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News & Press: Legislative News

Legislative Update - Bills to Watch

Tuesday, April 11, 2017  
Posted by: Chandelle Crane

Bills on the move



The Texas House has a few bills of significance to school leaders on the calendar for Tuesday, April 11. The House will convene at 10 a.m. tomorrow. Watch the livestream.

HB 486 (VanDeaver) allows a school board to raise and lower its tax rate within a voter-approved limit without an election. Testimony from several education groups was all favorable during the committee hearing on this bill.

HB 878 (King, K.) permits a district to extend its contract with a depository bank and would allow the district and bank to modify the contract for any extension. Testimony from several education groups was all favorable during the committee hearing on this bill.

HB 1731 (King, K.) excludes students exiting residential facilities who do not reenroll in their home districts from being counted as a dropout for those districts’ accountability purposes. Testimony from several education groups was all favorable during the committee hearing on this bill.

Senate Ed to discuss IGCs, county schools

The Senate Education Committee will meet at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, April 11 to consider a handful of bills – three of which deal with county boards of education. Watch the live hearing.

SB 463 (Seliger) removes from statute the expiration date for individual graduation committee law that allows schools to graduate students who have failed up to two STAAR exams but show mastery of a subject through other project work.

SB 196 (Garcia) requires a school to notify parents (online or written) if it does not have the equivalent of a full-time nurse, librarian or school counselor on campus for more than 30 consecutive instructional days during a school year. School districts in counties with a population of less than 100,000 are not required to provide these notices.

SB 646 (Bettencourt) eliminates the taxing authority of the Harris County Department of Education.

SB 1122 (Huffines) abolishes any county board of education, board of county school trustees, and office of county school superintendent in a county with a population of 2.2 million or more and that is adjacent to a county with a population of more than 600,000 effective Sept. 1, 2018. This would apply to the Harris County Department of Education and the Dallas County Schools.

SB 1166 (Bettencourt) makes the Harris County Department of Education subject to sunset review as if it was a state agency, but the department may not be abolished under that chapter. The review shall be conducted as if the department were scheduled to be abolished September 1, 2019. The review must assess the department's governance, management, and operating structure, and the department's compliance with legislative requirements.

SB 1220 (Miles) requires TEA to develop procedures to ensure that a new school relies on decisions made by the previous school regarding placement in courses or educational programs of a student who is homeless or in substitute care and places the student in comparable courses, educational programs, or special education services at the new school, if those courses or programs are available.

SB 1278 (Taylor, L.) requires the SBOE to permit an educator preparation program to comply with at least three of any field supervisor visit requirements through visits provided by video, the Internet, or another remote technological method; and may not require more than five support visits by a field supervisor during the course of an internship. The bill also allows exemption for results on content examinations required for certification in certain subject areas for identified teacher shortage areas. The bill also permits the 15 hours of field-based experience to occur after the candidate's admission to an educator preparation program or during the two years preceding admission. The field-based experience may be satisfied by observing a teacher certified by this state actively engaged in instructional or educational activities, or by serving as a substitute teacher or teacher's aide.

SB 1353 (Taylor, L.) provides an additional 5 years of state aid to a district to which another district is annexed. The commissioner shall determine the amount of additional state aid provided each year by dividing the amount of debt service taxes received by the district during the tax year preceding the tax year in which the annexation occurs by the number of students enrolled in the district immediately preceding the date of annexation, and multiplying that result by the number of additional students enrolled in the district on Sept. 1 after the date of annexation.

SB 1903 (West) requires TEA and the THECB to develop statewide goals for dual credit programs, including early college high school programs, career and technical education dual credit programs, and joint high school and college credit programs to provide uniform standards for evaluation. The bill also sets out parameters for any agreement between a school district and public institution of higher education to provide a dual credit program.

SB 1404 (Hughes)
requires districts to report the number of enrolled students with dyslexia and the number enrolled at a campus of the district or school who are participating in: a voluntary after-school program, including the percentage of the student population of the campus attending the program; and a voluntary summer program, including the percentage of the student population of the campus attending the program. In addition, districts must report the number of district or school campuses that offer a voluntary after-school program or a voluntary summer program.

SB 1481 (Taylor, L.) clarifies that technology is an appropriate use for the instructional materials allotment by adding “and technology” to the allotment name. The bill also includes open education resources so that districts can secure instructional content at a reduced cost.

House Pub Ed to hear 31 bills


The House Public Education Committee will meet at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, April 11 to consider 31 bills. The following are a sampling of bills to be heard. Watch the livestream.

HB 1114 (Burkett)
permits a district to reduce the number of service days required of teachers if the district anticipates providing less than 180 days of instruction in a school year.

HB 1152 (Sarah Davis) prohibits a school board from changing the name of a school district without first receiving approval from a majority of voters in a referendum election on the issue.

HB 1540 (Rodriguez) requires high schools to provide information about the importance of selecting a major or field of study before, or as soon as possible after, enrollment at a postsecondary educational institution and the potential consequences of delaying that decision, particularly if the student intends to transfer between postsecondary educational institutions.

HB 1585 (Murphy, et al.) requires student input before district adoption of a major curriculum initiative.

HB 1638 (Guillen) requires TEA and the THECB to develop statewide goals for dual credit programs, including early college high school programs, career and technical education dual credit programs, and joint high school and college credit programs to provide uniform standards for evaluation. The bill also sets out parameters for any agreement between a school district and public institution of higher education to provide a dual credit program.

HB 1980 (VanDeaver) requires the commissioner of education to allow certain students who transfer to a Texas public school from a different state after their junior year of high school to qualify for a high school diploma through satisfactory performance on one or more alternative nationally recognized norm-referenced assessment instruments and with the recommendation of the student’s individual graduation committee.

HB 2616 (Giddings) prohibits the suspension of a student enrolled in a grade level below grade 4 and requires the commissioner to establish minimum standards for behavior management techniques that may be used for such students as an alternative to suspension. The bill would require districts to develop and implement positive behavior programs meeting certain requirements.

HB 2884 (Allen) requires a school district to require students in grades 6, 7, and 8 to participate in moderate or vigorous daily physical activity for at least 30 minutes for six (rather than the current four) semesters during those grade levels. It changes the requirements for the foundation high school program to four (rather than five) elective credits; one and one-half credits (rather than one) in physical education; and require one-half credit in health.

HB 3145 (Deshotel) requires a school board to review and, if necessary, revise the district recess policy at least every five years and include certain specifics in such policy.

HB 3251 (King, K.)
allows adjustments for rapid decline in taxable value of property for school districts if funding is appropriated for this use. To the extent that a sufficient amount of money is not available to fund all adjustments, the bill requires the commissioner to reduce adjustments in a certain manner so that the total amount of adjustments equals the amount of money available to fund the adjustments.

HB 3476 (Huberty)
requires a school district to require high school participants in UIL athletic activities who must receive physical exams prior to participation to also have an electrocardiogram administered to the student prior to participation, including practice.

HB 3795 (Dutton) includes students enrolled in open-enrollment charter schools in the determination of a district’s weighted average daily attendance for purposes of complying with equalized wealth level requirements.


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