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On Friday, December 10, the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) met to adopt proposed rules related to Rep. Drew Darby’s HB 2519, passed during the regular 87th Legislative Session. Among other changes, the law established that: 1) SBEC can no longer sanction an educator under contract who resigns between the 30th and 44th day before a school year begins; and 2) SBEC “shall” consider mitigating factors for contract abandonment (vs. may consider). TASA submitted testimony in opposition to the bill during session.

Separate from HB 2519 requirements that SBEC was required to address in rule, the board also proposed rule that added mitigating factors to be considered when a teacher abandons his/her contract after the school year has begun. TEA staff said that this item had received more than 88 public comments on The Texas Register, including the testimony submitted by TASA and several other leadership organizations. Staff said that the testimony was divided, with teacher organizations in support of the additional mitigating factors, and leadership organizations such as TASA, and school districts in opposition.

Dr. Kevin Brown, TASA executive director, testified against the proposed rules with a focus on the mitigating factor (change in teacher assignment) as being ultimately the most egregious for students. Dr. Crystal Dockery, deputy executive director of the Texas Association of Community Schools (TACS), also testified against the proposed rules with a similar focus. Mark Terry, deputy executive director of the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA), testified against the rules, providing the campus principal perspective. Three representatives of teacher organizations testified in favor of the rules.

After public testimony and discussion, the board voted to adopt the proposed rules after striking the mitigating factor (change in teacher assignment) as Drs. Brown and Dockery recommended.

The newly adopted rules now go before the State Board of Education (SBOE). The SBOE can chose to take no action (allowing the rules to be finalized), or it can object to the rules, sending the entire package of adopted rules back to the SBEC.