The Senate Education Committee met Wednesday, March 15, 2023, to hear testimony on the following bills:
- SB 562 (Sparks) relates to parental rights regarding a threat assessment of a student conducted by a public school’s threat assessment and safe and supportive school team. Sen. Kevin Sparks laid out a committee substitute. It was noted that the Texas School Safety Center has a series of questions that can be used as guidelines by threat assessment teams. Sen. Royce West expressed concern that there was nothing in statute or rule that can be used to resolve any conflict in the decisions or process. After public testimony, the committee substitute was left pending.
- SB 2032 (Creighton) relates to the authorization of certain adult high school charter school programs. Sen. Brandon Creighton says the bill would allow entities to create adult charter schools like the Goodwill Excel Center pilot. Sens. Royce West and Jose Menendez asked why the bill requires school trustees to enter a contract with a third party to create such a program. The founder of the original adult charter school said this bill authorizes another pathway to establish adult charters, and statutory changes would have to be made to allow ISDs to do this without contracting with a third party. After public testimony, the bill was left pending.
- SB 1144 (Hughes, et al.) relates to enrolling a public school student in the state virtual school network as an alternative to expulsion. Sen. Bryan Hughes introduced a committee substitute and expressed appreciation for Sen. West in co-authoring the bill. Hallsville ISD Superintendent John Martin testified in support of the bill. He said the bill would prevent a student from being penalized academically and allow the student to remain in the education system and receive additional supports without being physically present on a campus. After public testimony, the committee substitute was left pending.
- SB 992 (Hinojosa) relates to establishing the Rural Pathway Excellence Partnership (R-PEP) program and creating an allotment and outcomes bonus under the Foundation School Program to support the program. Sen. Juan (Chuy) Hinojosa laid out his committee substitute. After public testimony in support, including by Premont ISD Superintendent Dr. Mike Barrera, the committee substitute was left pending.
- SB 113 (Menéndez, et al.) relates to the provision of on-campus mental health services by a school district and reimbursement under Medicaid for certain services provided to eligible students. Sen. Jose Menéndez laid out a committee substitute that makes three substantive changes: 1) provides for parental consent; 2) gives schools options to contract with community-based entities; and 3) makes the primary care provider provision optional. After public testimony, the committee substitute was left pending.
- SB 1008 (Flores) relates to establishing residency for purposes of admission into public schools. Currently, families who are members of the armed forces (including state military forces or the reserves) are permitted to establish residency by providing a copy of a military order requiring the parent or guardian’s transfer to a military installation in or adjacent to the district’s attendance zone. Proof is required to be provided no later than 10 days after the arrival. SB 1008 would change that timeline to permit proof of residence to be provided to the school district no later than 90 days after the arrival date. There was no public testimony and the bill was left pending. (SB 1008 is identical to HB 1955, on which testimony was heard by the House Public Education Committee on Tuesday.)
- SB 1068 (Middleton) relates to the removal of restrictions on funding and payment of costs for certain full-time online educational programs; authorizing a fee. There was no public testimony, and the bill was left pending.
- SB 838 (Creighton) relates to school districts and open-enrollment charter schools providing panic alert devices in classrooms. After public testimony, the bill was left pending. (SB 838 is identical to HB 669, on which TASA testified before the Select House Committee on Youth Health & Safety on Monday.)