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The Senate Education Committee met March 31 only to consider pending business. The committee voted out of committee bills on which testimony was heard at its prior hearings on March 18 and March 25:

  • CSSB 89 by Sen. Jose Menendez (9-0 vote), which would provide a uniform manner to assess the needs of students receiving special education services during the two school years affected by the pandemic (2019-2020 and 2020-2021).
  • SB 203 by Sen. Charles Schwertner (9-0), which would require the UIL to create a “transparent and fair” bidding process for selecting UIL statewide championship locations.
  • SB 226 by Sen. Angela Paxton (9-0), which would require individuals seeking teaching certificates to receive instruction in virtual learning and virtual instruction. The substitute provides flexibility in implementation (rather than designating synchronous and asynchronous, which is restrictive). It also replaces the word “grading” with “assessment.”
  • SB 289 by Sen. Kel Seliger (9-0 vote), which would allow a school to excuse a student absence one time only if the student can prove the absence was due to obtaining a driver’s license or learner’s permit. The bill carries no fiscal note and is not mandatory for districts.
  • CSSB 481 by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (9-0), which would allow for one-time transfer of a student out of a school district that has provided notice that it intends to provide only virtual instruction for more than one grading period. The substitute clarifies that the receiving district must agree to receive that student and that the intent of the bill is for transfers for longer periods of time.
  • CSSB 28 Sen. Paul Bettencourt (6-3 vote) relates to the approval of open-enrollment charter schools and the applicability of certain state and local laws to open-enrollment charter schools. The committee substitute provides SBOE veto with a supermajority vote of 10 and specifies that the SBOE may veto charters for certain specified reasons stated in the bill. Sen. Royce West questioned Bettencourt about the reason for changing it from a majority to a supermajority vote. The bill will be sent to the full Senate for consideration.