Jan-Feb 2019 Committee on School Initiatives Item 6

Review of 19 TAC Chapter 157, Hearings and Appeals, Subchapter A, General Provisions for Hearings Before the State Board of Education, and Subchapter D, Independent Hearing Examiners  

January 31, 2019  

COMMITTEE ON SCHOOL INITIATIVES: DISCUSSION
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION: NO ACTION  

SUMMARY: Texas Government Code (TGC), §2001.039, establishes a four-year rule review cycle for all state agency rules, including State Board of Education (SBOE) rules. This item presents the review of 19 TAC Chapter 157, Hearings and Appeals, Subchapter A, General Provisions for Hearings Before the State Board of Education, and Subchapter D, Independent Hearing Examiners. Subchapter A establishes the procedures for appeals heard by the SBOE regarding administrative penalties for violations of textbook requirements. Subchapter D sets forth the certification criteria for independent hearing examiners who conduct due process termination, nonrenewal, and suspension without pay hearings at the school district level.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY: Statutory authority for the rule review is TGC, §2001.039. The statutory authority for 19 TAC Chapter 157, Subchapter A, is Texas Education Code (TEC), §31.151, and TGC, §2001.004. The statutory authority for Subchapter D is TEC, §21.252.

TGC, §2001.039, requires all state agencies to review their rules at least once every four years.

TEC, §31.151, and TGC, §2001.004, authorize the adoption of procedural rules to govern SBOE administrative penalty hearings involving textbook publishers.

TEC, §21.252(a), requires the SBOE to establish certification criteria for independent hearing examiners.

FUTURE ACTION EXPECTED: The review of 19 TAC Chapter 157, Subchapters A and D, will be presented to the SBOE for adoption at the April 2019 board meeting.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND JUSTIFICATION: Chapter 157, Subchapter A, establishes general rules for contested cases regarding administrative penalties for violations of textbook requirements under the TGC, Chapter 2001, and provides that these contested cases are heard by the SOAH. The SOAH will make findings of fact and conclusions of law and present a proposal for decision to the SBOE for consideration.

Chapter 157, Subchapter D, specifies certification criteria for independent hearing examiners such as license required, experience, continuing education, and annual recertification. The examiners preside over due process hearings involving terminations, suspensions without pay, and nonrenewal of term employment contracts. The examiners also develop findings of fact and conclusions of law, which are referred to the school district board of trustees. The board of trustees reviews the recommendation and votes on it.

Statute still requires the SBOE to provide a hearing prior to imposing a penalty for violation of TEC, §31.151. Statute still requires the SBOE to establish criteria for the certification of hearing examiners. Therefore, the reasons for initially adopting these provisions continue to exist.

ANTICIPATED REVISIONS TO RULES: No revisions are anticipated at this time.

PUBLIC COMMENTS: The Texas Education Agency (TEA) plans to file the review of 19 TAC Chapter 157, Subchapters A and D, with the Texas Register following the January-February 2019 SBOE meeting. The TEA will accept comments as to whether the reasons for adopting 19 TAC Chapter 157, Subchapters A and D, continue to exist. The official comment period will begin with publication of the notice of proposed review in the Texas Register.

The filing of the notice of proposed review soliciting comments as to whether the reasons for adoption continue to exist would not preclude any amendments that may be proposed at different dates through a separate rulemaking process.  

Staff Members Responsible:
 Von Byer, General Counsel, Legal Services
 Christopher Maska, TEA Ethics Advisor, Legal Services

Attachment:              
Text of 19 TAC Chapter 157, Hearings and Appeals, Subchapter A, General Provisions for Hearings Before the State Board of Education, and Subchapter D, Independent Hearing Examiners