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Senate Education Committee holds final meeting of session

Teach the Vote
Teach the Vote

School Finance Educator Preparation | Certification Retirement | TRS | Social Security Texas Legislature COVID-19 Educator Rights Curriculum | Instruction

Date Posted: 5/25/2021 | Author: Mark Wiggins

The Texas Senate Education Committee held its final meeting of the 87th legislative session on Monday, May 24. During a break from debate on the Senate floor, members met to vote the following bills out of committee:

  • House Bill (HB) 332 by Rep. James Talarico (D-Round Rock), which would allow compensatory education funds to be used for social and emotional learning programs. ATPE supports the bill. Sens. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), Charles Perry (R-Lubbock), and Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown) voted against the bill.
  • HB 1032 by Rep. Shawn Thierry (D-Houston), which would allow districts and charters to contract with a community-based organization to coordinate paid internships for high school juniors and seniors.
  • HB 2519 by Rep. Drew Darby (R-San Angelo), which deals with the composition of the State Board for Educator Certification and improving procedures relating to certification sanctions. ATPE supports the bill.
  • HB 2954 (committee substitute) by Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston), which is another ATPE-supported bill calling for a suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention program for optional implementation in elementary schools. Sens. Bob Hall (R-Edgewood), Perry, and Schwertner voted against the bill.
  • HB 3207 by Rep. Abel Herrero (D-Corpus), which would waive the retire/rehire penalty in its entirety during a declared disaster, such as COVID-19 or a hurricane, within the geographic area covered by the disaster. ATPE supports the bill.
  • HB 3298 by Rep. Steve Allison (R-San Antonio), which is an ATPE-supported bill that would establish a computer science and technology applications professional development grant program and a computer science strategic advisory committee. Sens. Bettencourt, Hall, Angela Paxton (R-McKinney), and Schwertner voted against the bill.
  • HB 3456 by Rep. James White (R-Hillister), which is an ATPE-supported bill that would close a loophole in the school finance system that caused some educational entities, such as the Windham School District, the Texas School for the Deaf, and the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, to be subject to mandatory 5% budget reductions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the Senate floor Monday, members passed a virtual education commission bill supported by ATPE. Instead of expanding virtual schools, HB 3643 by Rep. Ken King (R-Hemphill) would create a “Texas Commission on Virtual Education” to study virtual education, including instructional delivery and funding. The commission would offer recommendations for actions the Legislature could take during the 2023 session. As outlined in ATPE’s written testimony in support of the bill, ATPE has recommended that the commission include more educators, representing both elementary and secondary school expertise. The Senate passed HB 3643 on a vote of 29-1, with Sen. Drew Springer (R-Muenster) casting the lone vote in opposition. Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Nacogdoches) was absent. 


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