The House Public Education Committee met during a break in floor activity Thursday afternoon to vote on the final set of House bills before Monday’s committee referral deadline. The committee approved the following:
- HB 588, which would establish a grant program for promoting computer science certification and professional development for teachers.
- CSHB 1023, which would allow the TEA commissioner to grant more than one charter for an open-enrollment charter school to a charter holder if the additional charter is for an open-enrollment charter school that serves a distinct purpose or student population. The bill passed 7-3, with state Rep. Harold Dutton (D-Houston) and state Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Terrell) voting against.
- HB 1585, which would require a district include student input in the local instructional plan process.
- HB 1651, which would replace the current classroom supply reimbursement program, which is subject to appropriation and not guaranteed, with a blanket $200 reimbursement per teacher per school year.
- HB 2010, which would require the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to make information available regarding workplace safety training that may be included as part of a district’s curriculum for grades 7 through 12.
- HB 2014, which would allow the TEA commissioner to designate a campus as a “mathematics innovation zone.”
- HB 2093, which would order TEA conduct a study and issue a report to determine the most appropriate method for including the performance of gifted and talented students in determined school accountability.
- HB 2519, which would order a study on dropout prevention and recovery for students who drop out before entering the ninth grade.
- HB 2537, which would require a school counselor to inform a parent or guardian of the availability of education and training vouchers and tuition and fee waivers to attend an institution of higher education for a student who is or was in the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS).
- HB 2775, which would allow non-classroom teacher certification observations to be held on the candidate site or through video technology. The bill passed on a vote of 10-1.
- HB 3244, which would allow a district to provide a salary bonus “or similar compensation” to a teacher who completes autism training through a regional education service center.
- CSHB 3347, which would allow districts to establish before-school or after-school programs, but prohibit them from using state or local funds appropriated to the district for educational purposes to support such a program.
- HB 3632, which would extend the timeframe for requesting a special education due process hearing for the child of a service member.
- HB 3767, which would require a local school board to annually certify with TEA that the local board has established the required district- and campus-level committees.
- HB 3800, which would specify that an open-enrollment charter school is a political subdivision for the purposes of Chapter 617, Government Code, which prohibits strikes and collective bargaining by public employees. The bill passed on a vote of 9-2, with Vice-Chair Diego Bernal (D-San Antonio) and Rep. Gooden voting against.
- CSHB 4140, which would rename the instructional materials allotment (IMA) the “instructional materials and technology allotment” and require districts to consider “open education resources” before purchasing instructional materials. The bill passed on a vote of 8-3, with Rep. Gooden, state Rep. Ken King (R-Canadian) and state Rep. Gary VanDeaver (R-New Boston) voting against.
- HB 4151, which would transfer responsibility for reporting bacterial meningitis information from TEA to the Department of State Health Services (DSHS).
- CSSB 826, which would loosen sequencing for advanced English and mathematics courses.
- SB 160 (HB 713), which would end the de facto “cap” on special education enrollment unveiled by the Houston Chronicle.
- SB 579 (HB 1583), which would extend epinephrine auto-injector regulations, privileges, grant eligibility and immunity from liability to private schools.
- SB 671 (HB 1451), which would require SBOE adopt criteria to allow a student to earn one of the two foreign language credits required for high school graduation by successfully completing a dual language immersion program at an elementary school.
- SB 1480 (HB 467), which would adjust the language regarding the capacity available to charter holders under the bond guarantee program to back bonds with the Permanent School Fund (PSF).
The committee failed to pass CSHB 3635, which would require the commissioner to establish objective eligibility and performance standards, including academic and financial performance, for districts pursuing DOI status. Vice-Chair Bernal, Rep. King, Rep. Gooden and Rep. Dutton voted against the bill, which failed in a 5-4 vote.
The committee will next meet Tuesday morning at 8:00 a.m. to hear Senate bills.