The Senate Education Committee posted notice for its second hearing of the week, to be held at 9 a.m., Friday, May 21. The committee will hear testimony on the following bills:
HB 572 Dutton SP: Lucio
Would authorize a school district or open-enrollment charter school to offer a dropout recovery competency-based educational program to eligible students. A program would have to: serve students in grades 9 through 12 and have an enrollment of which at least 50 percent of the students were 16 years of age or older as of September 1 of the school year; and meet the eligibility requirements for and be registered under alternative education accountability procedures adopted by the commissioner of education.
HB 1252 Moody | et al. SP: Hall
Would prohibit the commissioner of education or the Texas Education Agency from adopting or enforcing a rule that established a shorter period than the maximum timeline designated under federal law for filing a due process complaint alleging a violation of state or federal special education laws and requesting an impartial due process hearing.
HB 1468 Bell, Keith | et al. SP: Taylor
Would authorize a school district or open-enrollment charter school to establish a local remote learning program and offer virtual courses through the program. The bill would require students enrolled in such courses to be counted toward the schools average daily attendance in the same manner as other students.
HB 2022 Darby | et al. SP: Huffman
Would require TRS to provide one opportunity outside of statutory enrollment periods for an otherwise eligible retiree to re-enroll in a health benefit plan offered under the group program. The bill would allow re-enrollment for a TRS retiree: who was eligible to enroll in Medicare; whose initial enrollment was voluntarily terminated on or after January 1, 2017, and on or before December 31, 2019; and who opted to re-enroll on or before December 31, 2023. The re-enrollment provision would expire September 1, 2024.
HB 2256 Guerra | et al. SP: Creighton
Would require SBEC to establish a bilingual special education certificate to ensure there were teachers with special training in providing instruction to students of limited English proficiency with disabilities.
HB 3207 Herrero | et al. SP: Menéndez
Would amend the Government Code so that TRS may not suspend the annuity of TRS retirees who resume service during a disaster declared by the governor or a declaration of local disaster.
HB 3298 Allison | et al. SP: Paxton
Would require TEA to establish a computer science strategic advisory committee to develop and provide recommendations for increasing computer science instruction and participation in public schools.
HB 3400 Paddie SP: Hughes
As filed, would require a school board to transfer or move a student, upon the request of their parent/guardian if that parent/guardian is a peace officer. The transfer could be to another campus in the district or to another district through inter-district transfer policies. The bill does not entitle these transferred students to transportation to the new campus.
HB 3456 White SP: Eckhardt
As filed, would designate funds received for: operating schools in the TDCJ system; operating the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired; operating the Texas School for the Deaf; for operating a juvenile justice alternative education program as part of the foundation school program, and therefore, not subject to budget reductions.
HB 3819 Klick SP: Powell
Would clarify that a school nurse may administer prescription asthma medicine to a student under a school’s epinephrine auto-injector and asthma medicine policy if the school nurse has written notification from a parent or guardian of the student that the student has a medical history of asthma or a clinical presentation with signs and symptoms of asthma which may include respiratory distress, dyspnea, labored breathing, audible wheezing, tightness of chest, or a persistent cough.
HB 3864 Murr SP: Powell
As filed, would permit a school district to excuse a student in their junior or senior year of high school from school attendance in order for the student to visit a professional at their workplace for the purpose of determining the student’s interest in pursuing a career in the professional’s field. Students would be permitted a maximum of two excused absences for this purpose in both their junior and senior years. The district is required to adopt a policy to determine when an absence can be excused for this purpose and a procedure to verify the student’s visit at the workplace occurred.
HB 3880 Dutton | et al. SP: Paxton
Would require a school district to: screen students for dyslexia and related disorders; notify the parent of or person standing in parental relation to each student who was determined to be at risk for dyslexia or a related disorder; and make a good faith effort to ensure that the notice was clear and easy to understand, in the recipient’s native language, and included information about the student’s data and measurements that led to the determination.
HB 3889 Morales Shaw | et al. SP: Powell
Would specify that if TEA established a program providing broadband internet access to public school students, the agency could not require a student who was educationally disadvantaged to pay any fees or costs for the program.
HB 4124 Hinojosa SP: Perry
As filed, would allow a special purpose school district operated by an institution of higher education to prioritize military-connected students when enrolling students or creating a waitlist for enrollment. School districts may enroll and receive funding if the student: is a dependent of a member of the US military; was previously enrolled in school in Texas; and does not reside in the state due to military deployment or transfer.
HB 4465 Dutton SP: Taylor
Would require the commissioner of education to establish a grant program using funds available for that purpose and reserved for the state under the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act or the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The grant program would assist school districts, charter schools, and regional education service centers in overcoming the educational impact resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and could include: extending instructional time; broadband grants to ensure that students had access to remote instruction; innovation in curriculum and instruction; improvements in quality of air and water at school facilities; and accelerated learning.
HB 4525 Gates SP: Paxton
Would require the State Board of Education, in approving career and technology courses, to consider relevant economic and market conditions affecting the state workforce when scheduling or initiating a course review to provide updated and relevant course offerings.
HB 4545 Dutton SP: Taylor
Would remove statutory requirements that students in grades 5 and 8 pass their required reading and math exams for promotion to the next grade. The bill would establish requirements for districts to provide accelerated learning to students who had failed an exam. It would create a grant program to help schools increase their instructional rigor and would provide outcomes funding for schools that met a certain level of student improvement on the exams.
Bills added after original posting:
HB 332 Talarico | et al. SP: Lucio
Would authorize the use of compensatory education allotment funds under the Foundation School Program to provide programs that build skills related to managing emotions, establishing and maintaining positive relationships, and making responsible decisions. The bill would specify that the use of allotment funds to provide childcare services or assistance with child-care expenses to a student at risk of dropping out of school would apply to such a student who is a parent.
HB 1032 Thierry | et al. SP: Alvarado
Would authorize a school district board of trustees to contract with a community-based organization to encourage private employers to participate with school districts in providing career and technology education (CTE) through paid internship programs. A district could use its Foundation School Program funding for students enrolled in CTE courses to provide funds under such a contract.
HB 1504 Morales, Christina | et al. SP: Alvarado
Would require each public school district that offers kindergarten through grade 12 to offer ethnic studies, including Mexican-American and African-American studies, as a component of the foundation curriculum in social studies. The bill would add to curriculum requirements for the foundation high school program one credit in ethnic studies, including Mexican-American studies and African-American studies, along with world geography or world history, that could fulfill one of three required credits in social studies. The bill would apply only to students entering the 9th grade during the 2022-2023 school year or a later school year.
HB 1754 Hernandez SP: Hinojosa
Would require that all student identification cards issued by a public school to a student in grade 6 or higher include contact information for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The provisions of this bill would apply beginning with student identification cards issued for the 2022-2023 school year.
HB 2391 Dominguez | et al. SP: Paxton
would allow an open-enrollment charter school that filled available positions by lottery to use a weighted lottery so that an applicant’s probability of admission increased if the applicant was: eligible to participate in a special education program; a student of limited English proficiency; or a student at risk of dropping out of school. An open-enrollment charter school would have to post in a prominent location on its website notice of the method by which the school filled available positions and, if the school used a weighted lottery, the weight assigned to applicants. The common admission form for use by open-enrollment charter school applicants would have to provide for the submission of information necessary for a school to implement a weighted lottery. If a school district elected to admit certain students not described by Education Code sec. 25.001(b), the district would have to post in a prominent location on its website notice of the method by which the district admitted those students. If the district used a weighted lottery, the district also would have to include on its website the weights assigned to applicants, including assigned to an applicant who was: eligible to participate in the school’s special education program; a student of limited English proficiency; or a student at risk of dropping out of school.
HB 3597 Metcalf SP: Paxton
As filed, it would require a district to include a plan for responding to a train derailment for any district facility located within 1,000 yards of a railroad track. Would slightly change the language relating emergency drills – giving the commissioner the ability to designate the number and type of mandatory school drills to be conducted each semester of the school year – which cannot exceed a total of eight drills. The bill strikes language that specifies the types of drills, and gives the commissioner latitude to make that determination. The bill shortens the amount of time a district has to report the results of its model safety and security audit to three months, once notified by the Texas School Safety Center that their results are overdue. The bill requires that copies of any MOU between a district and an entity to address issues of school safety be provided to the Texas School Safety Center. Such MOUs are confidential and not subject to disclosure under the open records act. The bill would allow Texas State University access to the criminal history record information maintained by DPS for any person who is registering with the Texas School Safety Center to provide school safety or security consulting services.
HB 2287 Thompson, Senfronia | et al. SP: Powell
Would allow the Collaborative Task Force on Public School Mental Health Services, or TEA on behalf of the task force, to request data from or consult with: school districts; open-enrollment charter schools; regional education service centers; local mental health authorities; and other entities that possess information relevant to the task force’s duties.
HB 2681 Wilson | et al. SP: Buckingham
Would change from grade 9 to grade 6 the grade level at which a public school district could begin offering students an elective course on the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) and its impact and the New Testament and its impact, or an elective course that combined the two courses. The bill would require a teacher of the Bible electives to hold a certificate in certain subjects that qualified the teacher to teach at the grade level at which the course was offered, with, where practical, a minor in religion or biblical studies. The Hebrew Scriptures and New Testament electives could be taught only by a teacher who had successfully completed Bible course training. A course offered under the bill’s provisions to students in grade 6, 7, or 8 would be considered a social studies course for the purpose of complying with the required curriculum.
HB 2756 Allen | et al. SP: Miles
Would permit a school district or open-enrollment charter school to donate food to a nonprofit organization through a person who is directly and officially affiliated with the campus, including through a parent of a student enrolled. The bill amends the types of food that can be donated specifying that only packaged unserved food that is packaged on campus and has not been removed from the cafeteria may be donated. Wrapped, raw, unserved produce may be served, but unpeeled fruit may not be. Food that must be maintained at a certain temperature for safety may not be donated unless the campus has maintained the food at the required temperature. Anyone who assists in prep and distribution of food as a volunteer must complete or be supervised by someone who has completed, a basic food safety education or training program for food handlers.
Bills removed after original posting:
HB 1014 Bucy SP: Hinojosa
Would require that student ID cards issued to students in 6th grade and higher have the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the Crisis Text Life Line contact information printed on the card. Information about local suicide prevention hotlines may be included as well. The bill would also require the same crisis contact information be printed on student ID cards issued by all institutions of higher education and career schools/colleges.