/CMSApp/TTV/media/Blog/School-Finance/HB-3-passage-from-gallery.jpg?ext=.jpg /CMSApp/TTV/media/Blog/School-Finance/HB-3-passage-from-gallery.jpg?ext=.jpg
Rep. Dan Huberty speaking to the Texas House of Representatives about his House Bill 3 during the 2019 legislative session

Texas House Public Education Committee hears bills on school finance, educator contracts, mental health, and more

Teach the Vote
Teach the Vote

School Finance Texas Legislature Educator Rights Testing | Accountability

Date Posted: 3/23/2021 | Author: Andrea Chevalier

The House Public Education Committee met Tuesday, March 23, to hear new bills, listen to in-person and virtual testimony, and vote on a few bills already heard in a prior meeting. Topics varied from school finance to educator contract abandonment to suicide prevention for students. 

These new bills were heard by the committee: 

  • House Bill (HB) 144 by González (D-Clint) would create an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) supplement to mitigate the effects of the pandemic and other disruptions to student learning. 

  • HB 363 by VanDeaver (R-New Boston) would create security protocols and laws to protect student data for certain vendors working with the Texas Education Agency (TEA).  

  • HB 999 by Bernal (D-San Antonio) adds additional flexibility to the Individual Graduation Committees (IGC) law to help certain students who might be affected by the pandemic. The bill would enable students who were in 12th grade during the 2020-21, 2021-22, or 2022-23 school years to graduate without considering their performance on required end-of-course exams. ATPE supports the bill. 

  • HB 1525 by Huberty (R-Kingwood) aims to fix unintended consequences and tweak last session’s omnibus school finance bill, HB 3, which Huberty authored in 2019. Several education stakeholders who focus on school district finance issues testified neutrally on the bill to express concerns with a few provisions. The author is expected to offer a committee substitute version of the bill soon. Rep. Huberty also shared that he would like the new version of the bill to include an extension of the Reading Academies deadline; according to last session’s HB 3, the Reading Academies are supposed to be completed not later than the 2021-22 school year, which has been difficult for some educators affected by the pandemic. 

  • HB 2120 by Bell, K. (R-Forney) would require that school boards adopt a grievance policy for employees, parents and students, and the public, including a requirement that the resolution of a complaint occur within 120 days after it is filed. ATPE supports the bill. 

  • HB 2261 by Wu (D-Houston) would allow a municipal management district to include public education facilities as part of the improvement projects or services they can provide. 

  • HB 2287 by Thompson, S. (D-Houston) would build upon the Collaborative Task Force on Public School Mental Health Services created last session by creating a protocol for data sharing and collection between the task force, TEA, and school districts. 

  • HB 2519 by Darby (R-San Angelo) would include rural educators on the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) and make several favorable changes to laws regarding educator contracts. The bill would shorten the “no-penalty” deadline for educators to resign from their contract from 45 days down to 30 days before the first day of instruction, along with other changes to increase educators’ awareness of disciplinary actions being taken against them and enable SBEC to consider other factors in contract abandonment cases. ATPE supports the bill.  

  • HB 2557 by Rogers (R-Graford) would create a school security volunteer program that would enable retired law enforcement and military veterans to provide security services to schools and carry a handgun at school. 

  • HB 2854 by Thompson, S. (D-Houston) would require TEA to establish a suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention program for optional implementation in elementary schools. ATPE supports the bill. 

Next, the committee voted to approve the following six bills that had been previously heard and to recommend them for consideration by the full House: 

  • HB 159 by González (D-Clint) is an ATPE-supported bill that would incorporate instruction about teaching and serving students with disabilities into educator preparation and include considerations for inclusive practices in professional development provided by school districts.  

  • HB 699 by Rosenthal (D-Houston) would allow an excused absence for students experiencing a severe or life-threatening illness, such as cancer, or related treatment. It would also allow these types of excused absences to be excluded from the 90% attendance rule.  

  • HB 725 by Patterson (R-Frisco) is an ATPE-supported bill that would add children who were in foster care in another state or territory to be eligible for prekindergarten in Texas.  

  • HB 785 by Allen (D-Houston) would codify how admission, review, and dismissal committees incorporate student behavior intervention plans (BIP), increase notification requirements to parents regarding BIPs, and require school districts to take actions related to implementing a BIP after a discipline-related change in placement for the student.  

  • HB 1114 by Thierry (D-Houston) is an ATPE-supported bill that would provide increased options for school districts to provide mental health services to students, particularly through school-based health centers.  

  • HB 1603 by Huberty (R-Kingwood) is an ATPE-supported bill that would remove the expiration date from the IGC law. 

We expect the House Public Education Committee to meet again next Tuesday, March 30. Stay tuned to Teach the Vote for updates. ATPE members are also encouraged to visit Advocacy Central to follow the progress of bills and send messages to their lawmakers about legislation of interest or concern. 


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