We have to look at the whole here.” The committee substitute was adopted and the bill was voted out 10 to 1, with Rep. Morgan Meyer voting against because it would increase recapture for Highland Park ISD. See the updated model runs for CSHB 21 for 2018 and 2019. Also see a handout on the provisions of the substitute bill.
  • HB 657 (Bernal), heard by the committee on March 22, would require a student’s ARD committee to set a meeting date no later than five days after the date the district receives assessment results and to meet prior to the student being administered the test again. It would also allow the ARD committee to promote the student to the next grade level if the committee concludes that the student has made sufficient progress in the measurable academic goals contained in the student’s IEP. The intent of the bill is to reduce the number of unnecessary tests a special education student must take. A committee substitute was adopted but is not yet posted.

  • HB 789 (Meyer), heard on March 22, would allow the board of Highland Park ISD in Region 10 to establish a minimum required score for each section of an exam for acceleration or an exam for credit approved by the board that is higher than the minimum required scores, respectively (90 percent rather than 80 percent).

  • HB 1291 (Geren), heard on March 14, would require the SBOE and school districts to ensure that: 1) the public school curriculum emphasizes an understanding of the principles underlying the U.S. form of government, including the study of the Founding Fathers, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Federalist Papers; 2) each historical event addressed in the curriculum meets a reasonable standard of historical significance, in relation to the limited amount of available instructional time; 3) any issue included in the curriculum that is considered controversial is presented in a balanced manner that includes multiple viewpoints regarding the issue; and 4) any curriculum generated, purchased, or otherwise obtained by a district, including dual credit, AP, and IB social studies courses, is in compliance with the appropriate TEKS. A committee substitute was adopted but is not yet posted.

  • HB 1731 (King, Ken), heard on March 22, would exclude students receiving treatment in a residential facility who leave that facility and fail to enroll in school in the determination of dropout rates for the school and district serving the facility for purposes of public school accountability.

  • HB 2263 (Gooden), heard on March 22, would remove the requirements that a campus intervention team continue to monitor public school campuses to which they have been assigned until the campus satisfies all performance standards for a one-year period and the commissioner determines that the campus is operating and will continue to operate in a manner that improves student achievement or for a two-year period or the campus satisfies all performance standards.

  • HB 3075 (Huberty), heard on March 22, would exclude students detained at a county pre-adjudication or post-adjudication juvenile detention facility from the computation of dropout and completion rates for purposes of public school accountability, extending an exemption that public school districts currently have to charter schools.

  • HB 1469 (Bailes), heard by the Subcommittee on Educator Quality on March 20, would allow charter schools to employ teachers without bachelor's degrees to teach noncore academic career and technical education courses if they have demonstrated subject matter expertise and taken at least 20 hours of classroom management training. A committee substitute was adopted that limits the bill’s provisions to two specific charter schools. That version has not yet been posted.

Bills on Which the Committee Heard Public Testimony

  • HB 1669 (Tracy O. King) would allow a school district board of trustees to not address a complaint that the board receives concerning a student’s participation in an extracurricular activity that does not involve a violation of certain student rights. It would also allow administrators or the board to not provide hearings on “frivolous complaints,” as defined, and allow the commissioner to order a parent or student to pay the district’s attorney’s fees for an appeal brought by a parent or student against a school district determined to be frivolous by the commissioner. The bill was left pending.

  • HB 2611 (VanDeaver) would allow a school district to sell property to a buyer produced by a real estate broker using the MLS and who submits the highest cash offer (rather than having to comply with notice and bidding requirements). The bill was left pending.

  • HB 2051 (Huberty) would increase the New Instructional Facility Allotment (NIFA) from $250 to $1,000 per ADA. A committee substitute was laid out that would expand NIFA to students attending remodeled/renovated schools. The bill has no fiscal note (Huberty noted that $47 million has been allocated to NIFA for the biennium — the same amount allocated to it for the last biennium, during which time that amount was not used.) The bill was left pending.

  • HB 1081 (Arévalo) would expand NIFA to students attending a renovated or repurposed facility or a leased facility operating for the first time as an instructional facility. The bill was left pending.

  • HB 481 (Ken King) would prohibit TEA from recovering an overallocation of state funds if it occurred more than seven years before the date the overallocation is discovered and occurred as a result of statutory changes. The bill was left pending.

  • HB 3722 (Ken King) relates to funding adjustments for school districts that annex unacceptable school districts. The bill was left pending.

  • HB 1039 (Mary González) would base funding for open-enrollment charter schools on the lesser of the average adjustment for the state or the adjustment for the school district within whose boundaires the charter holder’s campus with the greatest enrollment is located. The fiscal note on the bill indicates that it would cause adjustments applied to the basic allotment to be reduced for about 177 charter holders. The Texas Charter School Association testified against the bill, which was left pending.

  • HB 2649 (Capriglione) would require the governing body of a charter holder and an open-enrollment charter school to hold each open meeting in the county in which the charter school is located or broadcast the open meeting online, make audio/video recordings, and make the archived audio/video recordings available online. The bill was left pending.

  • HB 1059 (Murphy, et al.) would allow the commissioner of education, in reviewing the wealth per student of districts, to reattach property previously detached from school districts if the wealth level changes. The bill was left pending.

  • HB 1023 (Simmons) would allow the commissioner of education 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 distinct purpose or student population. The bill was left pending.

  • HB 2340 (Huberty) would allow a school district, after obtaining approval from the board of trustees, to use any undesignated funds in the general fund that exceed the amount required to be maintained by the school district to pay outstanding debt, purchase land or school buildings, or reduce the district’s operation and maintenance tax rate. The bill was left pending.

  • HB 852 (Parker, et al.), like SB 276 to be heard in the Senate Education Committee on Thursday, March 30, would remove a limit on the number of individuals that a charter school pilot program (the Goodwill Excel Center) providing adult education leading to a high school diploma and industry certification may serve. The bill was left pending.

  • HB 171 (Dutton, et al.) as introduced would require the commissioner to adopt rules and procedures for identifying underutilized school district facilities to facilitate their purchase or lease by open-enrollment charter schools. A committee substitute would make it so that school districts rather than the commissioner would determine whether a facility is underutilized. The bill was left pending.

  • HB 2337 (Dutton, et al.) would provide charter holders with facilities funding equal to the number of students in ADA multiplied by the guaranteed level of state and local funds per student per cent of tax effort, multiplied by the state average interest and sinking tax rate imposed by school districts for the current year. The fiscal note lists an estimated cost of $195.3 million in fiscal year 2018 and $215.6 million in fiscal year 2019. Public testimony included both support and opposition to this bill, which was left pending.
  • HB 467 (Murphy, et al.) would amend the Education Code related to the calculation of the capacity of the bond guarantee program. The provisions of the bill would apply the available capacity for charter districts to the total capacity of the bond guarantee program based on the number of students in charter schools as a percentage of all public school students. Current law requires the subtraction of any outstanding guaranteed bonds from the total capacity before calculating the percentages available for school districts and charter districts. The bill was left pending.

  • HB 1269 (Villalba, et al.) would create two new Foundation School Program funding streams for charter schools and would cap individual charter school FSP entitlement. The committee substitute laid out would provide facilities funding only to high-performing charter schools. The bill was left pending.
  • HB 480 (Burkett) would authorize the commissioner to grant charters for open-enrollment charter schools intended to provide only pre-K programs (half-day). TEA testified that the fiscal note is $40 million for the biennium based on the assumption that some existing private pre-K providers would apply to become charters. With an estimated 44,000 children currently eligible for FSP pre-K who are not enrolled, TEA assumes that 5,000 students in fiscal year 2018 would enroll in a charter under the provisions of this bill due to the increase in access of pre-K programs available to students. The bill was left pending.
  • HB 1560 (Guillen) would remove an obsolete reference regarding open-enrollment charter schools and the SBOE in the Education Code. The bill was left pending.

Chairman Huberty noted that next week the committee would consider bills on special education as well as health and safety.