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Thursday, April 27: House Public Education Committee to Hear More Bills, Including One on ESAs for Special Ed Students

04.24.2017 — The House Public Education Committee will meet at 8 a.m., Thursday, April 27, on the following bills:
  • HB 356 (Huberty) relates to the carrying of concealed or holstered handguns by certain handgun license holders attending a meeting of the board of trustees of a school district or the governing body of an open-enrollment charter school.

  • HB 867 (Villalba, et al.) establishes law related to school marshals at private schools.

  • HB 930 (Fallon) would permit a school district board of trustees to limit the number of terms that trustees may serve or remove a limit on the number of terms that trustees may serve.

  • HB 1261 (Gina Hinojosa, et al.) would prohibit open-enrollment charter schools from discriminating in admission policy on the basis of student discipline history.

  • HB 1323 (Frank, et al.) would require public schools that participate in activities sponsored by UIL to provide home-schooled students the opportunity to represent that school in a league activity as long as the student meets certain standards as outlined in the bill. This is the companion bill to SB 640 (Van Taylor), which was passed by the Senate on April 19.

  • HB 1335 (Simmons, et al.) would require the comptroller to establish an education savings account program for certain children with special needs and other educational disadvantages (victims of bullying, those found by a court or jury to have engaged in truancy, those who have dropped out or are at-risk of doing so, and victims of certain offenses). Eligible students could use ESA funds (basically 90 percent of funding the student would have generated in state and local funds at their resident district) for tuition and fees at accredited private schools, to enroll in a dual-credit program offered by a postsecondary educational institution, or for an online educational course or program through TXVSN. They could also use ESA funds to purchase instructional materials, curriculum, and computer hardware/software, or pay certain fees for classes or tutoring, educational therapies or services (if child has a disability), etc.

  • HB 1516 (Leach) would permits a district to excuse a student from administration of a final exam if the school district allows the student, because of a good attendance record and high student academic achievement, to be exempt from the administration of the final examination.

  • HB 1577 (Lozano) would prohibit UIL from assigning a school to a district for purposes of competition if placement in that district would require the school to travel more than 100 miles to compete against another school assigned to that district.

  • HB 1687 (Bohac) would require each school district to develop a written agreement form for each grade level offered by the district, including prekindergarten, that states the responsibilities of: (1) a student enrolled in that grade level; (2) the student’s parent or guardian; and (3) each of the student’s classroom teachers.
  • HB 1692 (Hefner, et al.) would prohibit a school district, open-enrollment charter school, or private school from prohibiting a person, including a school employee, who holds a license to carry a handgun from transporting or storing a handgun or other firearm or ammunition in a locked, privately owned, or leased motor vehicle in a parking lot, parking garage, or other parking area provided by the district or charter or private school, provided that the handgun, firearm, or ammunition is not in plain view.

  • HB 1759 (Smithee) would authorize an independent school district and any county in which any territory included in the district is located to contract for the district to contribute district resources to pay a portion of the costs of the design, improvement, or construction of an instructional facility or stadium or other athletic facility owned by, on the property of, or under the control of the county.

  • HB 2093 (Miller, et al.) would require the commissioner of education to study and report on the most appropriate method for including the performance of gifted and talented students in the public school accountability system.

  • HB 2159 (Giddings) requires school districts that allow students to use prepaid meal cards or accounts to purchase meals at school to allow students whose meal cards or accounts are exhausted to continue to purchase regular meals for a grace period of at least two weeks. The law includes other related requirements, including those related to parent notification and providing alternate meals after expiration of the grace period.
  • HB 2329 (Burkett, et al.) would eliminate the authority of certain county school districts (Dallas) to impose ad valorem taxes and establish a procedure under which those districts may be abolished.

  • HB 2730 (Lucio III) would authorize the commissioner of education to create career and technical credentials and certificates that may be earned through a career and technology education program and requires TEA to conduct a study to identify unmet needs in career and technology education programs.
  • HB 3244 (Nevárez) would authorize a school district to provide a salary bonus to a public school teacher who completes autism training provided by a Regional ESC.

  • HB 3270 (Bohac) relates to criminal background checks for persons employed by certain public school contractors.

  • HB 3437 (Moody) would require TEA to develop and operate a special education recovery program for students who may have been negatively affected by the performance indicator that acted as a cap on the number of students enrolled in special education services. TEA would be required to designate for participation in the porgram each school district in which the participation of students in the district's special education program declined as specified in the bill.

  • HB 3472 (Schaefer) would expand the types of courses eligible to be taught with a school district teaching permit without commissioner of education review to applied STEM courses or noncore mathematics courses.

  • HB 3684 (Alvarado) would expand the local health advisory council’s duties to include recommending policies, procedures, strategies, and curriculum appropriate for specific grade levels designed to prevent certain health conditions through coordination of instruction to prevent the use of e-cigarettes.

  • HB 3716 (Isaac) would strike language that currently prohibits the names, Social Security numbers, and dates of birth of individual students from being included in reports of physical fitness assessment results provided by school districts to TEA.

  • HB 3800 (Dutton), like SB 1786 (Hall), which was left pending in the Senate Committee on Education on April 20, would specify that an open-enrollment charter school is a political subdivision and that a member of the governing body of a charter holder or open-enrollment charter school, or an officer of an open-enrollment charter school, are officials of a political subdivision and that employees are public employees.

  • HB 3861 (Eddie Rodriguez, et al.) would allow for a campus turnaround plan developed as stated in the bill to permit a campus to operate as a community school. Such a plan would have to include strategies and programs to coordinate the academic, social, and health services and reduce learning through partnerships and service coordination.

  • HB 4027 (Allen), like SB 748 (Zaffirini), being heard in the Senate Committee on Education on April 25, relates to transition planning for a public school student enrolled in a special education program. The bill would recognize supported decision-making agreements as an alternative to guardianship and require a more comprehensive guide for school districts relating to transition planning.
  • HB 4193 (Simmons) would require the commissioner of education to establish and administer a credit account program to provide funding for students with disabilities to obtain educational support services and other resources that supplement the student’s public education and exceed the level of services that the student’s ARD committee has determined to be necessary for the student to receive a free and appropriate public education. The amount provided would depend on the total amount of funds available to the program and total number of participants.

Bills added to the agenda since the original posting include:

  • HB 674 (Eric Johnson) would prohibit a student who is younger than 6 from being placed in out-of-school suspension unless, while on school property or while attending a school-sponsored or school related activity, the student engages in conduct that contains the elements of an offense related to weapons or a violent offense; or engages in selling, giving, or delivering to another person or possessing, using or being under the influence of marijuana or a controlled substance, a dangerous drug, or an alcoholic beverage.

Bills deleted from the agenda since the original posting include:

  • HB 2955 (Phil King) would allow a school district with an estimated enrollment that has decreased by at least 3 percent from the enrollment for the preceding school year to apply to the commissioner for a waiver of any state requirements that hinder the district’s ability to effectively compete with charter or private schools.

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