School district advocacy restriction bill lands on Friday calendar
The House Calendars Committee has placed legislation to restrict school districts from advocating at the Texas Capitol or joining association that advocate on the House calendar for Friday, May 17. SB 29, by Sen. Bob Hall (R-Edgewood) and sponsored by Rep. Mayes Middleton (R-Wallisville), aims to prevent school districts from directly or indirectly attempting to influence legislation regarding taxes, bond elections, tax-supported debt, or public servant ethics and transparency. The bill would allow district officials to provide information to legislators upon request.
Conferees named on TRS bill
Both the House and Senate have named their conference committee members on SB 12, which would make the TRS pension fund actuarially sound and would provide retired teachers with a one-time, 13th check of up to $2,400. The House version of the bill increases the state contribution to the pension fund by 2 percent over the next five years compared to the Senate’s 1.45 percent and increases the 13th check from a maximum of $500 to a maximum of $2,400. The House is opting to pay for this increase through $684 million in general revenue spending and $658 million from the rainy day fund. The conferees are:
- Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston), chair
- Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham)
- Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound)
- Sen. Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood)
- Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas)
- Rep. Greg Bonnen (R-Friendswood), chair
- Rep. Barbara Gervin-Hawkins (D-San Antonio)
- Rep. Jim Murphy (R-Houston)
- Rep. Armando Walle (D-Houston)
- Rep. John Zerwas (R-Richmond)
Senate Ed bills for Thursday
The Senate Education Committee will meet at 9 a.m. on Thursday, May 16, to consider the following bills (Watch the livestream.):
HB 496 (Gervin-Hawkins/Lucio) requires each school district and open-enrollment charter school to develop and implement a bleeding control kit program that ensures that the kits are stored in accessible areas, includes use of bleeding control kits in the district’s multi-hazard emergency operations plan, and requires school personnel to be trained to use the bleeding control kit. Employees are immune from civil liability from damages or injuries resulting from good faith use of a bleeding control kit, provided that the employee received training and the employee did not act with gross negligence.
HB 663 (King, K./Taylor) requires the SBOE to complete a review and revision of the essential knowledge and skills (TEKS) for each subject and grade level by Sept. 1, 2022. The revised TEKS must be narrowed in number and scope of student expectations and must not result in a need for adoption of new instructional materials. When revising the TEKS, the board must also consider the time for both instruction and student mastery of the material. The board may only issue proclamations for instructional materials in which the total cost does not exceed 75 percent of the total instructional materials allotment for the biennium.
HB 769 (Davis, S./Campbell) requires a school board to receive approval from the commissioner of education to make a severance payment to a superintendent who is terminated for malfeasance or who resigns in order to avoid termination for malfeasance. The commissioner may not approve a severance payment if less than 51 percent of the superintendent’s contract is completed. If severance payment is approved, it may not be paid using any state Foundation School Program funds.
HB 974 (Metcalf/Taylor), as substituted, increases the minimum frequency with which each school district or public junior college is required to conduct a safety and security audit from every three years to every two years. The bill requires that a school district must require a person who enters a campus to display a driver's license or government issued identification. CSHB 974 includes an authorization for a district to verify whether a visitor to a district campus for a school sponsored event is a registered sex offender
HB 1388 (VanDeaver/Powell) includes students who successfully complete a coherent sequence of career and technology courses to the indicators for evaluating performance for high school campuses and districts.
HB 1906 (Burns/Kolkhorst) permits the parent of a student with significant cognitive impairment to request that the student be exempted from the administration of an alternative assessment instrument. If such a request is made, the student’s admission, review, and dismissal committee shall determine if the student should be exempted and whether another appropriate method to assess the student’s progress is available.
HB 2184 (Allen/Huffman) directs educators at alternative education programs and regular education programs to prepare and follow a personalized transition plan for each student who is being released from an alternative education program to a regular classroom. HB 2184 provides directions regarding who should provide and receive notifications as well as who should be involved in coordinating and making recommendations for the transition.
HB 2511 (Allen/Zaffirini) updates the requirements under a campus improvement plan to include strategies and goals for bullying prevention and dropout deterrence. The bill directs the continuing education teacher development to include creating nurturing classroom environments, respectful and caring relationships with students, student emotional health, and empathetic teaching techniques. Additionally, the campus improvement plan would update the engagement aspect with parents to include training for parents on instilling a positive self-concept in children, building resilience in children, and providing respectful, positive discipline to children at home.
HB 3435 (Bowers/Johnson) designates March 1 as Texas Girls in STEM Day. Each school district may include throughout the month of March appropriate instruction, activities, and programs to encourage and celebrate women in career fields related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
HB 3511 (VanDeaver/Alvarado) establishes a 17-member Commission on Texas Workforce of the Future to engage business, state agencies, and local workforce system partners in building the state’s workforce talent pipeline. The bill requires the commission to develop recommendations to increase the number of work-based learning opportunities in Texas and the availability of those opportunities, develop a comprehensive plan for phasing in an expansion of adult high school and industry programs, and address issues related to workforce development and the future of the state’s workforce.
HB 3630 (Meyer/Lucio) prohibits the use of certain behavioral interventions on students who receive special education services.
HB 3884 (Wilson/Zaffirini) requires the Department of State Health Services to prescribe procedures and formats for school districts to provide information about bacterial meningitis to students and parents each year.
HB 4258 (Murphy/Campbell) authorizes the attorney general to review the record of public notice and hearings relating to any bond financing of an educational facility for an authorized charter school, and then to issue an approval.
HB 4388 (Murphy/Campbell) establishes the Permanent School Fund Liquid Account (Liquid Account) as an account in the Permanent School Fund. The School Land Board would be required to meet quarterly and release funds to the Liquid Account from the Real Estate Special Fund, except for funds that are either being used for their designated purpose under existing law or required for cash management needs for a 90-day period. The SBOE would be authorized to invest funds from the Liquid Account. These funds could be invested only in liquid assets or markets. Proceeds from the Liquid Account investments would be deposited into the treasury to the credit of the SBOE for investment in the Permanent School Fund. HB 4388 would authorize appropriations to the SBOE from the Liquid Account for administrative costs, including advisory services of investment management. Each quarter, the SBOE would be required to provide the School Land Board with a report on the portion of the Permanent School Fund assets and funds for which the SBOE is responsible. The School Land Board would be required to provide the SBOE with similar quarterly reports.