The House Public Education Committee met Tuesday to hear 10 bills, including one that would help prevent excessive sanctions against teachers who resign after the deadline in certain circumstances.

HB 2519 by Rep. Drew Darby arose from a situation that Darby was made aware of involving an educator who resigned after the deadline from his district to accept a promotion in another district. Because he had moved, he did not receive the notice from SBEC informing him that there was a pending action against him stemming from the district reporting him for contract abandonment. According to Darby, SBEC sought revocation of the teacher’s certification. The bill would move the resignation deadline from 45 days before the start of school to 30 days before and improve how notification is provided to educators, among other revisions. Darby noted that “We need to support, not scare off, good teachers.” TCTA is supporting the bill, as we have attempted in previous sessions to move the deadline, and we are working with Darby’s office on further refinements in a committee substitute.

Other bills on the agenda:

  • HB 144 by Rep. Mary Gonzalez would require schools to review and assess the impact of COVID-19 disruptions on the provision of special education services.
  • HB 363 by VanDeaver would tighten up security measures surrounding student data. (TCTA supported)
  • HB 999 by Rep. Diego Bernal is would address the effects of COVID-19 disruptions on high school seniors, and would temporarily (for the current and following two school years) revise the process for individualized graduation committees to evaluate whether a student should be allowed to graduate despite not meeting all criteria. It would allow an IGC to determine whether a student could graduate without considering the student’s performance on state assessments (for example, the student could fail more than two assessments and still be allowed to graduate if so determined by the IGC). (TCTA supported)
  • HB 1525 by Rep. Dan Huberty is a “clean up” bill for last session’s HB 3. It addresses some technical issues and includes new issues addressing current concerns. Among the latter (to be included in a committee substitute) is an extension of the deadline for participation in a reading academy from 2021-22 to 2023-24.
  • HB 2120 by Rep. Keith Bell would impose timelines to ensure that complaints to a school board are addressed in no later than 120 days. (TCTA supported)
  • HB 2261 by Rep. Gene Wu would clarify that local management districts are authorized to provide services such as landscaping and trash pickup on school property.
  • HB 2287 by Thompson would authorize TEA and other entities to share student data in order to evaluate the effect of mental health services and trainings in public schools. 
  • HB 2557 by Rep. Glenn Rogers would create a school security volunteer program under which retired police officers and military veterans (no school employees) could provide security for a school district, with the ability to carry firearms if authorized by the school board. 
  • HB 2954 by Rep. Senfronia Thompson would create optional programs for suicide prevention, intervention and “postvention” in elementary schools. (TCTA supported)