The following are the education-related bills of interest that passed the 2015 Legislature and were sent to Gov. Greg Abbott. The deadline for signing or vetoing bills has passed, and the status of these bills is noted in parentheses after each bill description. All but two were signed; Senate Bills 313 and 486 were vetoed. Please note that these bill summaries do not necessarily include all details of the bills.

HB 1  Otto, John

State budget bill; includes $1.5 billion in state funding for public education above the $2.3 billion needed for enrollment growth. Also includes:

  • $41 million for math and reading academies
  • $3 million for the Early College High School Initiative
  • $2.7 million for TEA's Office of Complaints, Investigations and Enforcement
  • $118 million for high quality pre-kindergarten programs
  • $1 million for the educational aide tuition exemption program
  • a cut in funding from $6 million to $3 million for T-STEM
  • a reduction of Student Success Initiative funding from around $60 million to $31.7 million
  • a cut in Reasoning Mind funding from $9 million to $4 million
  • a decrease in FitnessGram funding from $5 million to $2 million
  • elimination of the funding to reimburse school districts for their new contribution to TRS-Care
  • elimination of autism training funding
  • elimination of steroid testing funding
  • elimination of last year's teacher survey 

(Signed by Governor 6/20/15)

HB 2  Otto, John

Supplemental appropriations bill; includes $768 million in funding to cover the projected TRS-Care shortfall. Without this additional funding, TRS-Care would become insolvent in 2016. (Signed by Governor 6/20/15)

HB 4  Huberty, Dan

Creates a mechanism for additional funding for districts that provide a “high quality” prekindergarten program. High quality pre-K requires the use of a curriculum that includes guidelines established by TEA and that measures student progress (Common Core is specifically prohibited). Teachers must be certified and have either a Child Development Associate credential, Montessori certification, 8 years of experience teaching in a nationally accredited child care program, be employed in a district that has received approval from the commissioner for a specific instructional training plan, or an equivalent qualification. (Signed by Governor 5/28/15)

HB 18  Aycock, Jimmie Don

Expands potential participation in the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium from the current 20 to 30 districts and charter schools representing up to 10 percent of the total number of students in the state. Prohibits the Higher Education Coordinating Board from limiting the number of dual credit courses in which a student can enroll in high school. Requires TEA to develop public outreach materials to explain the details of curriculum and graduation requirement changes from HB 5 passed in 2013. Requires districts to provide instruction to 7th or 8th grade students in preparing for high school, college and a career, including information on graduation plans and requirements, endorsements and other recognitions, and potential career choices. Requires the Center for Teaching and Learning at UT-Austin to develop postsecondary education and career counseling academies for counselors and other advisors at the middle/junior high and high school levels, to help advise students on endorsements, postsecondary and career opportunities, methods for receiving credit for courses not available at the student's school (e.g., virtual education), requirements for college admission, regional workforce needs, etc. Counselors are eligible for a stipend for attending an academy. (Signed by Governor 6/19/15)

HB 181  Bell, Cecil

Eliminates the requirement from last session's HB 5 that an endorsement, performance acknowledgment, or accomplishment of a distinguished level of achievement be printed on a student's diploma. Effective beginning with the current (2014-15) school year. (Signed by Governor 5/13/15)

HB 218  Marquez, Marisa

Provides that a teacher using a transitional bilingual/early exit or transitional bilingual/late exit model must be appropriately certified for bilingual education. A teacher using a dual language immersion/one-way or two-way model must be certified for bilingual for the portion of the program provided in a language other than English, and for bilingual or English for the English component. A district using dual language immersion may assign different teachers for the English and non-English components (if appropriately certified as per the above). (Signed by Governor 6/15/15)

HB 283  Fallon, Pat

Requires that a school district with an enrollment of 10,000 or more make video and audio recordings of each regularly scheduled open board meeting (excluding a work session or special called meeting) and make archived copies available online within seven days after the meeting. (Signed by Governor 6/17/15)

HB 440  Gonzales, Larry

Includes students eligible for special education services in the law that requires that the PE curriculum meet the needs of students of all physical ability levels. (Signed by Governor 5/23/15)

HB 505  Rodriguez, Eddie

Prohibits the adoption of a rule that limits the number of dual credit courses or hours in which a student can enroll or the grade levels during which a student is eligible to enroll in a dual-credit course. Repeals the current three-course limit. (Signed by Governor 5/23/15)

HB 731  Lucio III, Eddie

Requires the commissioner to provide pre-K funding to a school district in Cameron County to expand pre-K to more low-income students on a half-day basis with savings realized from the districts participation in a 3-year high school early graduation program. (Signed by Governor 6/17/15)

HB 743  Huberty, Dan

Requires that assessment instruments be determined valid and reliable by an entity independent of TEA and of any entity that developed the assessment instrument. A test must be designed so that it can be completed by 85% of students within 2 hours, in grades 3-5, or 180 minutes in grades 6-8. Time allowed for a test administration cannot be more than eight hours and must occur on only one day. TEA must conduct a study of the TEKS to evaluate the number and scope of the TEKS and whether they should be limited; the number of subjects of required tests in grades 3-8; and how tests assess standards essential for student success and whether they should also assess supporting standards. Requires TEA to develop a comprehensive methodology for auditing and monitoring performance under contracts for services to develop/administer assessment instruments, and the contract must allow TEA to conduct periodic contract compliance reviews without advance notice. (Signed by Governor 6/19/15)

HB 771  Deshotel, Joe

Provides additional funding for the Texas Academy of Leadership in the Humanities at Lamar University, which allows students to complete high school graduation requirements while attending an institution of higher education for academic credit. (Signed by Governor 6/19/15)

HB 786  Walle, Armando

TCTA-supported legislation which states that an employee or a public employer, including a school district, has the right to express breast milk at the workplace. Requires a public employer to develop a written policy, which must state that the employer will support the practice and make reasonable accommodations. The employer must provide reasonable break time and a place, other than a multiple-user bathroom, that is private and can be locked, for the employee's use. Prohibits the suspension or termination of an employee for asserting her rights under this section. (Signed by Governor 6/18/15)

HB 1164  VanDeaver, Gary

Requires TEA to conduct a study to develop a writing assessment method as an alternative to the current required writing assessments. The method must be designed to asses mastery of the TEKS through timed writing samples, improvement of writing skills from the beginning to the end of the school year, the student's ability to follow the writing process from rough draft to final product, and the student's ability to produce more than one type of writing style. A pilot program will be established during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years to implement the TEA-developed method. The pilot program will include a variety of district types and diversity in student enrollment. Scoring can include the use of student portfolios, and scorers will be coordinated via the pilot campus's district, a junior college or university that enters into an agreement with the district, and the regional service center. Random scored writing assessments will be provided to TEA. (Signed by Governor 6/17/15)

HB 1300  Capriglione, Giovanni

Adds to the existing law that requires that SBEC rules allow an educator preparation program to admit in extraordinary circumstances a person with an inadequate GPA a provision that the person must pass, before admission, an appropriate subject matter exam for each subject in which the person is seeking certification. (Signed by Governor 6/16/15)

HB 1305  Bonnen, Greg

Allows districts and charter schools to develop a locally-funded free-meal program, rather than participating in the national free and reduced-price program; the district can participate in the local program at some campuses and the national program at others. (Signed by Governor 6/20/15)

HB 1430   King, Susan

Requires TEA to ensure that information provided to students relating to health science careers include information regarding mental health professions; to the extent the public services endorsement includes information on health science career pathways, the information must include mental health careers as a possible pathway. (Signed by Governor 5/23/15)

HB 1474  VanDeaver, Gary

Revises how the instructional materials allotment is distributed so that the full allotment is made in the first year of each biennium, rather than being split and distributed over the two-year period. (Signed by Governor 6/17/15)

HB 1559  Parker, Tan

Requires districts of at least 3,000 students in a county with a population of at least 50,000 that have a website to post information regarding local programs and services available to assist homeless students. (Signed by Governor 6/19/15)

HB 1706  VanDeaver, Gary

Provides that the required commissioner review of paperwork requirements must include a comparison of reports/paperwork required by the state and those required by federal law. The commissioner must eliminate any required by the state that are duplicative of federally-required reports/paperwork. (Signed by Governor 6/19/15)

HB 1783  Moody, Joe

TCTA-initiated legislation that provides that a district or charter school employee has the right to report a crime witnessed at the school to any peace officer with jurisdiction, and prohibiting a district or charter school from adopting a policy requiring an employee to not report a crime or to report only to certain persons or peace officers. Also includes language added in the Senate that requires superintendents to report any termination or resignation based on a determination that an educator solicited or engaged in sexual conduct or was involved in a romantic relationship with a student or minor, and to complete an investigation of the educator if there is evidence of such a relationship. (Signed by Governor 6/19/15)

HB 1804  Naishtat, Elliott

Requires campuses and open-enrollment charter schools (current law only requires districts) to provide notice to the educational decision-maker and caseworker of a foster child regarding events that may significantly impact the education of the child. (Signed by Governor 6/17/15)

HB 1842  Aycock, Jimmie Don

Creates "districts of innovation" applicable to districts with a performance rating of acceptable or above. The districts can be initiated by a resolution of the school board or petition of a majority of the district-level decision-making committee, with the approval of the commissioner. A public hearing will be held, after which the school board may appoint a committee to develop a local innovation plan. The plan must include a comprehensive education program which may include innovative curricula and instructional methods, modifications to the school day or year, enhanced accountability and assessment measures, etc; and must identify statutes that would inhibit the goals of the plan and from which the district is requesting to be exempted. The district cannot be exempt from the laws that apply to a charter school. It also cannot be exempt from many of the current school governance laws, except that it can be exempt from the laws requiring the establishment of district- and campus-level SBDM committees, the laws relating to contract terminations and nonrenewals, and school uniform laws. The district cannot be exempted from state curriculum and graduation requirements or from academic and financial accountability sanctions. The innovation plan must be approved by a 2/3 majority of the school board and by a majority vote of the district-level committee. The term of the plan is not to exceed five years, but the commissioner can terminate the plan for poor academic or financial performance.

The bill also provides for campus turnaround plans for campuses that have been low-performing for two consecutive years. The plan will be developed with assistance from parents, community and stakeholders, and will include details on the method recommended for restructuring, reforming or reconstituting the campus. The district can grant a district charter (under which the campus is essentially subject only to the same laws as an open-enrollment charter school). The plan is to be implemented after three consecutive years of low performance. The commissioner must approve the plan; if the commissioner does not agree that the plan would result in acceptable performance after two years, he/she must order the appointment of a board of managers, alternative management or closure.

Other provisions:

Allows the appointment of a nonvoting student trustee to the board of a district that includes a campus operating under a campus turnaround plan. The student must be a junior or senior and may receive a course credit for serving.
Requires that the process for denial/renewal/revocation of a charter must allow charter school representatives to meet with the commissioner to discuss the decision and allow the charter holder to provide additional information, to which the commissioner must respond in writing.
Specifies that monitoring reviews by TEA can include desk reviews or on-site visits, including random on-site visits (a TCTA-initiated provision). Expands the information to be considered by the commissioner in determining the frequency of monitoring reviews to include review of fiscal reports and analyses of financial accountability standards.

(Signed by Governor 6/17/15)

HB 1878  Laubenberg, Jodie

Ensures Medicaid reimbursement to a doctor for a "telemedicine" service provided to a student in a school-based setting. (Signed by Governor 6/16/15)

HB 1937   Darby, Drew

Allows employees still participating in the Deferred Retirement Option Program to revoke participation by Dec. 31, 2015. This applies to a member whose DROP participation has expired and who has not retired on or before Dec. 31, 2015. Benefits upon retirement would be calculated as if the member had never participated. (Signed by Governor 5/28/15)

HB 1993  Sheffield, J.D.

Allows a district that uses an electronic program to provide grades and other student information to parents to allow parents to sign report cards and other such notices electronically. (Signed by Governor 5/28/15)

HB 2014   Sheets, Kenneth

Provides that to the extent rules require a person seeking trades and industries certification to hold a license or other professional credential, a current or former member of the US armed forces with experience in that trade obtained through military services satisfies that requirement. SBEC cannot propose rules requiring a current or former member of the military seeking CTE certification in a trade to hold a credential or have experience related to the trade beyond that obtained through the military service. (Signed by Governor 6/17/15)

HB 2025  Gonzales, Larry

Adds Hutto ISD to the districts (currently limited to Houston and Dallas ISDs) that are eligible to participate in the three-year high school diploma plan. (Signed by Governor 6/16/15)

HB 2168   Munoz, Sergio

Revises the payment date for retirement checks to provide that they would be paid on the last business day of the month rather than the first (moving the payment earlier, not later). (Signed by Governor 6/17/15)

HB 2186  Cook, Byron

Requires that staff development include suicide prevention training provided annually to all new educators and to existing educators on a scheduled adopted by TEA. (Signed by Governor 6/19/15)

HB 2205  Crownover, Myra

Adds a nonvoting member representing alternative educator preparation programs to the State Board for Educator Certification. Revises the GPA requirement for admission to an ed prep program to a minimum of 2.5 (currently 2.75). Adds that the overall GPA of each incoming class at an ed prep program may not be less than a 3.0 (calculated either on all course work or the last 60 hours). A person seeking CTE certification does not have to meet the 2.5 minimum and his/her GPA is not included in the overall class GPA calculation. Includes results from a teacher satisfaction survey of new teachers at the end of their first year of teaching in the standards governing ed prep accountability. Adds to the reporting requirements of ed prep programs the time required by candidates employed as beginning teachers under probationary certificates to be issues standard teaching certificates, and the ratio of field supervisors to candidates. Requires SBEC to develop a set of risk factors to assess overall risk levels of each ed prep program, including compliance with state laws and rules, number and severity of any violations, and the extent to which the program meets accountability standards. Requires SBEC to develop a process for candidate complaints against an ed prep program.

Limits retakes of certification examinations to no more than four, unless waived for good cause; a person who took an exam before September 1, 2015, may retake the exam up to four times after that date, regardless of the number of times the test was taken prior to that date. Allows districts to issue a school district teaching permit to a person who will teach only CTE courses based on requirements developed by the superintendent, which must include demonstrated subject matter expertise in the relevant subject matter; the employee must obtain at least 20 hours of classroom management training and comply with continuing education requirements determined by the school board.

Allows the commissioner of education to issue a subpoena for evidence related to an investigation of alleged educator misconduct, and to file suit in a district court if the person fails to comply with the subpoena. (Signed by Governor 6/18/15)

HB 2251  Anchia, Rafael

Provides that a growing charter school can request a schedule for receiving state funds that provides the bulk of the funding earlier in the school year. (Signed by Governor 6/17/15)

HB 2349  Aycock, Jimmie Don

Broadens the means by which a student can earn a performance acknowledgment based on outstanding performance beyond the currently designated PSAT, ACT, SAT, etc., to include any valid and nationally norm-reference preliminary college preparation assessment or one used by colleges and university as part of their undergraduate admissions process. Also allows earning a state-recognized business or industry certification/license to count (current law only provides for those recognized nationally or internationally). Allows TEA to defer the release of assessment questions and answer keys as necessary to develop additional assessment instruments (current law allows this only during transition to end-of-course exams). Requires that results of an exam administered to students who transferred from out of state are reported separately. (Signed by Governor 6/18/15)

HB 2398  White, James

Decriminalizes truancy. A district must employ (or designate an existing employee as) a truancy prevention facilitator or juvenile case manager to implement truancy prevention measures. Interventions for truant students could include behavior modification plans, school-based community service, counseling, mediation, mentoring, a teen court program, or community-based services. If such programs do not address behavior, a school administrator can refer the student to a truancy court; the case would be a civil, rather than criminal, matter. The court could order students to attend counseling or tutoring programs. Also provides that a charge against a parent for the child's nonattendance can be dismissed at the court's discretion if it determines there would be a low likelihood of recidivism or there is justification for the failure to attend school. A truancy conviction or complaint under the former law will be expunged. (Signed by Governor 6/18/15)

HB 2610  King, Ken

Eliminates the 180-day requirement for school district operation and replaces it with 75,600 minutes, including intermissions and recesses. Provides that if the commissioner does not approve reduced instructional time because of bad weather (or other disasters), a district can add additional minutes to the end of normal school hours as necessary to compensate for the lost instructional time. Specifies that a "day" of instruction refers to 420 minutes. Prohibits districts from scheduling the last day of school any earlier than May 15, with an exception for districts that do not offer K-12 and whose students generally attend school in another state for the other grade levels. (Signed by Governor 6/19/15)

HB 2660  Howard, Donna

Revises the calculation of average daily attendance for students in an optional flexible school day program so that funding is based on the same instructional hour requirements as the regular program. (Signed by Governor 6/17/15)

HB 2684  Giddings, Helen

Requires a district with enrollment of 30,000-plus that commissions a school district peace officer, or at which a resource officer provides law enforcement, to require the officer to complete an education and training program incorporating child and adolescent development and psychology, positive behavioral interventions and supports, conflict resolution techniques, restorative justice techniques, de-escalation techniques and techniques for limiting the use of force, mental and behavioral health needs of children with disabilities or special needs, and mental health crisis intervention. (Signed by Governor 6/20/15)

HB 2804  Aycock, Jimmie Don

Requires that campuses be rated on an A-F basis beginning with the 2017-18 school year. An acceptable rating is the equivalent of a "C," recognized = "B," and an "A" corresponds to exemplary performance. "D" and "F" would be unacceptable performance. Adds domains to the accountability indicators, for a total of five domains. Expands the first domain, relating to standardized test results, to include results of tests modified for special needs students; the second domain relates to growth on assessment instruments; the third involves closing the achievement gap among students from different racial and ethnic groups and socioeconomic backgrounds; the fourth domain includes non-test-related measures such as dropout rates, high school graduation rates, completion of an AP course, attendance, etc.; and the fifth domain relates to community and student engagement. The test-related measures can count for no more than 55 percent of the performance evaluation. The individual domains will also be assigned an A-F rating.

Establishes the Texas Commission on Next Generation Assessments and Accountability to make recommendations for new systems of student assessment and public school accountability. The commission includes several legislators, an SBOE member, a parent, two educators (including one in a school district that participates in the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium), members of the community and academic/research experts. (Signed by Governor 6/19/15)

HB 2812   Springer, Drew

Repeals the limitation on the number of junior college courses in which a high school student can enroll for dual credit. Also provides that a student’s qualified off-campus instructional activities (e.g., a community college course for which the student is receiving high school course credit) will also count toward attendance for the school district’s funding purposes. (Signed by Governor 6/17/15)

HB 2974  Flynn, Dan

Primarily a technical "clean-up" bill for the Teacher Retirement System. Includes the joint interim study also required under SB 1940. Also includes a provision that will allow the TRS Board to address a problem brought to TRS's attention by TCTA prior to the session: under this provision, TRS will have the ability to use a 12-month period determined by TRS - rather than the currently-required period of September through August - for which to calculate retirement benefits. (The September-August period is detrimental to retiring educators in districts that pay on an August through July basis.) (Signed by Governor 6/19/15)

HB 3062  Clardy, Travis

Revises the existing Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) Grant Program, currently for junior colleges and technical institutes, to be open to school districts that have entered into a partnership with a junior college or technical institute for the purpose of promoting CTE to the district's students or offering dual credit courses. (Signed by Governor 6/10/15)

HB 3106  Huberty, Dan

Allows the commissioner to extend the authority of a board of managers by two additional years if the commissioner determines that the district has not made sufficient progress toward improving the academic or financial performance during the first two years of the board of manager's authority. (Signed by Governor 6/19/15)

HB 3562  Thompson, Senfronia

Provides that a school district that allows students to use a prepaid meal card or account must adopt a grace period policy. The policy must allow a student whose meal card or account balance is insufficient to continue to purchase meals by accumulating a negative balance on the student's card or account or otherwise receiving an extension of credit from the district. The policy must require the district to notify the parent that the student's account is exhausted, and may not permit the district to charge a fee or interest in connection with meals purchased under the grace period. The district can set a schedule for repayment of the negative balance. (Signed by Governor 6/18/15)

HB 3987  Farney, Marsha

Authorizes a school district or charter school to establish a school-based savings program to facilitate increased awareness of the importance of saving for higher education and facilitate personal financial literacy instruction. Authorizes a district or school to offer the program in conjunction with a personal financial literacy course. The savings program can be in partnership with a financial institution, which may offer savings accounts or certificates of deposit, or similar programs. (Signed by Governor 6/20/15)

SB 66   Hinojosa, Chuy

Provides that districts and charter schools may adopt a policy regarding the maintenance, administration, and disposal of epinephrine auto-injectors at each campus in the district or school. Such polices must provide that authorized and trained school personnel and volunteers may administer an epinephrine auto-injector to a person who is reasonably believed to be experiencing anaphylaxis on a school campus; and the policies may provide for such administration of an auto-injector at an off-campus school event or while in transit to or from a school event.  Requires a school district adopting such a policy to provide written notice to the parent or guardian of each student enrolled in the district or school. (Signed by Governor 5/28/15)

SB 97   Hinojosa, Chuy

Regulates the use of vapor products (e-cigarettes) including provisions adding e-cigarettes to the various statutes that regulate the use of tobacco products on school property. (Signed by Governor 5/28/15)

SB 107  Whitmire, John

TCTA-initiated proposal that requires the designation of an administrators at each campus as a campus behavior coordinator. This person is responsible for maintaining student discipline, implementing progressive discipline management techniques as appropriate, and promptly notifying parents of major sanctions such as suspension, DAEP placement or expulsion. The campus behavior coordinator must consider extenuating circumstances such as self-defense, intent or disability before ordering major sanctions. (Signed by Governor 6/20/15)

SB 133   Schwertner, Charles

Revises the law regarding mental health training to clarify that it refers specifically to school district employees defined as a person employed by a school district who regularly interacts with students through the course of the person’s duties, including an educator, a secretary, a school bus driver, or a cafeteria worker; and to resource officers. (Signed by Governor 6/17/15)  

SB 149   Seliger, Kel

Requires districts and charter schools to create an individual graduation committee (IGC) at the end of a student’s 11th grade year for each 11th or 12th grade student who fails up to two end-of-course exams required for high school graduation. The committee is composed of the principal/ designee, the teacher of each course for which the student failed the EOC, the department chair or lead teacher supervising the teacher of the course, and as applicable, the student's parent (or the student if at least 18 years of age). For a student to be able to graduate under this route, the student must successfully complete the curriculum requirements required for high school graduation. The IGC must recommend additional requirements by which the student may qualify to graduate, including: (1) additional remediation; and (2) for each failed, the completion of a project related to the subject area or the preparation of a portfolio of work samples in the subject area. The IGC must consider the recommendation of the teacher of each relevant course, the grade in each relevant course, the EOC score, hours of remediation, attendance rate, satisfaction of TSI benchmarks, successful completion of dual credit courses, and performance on a number of additional measures. The committee's vote to determine a student's eligibility for graduation must be unanimous, and the decision is final and unappealable. Requires each school district to report the number of students graduating under this route for each school year.  Provides that a student failing the Algebra I or English II EOC but who receives a proficient score on the TSI in the corresponding subject satisfies the requirements regarding passage of the Algebra I or English II EOC. (Signed by Governor 5/13/15)

SB 168  Uresti, Carlos

Allows the commissioner to waive the superintendent certification requirement upon a district's request. A district can only employ an uncertified superintendent if it has obtained the waiver. (Signed by Governor 6/19/15)

SB 265  Ellis, Rodney

Authorizes a student to possess and use sunscreen on school property or at a school-related activity. (Signed by Governor 6/19/15)

SB 313  Seliger, Kel

Requires the SBOE to review the TEKS of each foundation curriculum subject most recently revised by the SBOE with an effective date before Sep. 1, 2012, and modify the TEKS  to narrow the content and scope of standards and skills for the subject at each grade level. In conducting the review, the SBOE must consider the time a teacher would require to provide instruction on a standard or skill and the time a typical student would need to master it; whether each essential knowledge and skill can be comprehensively taught in a school year; college and career readiness standards and whether inclusion of part of those standards in the TEKS is possible; and whether an assessment instrument adequately assess a standard or skill. Provides that the review may not result in a need for new instructional materials in any subject other than English language arts. Until the review is complete, the SBOE may not add to or modify the TEKS in the subjects to be reviewed.

Requires the SBOE to develop a chart indicated the alignment of college readiness standards with TEKS. Limits the SBOE to issuing proclamations for instructional materials in which the total projected costs is no more than 75 percent of the instructional materials allotment for that biennium.

Requires a detailed report on a student's test performance to be provided to the student, parent and teachers, including an analysis of performance on each assessed standard or skill and whether it was mastered. (VETOED by Governor 6/20/15)

SB 382  Uresti, Carlos

Requires SBEC to allow an educator to receive continuing education credit for completion of a course on the use of an automated external defibrillator. (Signed by Governor 6/19/15)

SB 496  Watson, Kirk

Revises the calculation of average daily attendance for students in an optional flexible school day program so that funding is based on the same instructional hour requirements as the regular program. Allows compensatory education funds to be used to provide assistance with child care or associated transportation costs for students in a life skills program or who are at risk of dropping out. Expands eligibility for option flexible school day programs by letting districts decide if such a program would be beneficial to a campus. Requires the commissioner of education to add "pregnancy" as one of the leaver code designations in the PEIMS system. (VETOED by Governor 6/20/15)

SB 507  Lucio, Jr., Eddie

Requires districts and charter schools to provide equipment, including a video camera, for each classroom in which a student in a special education self-contained classroom or other special education setting is enrolled. The school must place, operate and maintain at least one camera in each special education setting in which a majority of the students are provided special education and related services and are assigned to a self-contained classroom or other special education setting for at least half of the instructional day. Cameras must be able to cover all areas of the classroom (except for the inside of a bathroom or any area in which a student's clothes are changed) and to record audio from all areas of the classroom. The school must provide written notice to all school staff and to parents of the students in the classroom. Video must be retained for at least six months.

The school may not allow regular or continual monitoring of the video, or use the video for teacher evaluation or any other purpose other than the safety of the students in the classroom. The video from the classroom is confidential and may not be released or viewed except by an employee or parent of a student involved in an incident for which a complaint has been reported; appropriate Department of Family and Protective Services personnel as part of an investigation; a peace officer, school nurse, district administrator trained in de-escalation and restraint techniques, or a human resources staff person in response to a complaint or investigation of district or school personnel or a complaint of abuse committed by a student; or TEA or SBEC personnel as part of an investigation.

Allows the commissioner to develop a grant program using any excess Foundation School Program funds through which grants can be made for the purchase of or reimbursement of cost of purchasing video equipment for this purpose. (Signed by Governor 6/19/15)

SB 674  Campbell, Donna

Replaces the requirement that certification training include instruction in the detection of students with mental or emotional disorders with required training in mental health, substance abuse and youth suicide. Specifies that the instruction must be provided through a program selected from a list of recommended best practice-based programs and must include effective strategies for teaching and intervening with students with mental or emotional disorders, including de-escalation techniques and positive behavioral interventions and supports. (Signed by Governor 6/19/15)

SB 686  Seliger, Kel

Revises eligibility for the Math and Science Scholars Loan Repayment Program  to eliminate eligibility for enrollees in educator preparation programs, instead requiring that a person be teaching under a probationary teaching certificate. Allows the Legislature to appropriate funds for the program (current funding is via gifts/grants/donations). The budget (HB 1) provides funding of nearly $1.3 million for each year of the biennium which, according to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, will provide loan repayments for 1000 students per year. (Signed by Governor 5/29/15)

SB 810  Seliger, Kel

Allows a district and a municipality to contract for the district to contribute resources to pay a portion of the costs of an instructional facility, stadium or other athletic facility owned by the municipality if there is a written agreement allowing the district to use the facility. (Signed by Governor 5/18/15)

SB 925   Kolkhorst, Lois

Requires the commissioner to develop literacy achievement academies for K-3 teachers who provide reading instruction. The academies must include training in effective and systematic instructional practices in reading, including phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension and the use of the use of empirically validated instructional methods that are appropriate for struggling readers. The training may include effective instructional practices in writing. The commissioner will adopt selection criteria for teachers who may participate in the training, giving priority to teachers employed in districts with 50% or more educational disadvantaged students, and provide a process through which these teachers may attend the academy if there is space and the employing school district pays the cost of attending. Participating teachers will receive a stipend (amount to be determined by the commissioner). Education service centers will help (upon request) with training and other related activities. (Signed by Governor 5/21/15)

SB 934   Kolkhorst, Lois

Requires the commissioner to develop math achievement academies for K-3 teachers who provide math instruction. The academies must include training in effective and systematic instructional practices in math including problem solving, the place value system, whole number operations, and fractions. Selection criteria for teachers who may attend the academies must give priority to teachers in districts in which 50% or more students are educationally disadvantaged and provide a process through which these teachers may attend the academy if there is space and the employing school district pays the cost of attending. A participating teacher is entitled to a stipend in an amount to be determined by the commissioner; education service centers will, upon request assist the commissioner and TEA with training and other activities related to the academies. (Signed by Governor 5/28/15)

SB 935   Kolkhorst, Lois

Requires the commissioner to establish a reading excellence team pilot program. Eligible districts would have low student performance on the K-3 reading instruments or 3rd grade reading STAAR. The pilot must establish teams composed of reading specialists who would review assessment results to determine the campuses and classrooms with the greatest needs and work with those teachers to provide training to improve outcomes. (Signed by Governor 5/28/15)

SB 955  Schwertner, Charles

Removes the current limitation on the locations at which a college or university can operate a charter school (currently limited to the county in which the college or university is located). (Signed by Governor 6/16/15)

SB 968  West, Royce

Requires the SBOE to adopt TEKS in the health enrichment curriculum addressing the dangers, causes, and symptoms of nonmedical use of prescription drugs. TEA must compile a list of prescription drug misuse awareness programs from which a district must chose a program to use in the middle/junior high and high school health curricula. (Signed by Governor 6/19/15)

SB 972   Kolkhorst, Lois

Requires the commissioner to develop reading-to-learn academies for teachers who provide reading comprehension instruction in 4th or 5th grade. An academy must include effective instructional practices that promote student development of reading comprehension and inferential and critical thinking, must provide training in empirically validated instructional methods, may include writing instruction, and must provide access to materials via the Internet to the participating teachers after they attend the academy. Priority will be granted to teachers at a campus with 50% or more educationally disadvantaged students. A process must be provided so that a teacher at a campus not meeting that criterion could attend if there is available space and the district pays the teacher's costs. Participating teachers are entitled to a stipend. Education service centers will, upon request, assist the commissioner and TEA with training and other activities related to the academies. (Signed by Governor 5/28/15)

SB 996  Taylor, Van

Requires that a school district or charter school provide a parent, upon request, written notice regarding whether any employee of the school is currently appointed a school marshal, and prohibits the notice from including the identity of the marshal. (Signed by Governor 6/19/15)

SB 1259  Rodriguez, Jose

TCTA-initiated bill that ensures that a teacher who instructs a student with a disability in a regular education classroom is able to provide input into the student’s IEP, ensures that the regular education teacher serving on the ARD committee is a teacher who is responsible for implementing part of the student’s IEP, and ensures that a teacher who disagrees with a portion of an IEP has the opportunity to write a statement of disagreement. (Signed by Governor 6/19/15)

SB 1309  Menendez, Jose

Requires SBEC to establish a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps teacher certificate. To be eligible for certification, a person must have a bachelor's degree, satisfy eligibility and testing requirements for JROTC certification established by the branch of service in which the person served, and complete an approved educator preparation program. A candidate's training and experience acquired during military service serves as proof of demonstration of subject matter knowledge. A person does not have to hold the JROTC certification in order to teach JJROTC. For eligibility requirements for principal certification, a teacher with the JROTC certification is considered to hold a classroom teaching certificate, and may apply as creditable years of teaching experience any period during which the teacher was employed as a JROTC instructor before or after being certified. (Signed by Governor 6/19/15)

SB 1494  Uresti, Carlos

Adds homeless students to the laws regarding students in foster care with regard to facilitating transition between campuses. (Signed by Governor 6/19/15)

SB 1940  Huffman, Joan

Creates a joint interim committee to study TRS-Care and ActiveCare, to be composed of three senators appointed by the lieutenant governor and three House members appointed by the speaker. The report is to examine and assess the financial soundness of the plans, the cost and affordability of plan coverage, and the sufficiency of access to physicians and health care providers. (Signed by Governor 6/19/15)


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