Texas Insider Report: AUSTIN, Texas – In a significant and bi-partisan effort, the Texas House's sponsor of a critical education improvement bill – House Public Education Committee Chairman Harold Dutton (D-Houston) – helped move SB 1365 authored by Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston,) to the House Floor by ushering the bill out of committee on a 7-5-1 vote.
This legislation ensures Texas students will continue to be put FIRST by implementing the "Statutory Turnaround Model" for low-performing or failing public schools.
SB 1365 would also clarify previous provisions put in place by the Texas legislature that allowed the Texas Education Agency's (TEA) Commissioner to take action after the 5-year timeline regarding the failed academic and financial performance of several school districts, which were undone by a recent 3rd Court of Appeals ruling.
"SB 1365 is a very important bill for students, parents and ISDs in Texas, and I'm hoping its headed to Governor Abbott's desk," said Bettencourt (right.)
"This legislation will ensure that students get a quality education, and don’t have to stay at a school that's failing its improvement requests, or IR," added Bettencourt.
The changes in SB 1365 applies to school districts and open-enrollment charter schools to continue operations of the accountability system.
Key provisions of SB 1365 include:
- A-F Rating System: Schools in year 3 of receiving an F rating are required to implement a TEA Commissioner-approved campus turnaround plan
- Enables the TEA Commissioner to appoint a board of managers, or close the school if the district fails to submit a campus turnaround plan within 2 years
- Year 5 of schools receiving an F rating requires the TEA Commissioner to appoint board of managers to turn around campus or close the school.
- Clarifies explicit conservator authority over a district regardless for the reasons of the placement of the conservator
"We are talking about restoring all the reforms that have been made in the Public Education system for the last 5 years, because of a twisted 3d Court of Appeals ruling, striking down the A-F reform and other actions the Texas Legislature has taken in a bipartisan matter over the past few years," Bettencourt said.
"SB 1365 is a good bipartisan public policy, and makes the process clear and intentional when there are failing schools so students don’t get left behind!" Bettencourt concluded.