Recapping the Texas House Public Education Committee meetings for April 27-28, 2021
Texas Legislature Curriculum | Instruction Deregulation | Charter Schools
Date Posted: 4/29/2021 | Author: Andrea Chevalier
The Texas House Public Education Committee met Tuesday, April 27, and Wednesday, April 28, to hear its first Senate bills of the session and a few remaining House bills.
Here are the bills heard by the committee at its Tuesday meeting:
- House Bill (HB) 1417 by Harless (R-Spring) is an ATPE-supported bill that would require campus improvement plans to include plans to address bullying and dropout deterrence, plus teacher training and parent resources on positive relationships with students.
- HB 4023 by Martinez (D-Weslaco) would create a pilot program employing life skills counselors in a single county.
- House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 85 by Talarico (D-Round Rock) would designate the first Friday in May as “Career and Technical Education Letter of Intent Signing Day” for a 10-year period starting in 2021.
- Senate Bill (SB) 179 by Lucio (D-Brownsville) is an ATPE-supported bill that calls for school districts to adopt a policy requiring their school counselors to spend at least 80% of their time on counseling duties.
- SB 203 by Schwertner (R-Georgetown) would change how sites are selected for University Interscholastic League (UIL) competitions in an effort to expand them throughout the state.
- SB 289 by Seliger (R-Amarillo) would allow a school district to excuse a student’s absence to obtain their driver’s license.
- SB 481 by Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) would entitle a student who is enrolled in a district that offers only virtual instruction for any part of the school year to transfer to another school district that offers in-person instruction, also without being charged tuition.
Due to a procedural error, Chairman Dutton adjourned Tuesday’s committee meeting without hearing all the bills on the original agenda. Dutton obtained the House’s permission for the committee to hear the three remaining bills Wednesday, April 28, upon adjournment of the full House.
The following bills were heard Wednesday:
- SB 28 by Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), which ATPE opposes. The bill would weaken taxpayer oversight in the approval of charter schools, such as limiting the ability of the State Board of Education (SBOE) to veto new charter school applications by creating specific, limited criteria for vetoes. Additionally, the bill provides charter schools with undue special privileges by exempting them from local oversight and granting them status as a local governmental entity despite their lack of an elected body. ATPE Senior Lobbyist Monty Exter testified against the committee substitute version of the bill that was heard Wednesday. Read ATPE’s written testimony opposing the committee substitute here.
- SB 338 by Powell (D-Burleson), which would allow a school district to adopt uniform general conditions for all its building construction contracts and add school administrator and school board member representation to the committee that reviews uniform general conditions.
- HB 3880 by Dutton (D-Houston), which would include students with dyslexia within the procedures and processes for special education, such as initial evaluation. A representative from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) said Texas is the only state that separates students with dyslexia from other special education categories and that the change called for in the bill could support the state's corrective action plan for special education. Immediately after hearing testimony, the committee approved HB 3880 by a vote of 8-0. Reps. Dutton, Allen, Gonzalez, Talarico, VanDeaver, Bell, Buckley, and Meza all voted to advance the bill.
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