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House Public Education Committee Hears 15 Bills

03.13.2019 — On Wednesday the Texas House Public Education Committee heard public testimony on 15 bills, including:

  • HB 233 (Krause) specifies that all school districts, including districts of innovation, may not begin instruction before the Tuesday after Labor Day. School districts, including districts of innovation, may not schedule the last day of school for students before May 15 or after the Friday preceding Memorial Day (unless the district operates a year-round system). Spring Branch ISD Superintendent Scott Muri testified against the bill on behalf of TASA. He explained the concept of "summer slide" and said that the days this bill would eliminate are needed for classroom instruction. He testified that more flexible start and end dates allow districts to provide supports for students to both remediate and accelerate, especially with regard to reading. Muri also said that flexibility allows districts to provide professional development during the year, rather than tacking it on at the beginning or end. He pointed out that creation of a district calendar is a lengthy process that considers the needs of students but also takes into account the input of the community, including parents and businesses. Much of the testimony for the bill was given by businesses in the tourism industry and summer camps.

  • HB 880 (Calanni, et al.) would prohibit a board of trustees from making a severance payment to a superintendent in an amount greater than one year's salary under the superintendent's terminated contract. TASA General Counsel Neal Adams testified against the bill on behalf of TASA, stating that in his 32 years of experience representing superintendents in employment matters, that situations in which superintendents were paid severance were typically where a board wanted to make a leadership change, not due to the superintendent simply retiring or being terminated for cause.

  • HB 1093 (Moody) would prohibit the commissioner of education from adopting or enforcing a rule that establishes a shorter filing period for filing a due process complaint alleging a violation of state or federal special education laws and requesting an impartial due process hearing than the maximum timeline designated in federal law. TASA testified against the bill.

Watch video of the hearing.