July 2014 Committee on School Initiatives Item 4

Proposed Amendment to 19 TAC Chapter 61, School Districts, Subchapter A, Board of Trustees Relationship, §61.1, Continuing Education for School Board Members
(Second Reading and Final Adoption)

July 18, 2014

COMMITTEE ON SCHOOL INITIATIVES:  ACTION
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION:  ACTION

SUMMARY:
  This item presents for second reading and final adoption proposed amendment to 19 TAC Chapter 61, School Districts, Subchapter A, Board of Trustees Relationship, §61.1, Continuing Education for School Board Members. The proposed amendment, presented at the request of a State Board of Education (SBOE) member, would require coverage of specific topics during local school district orientation and continuing education and would clarify the requirements of certain trainings. No changes are recommended since approved for first reading.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY:  Texas Education Code (TEC), §11.159.

EFFECTIVE DATE: The proposed effective date of the proposed amendment to 19 TAC §61.1 is August 25, 2014.

PREVIOUS BOARD ACTION:  Section 61.1 was adopted effective March 1, 1996, and last amended effective December 20, 2010. A discussion item regarding proposed amendment to 19 TAC §61.1 was presented to the Committee on School Initiatives during its January 2014 meeting. The SBOE approved the proposed amendment to 19 TAC §61.1, as amended, for first reading and filing authorization at its April 2014 meeting.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND SIGNIFICANT ISSUES:  The TEC, §11.159, Member Training and Orientation, requires the SBOE to provide a training course for school board trustees. Section 61.1 addresses this statutory requirement. School board trustee training under current SBOE rule includes a local school district orientation session, a basic orientation to the TEC, an annual team-building session with the local school board and the superintendent, and specified hours of continuing education based on identified needs. A member of the SBOE has requested that the rule be updated after receiving feedback from local school board members and administrators.

The proposed amendment to 19 TAC §61.1, shown as Attachment II, would add language requiring the local school district orientation session to include training on specific topics, establishing that the training must be at least three hours in length for each new board member, and clarifying that any sitting board member may attend or participate in the local district orientation. The proposed amendment would also add language addressing the minimum length of hours for the basic orientation to the TEC, including the timeframe during which the TEC orientation must be received by newly elected or appointed board members, and would clarify that the TEC orientation is open to any sitting board member who chooses to attend. In addition, the proposed amendment would specify that the annual team-building session include a review of the roles, rights, and responsibilities of a local board as outlined in the framework for governance leadership. The proposed amendment would also add the requirement that the announcement regarding completion of the annual required continuing education include a statement that the continuing education is a basic obligation and expectation of any sitting board member.

No changes are recommended since approved for first reading.

FISCAL IMPACT:  The Texas Education Agency has determined that there are no additional costs to persons or entities required to comply with the proposed rule action. In addition, there is no direct adverse economic impact for small businesses and microbusinesses; therefore, no regulatory flexibility analysis, specified in Texas Government Code, §2006.002, is required.

PUBLIC AND STUDENT BENEFIT:  The proposed amendment would enhance the knowledge base of local school board members elected to oversee the local education system.

PROCEDURAL AND REPORTING IMPLICATIONS:  The proposed amendment would have no new procedural and reporting implications. As specified in current rule, the framework for governance leadership used in structuring continuing education for board members is posted to the Texas Education Agency website and each local school board president is required to share the information with other local school board members and the superintendent. Board training updates must be disseminated, noted in the minutes, and announced at the last regular meeting of the board of trustees held during the calendar year.

LOCALLY MAINTAINED PAPERWORK REQUIREMENTS:  The proposed amendment would have no new locally maintained paperwork requirements. In accordance with current rule, verification of completion of board member continuing education must be maintained by the participant and participant's school district. Minutes of the board meeting in which continuing education hours obtained by each board member for the past calendar year are announced must also be maintained locally and made available to local media.

PUBLIC COMMENTS:  Following the April 2014 SBOE meeting, notice of proposed amendment to 19 TAC Chapter 61, School Districts, Subchapter A, Board of Trustees Relationship, §61.1, Continuing Education for School Board Members, was filed with the Texas Register, initiating the official public comment period. No comments had been received at the time this item was prepared. A summary of public comments received regarding the proposal will be provided to the SBOE during the July 2014 meeting.

ALTERNATIVES:  None.

OTHER COMMENTS AND RELATED ISSUES:  None.

MOTION TO BE CONSIDERED: The State Board of Education:

Approve for second reading and final adoption proposed amendment to 19 TAC Chapter 61, School Districts, Subchapter A, Board of Trustees Relationship, §61.1, Continuing Education for School Board Members, with an effective date of August 25, 2014.

Staff Member Responsible:
Ronald Rowell, Director
School Governance

Attachments:
I. Statutory Citation (PDF, 14KB)
II. Text of Proposed Amendment to 19 TAC Chapter 61, School Districts, Subchapter A, Board of Trustees Relationship, §61.1, Continuing Education for School Board Members (PDF, 31KB)