April 13, 2011
Legislative Update Senate Education Committee Hearing Summary April 12, 2011 Below is a summary of yesterday’s Senate Education Committee meeting. The committee considered bills relating to college credit programs, the calculation of ADA for students in college credit programs, food service contracts, school district investment in corporate bonds, students with dyslexia, teacher effectiveness, disciplinary practices, charter schools and school district dispute resolution methods. SB 149 was voted favorably out of committee. SB 1619, SB 1113, SB 866, SB 4 and SB 536 were voted favorably out of committee as substituted. All other bills were left pending. The Equity Center did not take a position on any of the bills on the agenda. Below is a formal summary of the hearing. Each bill is listed with its author and caption, followed by the summary of testimony on the bill.
AUSTIN (4/12/11, E1.028, 8:30 AM) The Senate Committee on Education met yesterday morning under the direction of Sen. Florence Shapiro. SB 149 By West. Relating to rules adopted and reporting required under the school district college credit program. - voted favorably. Sen. West said SB 149 seeks to define the separate duties of the TEA and the Higher Education Coordinating Board. TCTA supported the bill. SB 1619 By Duncan. Relating to the calculation of average daily attendance for a public school student participating in the college credit program. - voted favorably as substituted. SB 1619 was presented by Sen. Duncan. Mark Baxter, Texas High School Project; Andrew Seacrest, TREA; Carole Howard, TACS; Barry Hanish, TACS; and Nancy Sharp, Lubbock ISD all registered support for the bill. Howard said the bill will help maintain the rigor of classes. "It is really a critical need for our students." SB 1113 By Wentworth. Relating to certain contracts entered into by school districts for another entity to provide food services at one or more district schools. - voted favorably as substituted. 1220 Colorado Street, Suite 300 – Austin, Texas 78701 – 512.478.7313 – FAX 512.478.6433 – equitycenter.org
SB 1113 will ensure that food service management companies must use the same bidding process as a food service operated by the school district. TASA, TASB, TREA, TACS and TCC all registered support for the bill. SB 1543 By Wentworth. Relating to the authority of independent school districts to invest in corporate bonds. - left pending. SB 1543 would allow districts to invest in corporate bonds. Representatives from Northeast ISD, TASA, and TASB supported the bill. SB 866 By Deuell. Relating to the education of public school students with dyslexia, the education and training of educators who teach students with dyslexia, and the assessment of students with dyslexia attending an institution of higher education. - voted favorably as substituted. SB 866 deals with the identification and treatment of dyslexia. ATLA joined with advocates for students with learning disabilities is support of the bill. SB 4 By Shapiro. Relating to certification, performance, continuing education, and appraisal of public school teachers. - voted favorably as substituted. Regarding SB 4, Sen. Shapiro said "It's a teacher effectiveness bill." Randi Weingarten, National AFT, said teacher development was needed to motivate teachers. SB 536 By Davis. Relating to the use of certain disciplinary management practices or behavior management techniques by peace officers employed or commissioned by school districts. - voted favorably as substituted. SB 536 was a product of collaboration with TASB, ARC of Texas, CLEAT and Advocacy, Inc., according to Sen. Davis. Jeff Miller, DRT, spoke in favor of the bill. He said Texas is a leader in regulating the use of restraints. Leif Miller, Citizens Commission on Human Rights, said it was important to keep up with the number of times restraints are used. Texas Appleseed and ARC of Texas also supported the bill. SB 1872 By Van de Putte. Relating to revision of open-enrollment charter school charters to add charter schools under certain circumstances. - left pending. SB 1328 By Watson. Relating to optional dispute resolution methods for school districts and parents of students seeking or receiving special education services. - left pending. SB 1328 will require school districts to provide parents of students in an ARD/IEP with information on independent facilitation of the meetings. SB 3 By Shapiro. Relating to the flexibility of the board of trustees of a school district in the management and operation of public schools in the district. - left pending. SB 3 was taken down. Sen. Shapiro said it would be taken up again on Thursday. The committee recessed and will meet again on Thursday, April 14 at 8:30 a.m. in E1.028. 1220 Colorado Street, Suite 300 – Austin, Texas 78701 – 512.478.7313 – FAX 512.478.6433 – equitycenter.org