Senate committee considers ATPE-supported sick leave pool bill
Educator Preparation | Certification Texas Legislature
Date Posted: 4/28/2021 | Author: Mark Wiggins
The Senate Education Committee met Tuesday, April 27, to consider bills including one that would make sick leave pools available to Texas public school employees.
ATPE Lobbyist Mark Wiggins testified in support of Senate Bill (SB) 1792 by Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas), which would require school districts to establish sick leave pools for the benefit of their employees.
The bill would require each district to provide one additional day of leave per employee in addition to leave days already offered. Each employee would be allowed to voluntarily contribute additional leave days to the pool. Under SB 1792, once an employee runs out of the leave they’ve accumulated, they would be able to withdraw leave days from the pool in relation to the number of days they contributed.
For employees facing prolonged health challenges, such as chronic illness or childbirth, this bill could help them avoid having to take unpaid leave while also giving school districts a valuable retention tool without additional cost burdens.
The committee also heard testimony on the following bills:
- SB 123 by Sen. Nathan Johnson (D-Dallas), which would add social and emotional skills to the requirement that the State Board of Education (SBOE) integrate character traits into the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). ATPE supports this bill.
- SB 180 by Sen. Eddie Lucio (D-Brownsville), an ATPE-supported bill that would require the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) to propose rules specifying what each educator is expected to know with regard to educating students with disabilities. The bill would require training to demonstrate a basic knowledge of each disability category under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA), conditions that may be considered a disability under Section 504, and competence in proactive instructional planning techniques and inclusive instructional practices. The bill would require Educator Preparation Programs (EPPs) to incorporate these requirements into teacher training and require districts to design staff development that includes these requirements.
- SB 325 by Sen. West, which would provide mental health services and mental health education to public school students at school-based health centers. ATPE supports this bill, which relates to one of our 2021 legislative priorities.
- SB 393 by Sen. Borris Miles (D-Houston), which would require data under the school accountability system to be disaggregated by sex and ethnicity. ATPE supports this bill.
- SB 1109 by Sen. West, calling for SBOE to require students to receive instruction through the health TEKS on the prevention of child abuse, family violence, and dating violence. This instruction would have to occur once in middle or junior high school and twice in high school. ATPE supports this bill.
- SB 971 by Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo), which would allow a local workforce development board to contract with a childcare provider to identify and refer children who could be eligible for subsidized childcare services.
- SB 998 by Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola), which would allow a county with a population of less than 55,000 people to order an election to revoke the county equalization tax.
- SB 2023 by Sen. Beverly Powell (D-Burleson), which would create a tutoring program facilitated by local consortia of school districts or charter schools, EPPs, and other contracting organizations. The program would be open to current and retired teachers, paraprofessionals, teacher’s aides, post-secondary students enrolled in an EPP, and recent EPP graduates. It would target hard-to-staff and high-need schools and provide grant money that could be used to pay tutors, as well as purchase instructional materials, internet access, and devices.
- SB 2081 by Sen. Jose Menendez (D-San Antonio), which would require prekindergarten classes to adhere to the class-size cap of 22 students. ATPE supports this bill.
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