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The Senate Education Committee posted a hearing notice for 9 a.m., Thursday, March 18. The committee will meet to adopt rules, organize, and to consider the following:

SB 89 Menéndez
Would require school districts to prepare an individualized education program supplement (to be included with the written statement of the child’s individualized education program) for each child who was enrolled in a school district’s special education program during the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year. Find more details what the supplement must include by searching for SB 89 in TASA’s Bill Tracker.

SB 178 Lucio
Would require the commissioner to prioritize distribution of funds to school districts with the highest concentration of students at risk of dropping out of school, rather than to districts that received funds for the same purpose for the previous school year. The bill would also require districts with 500 students or more to employ one counselor for each school in the district and to employ one counselor per every 500 students (with the number of students per counselor decreasing each school year by 50 until it reaches 300 students per counselor). Districts not yet required to have a counselor at every school must provide guidance and counseling services by employing a part-time counselor, employing a part-time teacher certified as a school counselor; or by entering into a shared services arrangement agreement with one or more school districts to share a school counselor. Under this bill, school districts would be entitled to state aid in an amount sufficient to assist the district in employing the number of certified school counselors as required by law.

SB 179 Lucio
Would require a school board to adopt a policy that requires a school counselor to spend at least 80% of the counselor’s work time on duties that are components of a school counseling program. Time spent administering assessments would not be considered time spent counseling. If the school board determines the counselor must spend less than 80% of total work time on counseling duties, the adopted policy must include reasons why the counselor needs to spend less than 80% of work time on counseling, list the duties that are expected, and set a percentage of work time that the counselor is required to spend on the counseling program. As part of each monitoring review, TEA must interview a sample of the district’s counselors to assess compliance with this section of the law.

SB 204 Schwertner
Would allow a school district to transport any student who is enrolled in the district, regardless where the student lives, and would not require an interlocal agreement to do so.

SB 338 Powell
Would allow a school district to adopt uniform general conditions that would be included in all the district’s building construction contracts. It would also add a representative of TASB and a representative of TASA (appointed by the Facilities Commission) to the committee that periodically reviews the uniform general conditions of state building construction contracts. The new appointees must be appointed by December 1, 2021.

SB 442 Hughes
Would make changes to the requirements that local school health advisory councils must meet and on the process for the adoption of curriculum or materials for the district’s health education, including human sexuality instruction.

The Senate Education Committee requires a negative COVID-19 test to enter the hearing room. Those wishing to give public testimony are asked to limit prepared remarks to two minutes. If submitting written testimony, submit 30 copies, with your name on each copy, to the committee during the hearing.

See the hearing notice.

Watch the hearing live.

Use TASA’s Bill Tracker to learn more about education-related bills filed in the 87th session.