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Senate Committee on Education Considers 11 Bills and Votes Out 10, Including Bill on Cameras in Special Ed Settings
04.20.2017 — The Senate Committee on Education met for the second time this week to hear testimony on 11 bills, which were left pending. The committee also voted out the following 10 bills, which now go before the full Senate:
- CSSB 1882 (Menéndez, et al.) would remove financial disincentives that may prevent the governing bodies of open-enrollment charter schools from partnering with school district boards of trustees to operate a district campus and share teachers, facilities, or other education resources on that campus.
- CSSB 653 (Van Taylor) is now only the pension revocation component that was one portion (Article 3) of the original, much longer bill related to improper educator/student relationships. Most of the provisions of the original SB 653 are included in SB 7, which the committee voted out on April 12. CSSB 653, as voted out of committee, would make certain employees and annuitants ineligible to receive a full-service retirement annuity if the person is finally convicted of certain offenses (improper relationship between educator and student, indecency with a child, and others) the victim of which is a minor student.
- SB 754 (Perry) would allow a school district and the district's depository bank to agree to extend a depository contract for three (rather than two) additional two-year terms. It specifies that the contract may be modified for each two-year extension if both parties mutually agree.
- SB 1122 (Huffines, et al.) would abolish certain county (Dallas) boards of education, boards of county school trustees, and offices of county school superintendent.
- CSSB 1398 (Lucio) is intended to reduce ambiguity in law passed in 2015 relating to the placement and use of video cameras in certain settings providing special education services. This bill would clarify that a request for cameras is limited to classrooms where the requesting parent has a child in regular attendance or to which the staff member is assigned. It would specify the process by which the request must be made, clarify who may view video footage and when, provide a definition for “staff member,” set timelines for installation of cameras, specify that a camera must be operated and maintained for the remainder of the school year in which the school received the request, and make several technical changes intended to ease implementation. When testimony on the bill was heard in committee on April 4, much discussion centered around shortening the period of time for which schools must store the footage. The substitute bill passed out of committee reduces that period from six months to three.
- SB 2270 (Lucio) would expand a pilot program under the foundation school program for funding pre-K programs provided by school districts with early high school graduation programs in Region 1. The bill was amended prior to being passed out of committee.
- SB 1267 (Larry Taylor) would allow a district to lower its ad valorem tax rate and then increase it again without a vote if the higher rate is one that has been previously voter-approved. HB 486, a companion bill filed by Rep. Gary VanDeaver, was returned from the House floor to the Ways & Means Committee last week for changes based on a point of order.
- SB 2142 (Larry Taylor) would repeal the high school allotment under the foundation school program and put it into the basic allotment.
- SB 2143 (Larry Taylor) would change the basic allotment under the foundation school program that is listed in statute from $4,765 to $5,140 (the amount currently being provided to districts).
- SB 2188 (Larry Taylor) would specify that students 18 and older who have met graduation credit requirements and are in an off home campus instructional arrangement are full-time equivalent students if they receive 20 hours of contact per week and a part-time equivalent student if they receive 10 to 20 hours of contact per week. The bill was amended prior to being passed out of committee and now has a fiscal note of $7 million.