November 2019 Committee on School Initiatives Item 3

Proposed Amendments to 19 TAC Chapter 61, School Districts, Subchapter A, Board of Trustees Relationship
(First Reading and Filing Authorization)

November 15, 2019

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

SUMMARY: This item presents for first reading and filing authorization proposed amendments to 19 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) Chapter 61, School Districts, Subchapter A, Board of Trustees Relationship. The proposed amendment to §61.1 would reflect changes made by House Bill (HB) 3 and HB 403, 86th Texas Legislature, 2019, to the State Board of Education's (SBOE's) duty to provide training courses for independent school district trustees. The proposed amendment to §61.2 would address the required number of nominees for trustee candidates for military reservation districts.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY: Texas Education Code (TEC), §11.159, as amended by HB 403, 86th Texas Legislature, 2019; TEC, §11.185 and §11.186, as added by HB 3, 86th Texas Legislature, 2019; and TEC, §11.352.

TEC, §11.159, as amended by HB 403, 86th Texas Legislature, 2019, requires the SBOE to provide a training course for school board trustees, including one hour of training every two years, on identifying and reporting potential victims of sexual abuse, human trafficking, and other maltreatment of children. 

TEC, §11.185 and §11.186, as added by HB 3, 86th Texas Legislature, 2019, requires each district board of trustees to adopt proficiency plans and annual goals for early childhood literacy, mathematics proficiency, and college, career, and military readiness. 

TEC, §11.352, grants the SBOE the authority to appoint a board of three or five trustees for each military reservation district. 

The full text of statutory citations can be found in the statutory authority section of this agenda.

EFFECTIVE DATE: The proposed effective date of the proposed amendments is 20 days after filing as adopted with the Texas Register. Under TEC, §7.102(f), the SBOE must approve the rule action at second reading and final adoption by a vote of two-thirds of its members to specify an effective date earlier than the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year. The earlier effective date will allow school board trustees to take updated training before the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year.

PREVIOUS BOARD ACTION: The SBOE adopted 19 TAC §61.1 to implement continuing education for board members effective March 1, 1996. The SBOE adopted amendments to 19 TAC §61.1 effective May 7, 2003; December 20, 2010; August 25, 2014; and June 13, 2018. 

The SBOE adopted 19 TAC §61.2 for the nomination of trustees for military reservation districts and Boys Ranch Independent School District effective September 1, 1996. The SBOE adopted amendments to 19 TAC §61.2 effective December 20, 2010; and March 7, 2012.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND JUSTIFICATION: The TEC, §11.159, Member Training and Orientation, requires the SBOE to provide a training course for school board trustees. Section 61.1, Continuing Education for School Board Members, 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, specified hours of continuing education based on identified needs, and training on evaluating student academic performance. 

HB 403, 86th Texas Legislature, 2019, amended TEC, §11.159, to include a requirement for trustees to receive training regarding sexual abuse, human trafficking, and other maltreatment of children. The proposed amendment to §61.1 would implement this requirement in proposed new subsection (b)(7).

HB 3, 86th Texas Legislature, 2019, added TEC, §11.185 and §11.186, to require each district board of trustees to adopt proficiency plans and annual goals for early childhood literacy, mathematics proficiency, and college, career, and military readiness. The annual goals should be for the subsequent five years to reach quantifiable goals. These plans are to be reviewed each year by the board of trustees and posted on the website of each district and campus. The proposed amendment to §61.1 would implement this requirement in proposed new subsection (b)(6).

In addition, §61.1 would be amended as follows. 

The text of subsection (b)(1)-(6) would be reformatted for clarity using language that currently exists in the rule and, in some instances, making non-substantive changes. 

Proposed new subsection (b)(1)(E) would specify that the orientation for school board members must include information on the cybersecurity training required by Texas Government Code, §2054.5191. This requirement would ensure that school board members are aware of additional training required by statute.

The required provider for the team-building training specified in proposed new subsection (b)(4) would be changed from a registered provider to an authorized provider. This change would ensure that team-building trainings address specific needs of each school board based on the framework for governance leadership described in §61.1(a).

Language would be added in proposed new subsections (c) and (d) to clarify the distinction between a registered and an authorized training provider. 

Finally, technical edits would be made throughout §61.1 to conform with the reorganization of the rule.

TEC, §11.352, grants the SBOE the authority to appoint a board of three or five trustees for each military reservation district. Enlisted personnel and officers may be appointed to the school board, but a majority of the trustees must be civilians. The trustees are selected from a list of people provided by the commanding officer of the military reservation. Section 61.2 Nomination of Trustees for Military Reservation School Districts and Boys Ranch Independent School District, addresses this statutory requirement.

The proposed amendment to §61.2 would change the minimum number of military-district trustee nominations from three to one. This change would allow for greater flexibility and local control by making an allowance for specific circumstances for each military reservation district and for the discretion of the commanding officer.

Other technical edits would also be made to §61.2.

FISCAL IMPACT: The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has determined that there are no additional costs to state or local government required to comply with the proposal. 

LOCAL EMPLOYMENT IMPACT: The proposal has no effect on local economy; therefore, no local employment impact statement is required under Texas Government Code, §2001.022.

SMALL BUSINESS, MICROBUSINESS, AND RURAL COMMUNITY IMPACT: The proposal has no direct adverse economic impact for small businesses, microbusinesses, or rural communities; therefore, no regulatory flexibility analysis specified in Texas Government Code, §2006.002, is required.

COST INCREASE TO REGULATED PERSONS: The proposal does not impose a cost on regulated persons, another state agency, a special district, or a local government and, therefore, is not subject to Texas Government Code, §2001.0045.

TAKINGS IMPACT ASSESSMENT: The proposal does not impose a burden on private real property and, therefore, does not constitute a taking under Texas Government Code, §2007.043.

GOVERNMENT GROWTH IMPACT: TEA staff prepared a Government Growth Impact Statement assessment for this proposed rulemaking. The proposed rulemaking would expand an existing regulation. The amendment to 19 TAC §61.1 would add training in identifying and reporting potential victims of sexual abuse, human trafficking, and other maltreatment of children and training in setting campus goals for early childhood literacy and mathematics and college, career, and military readiness to the existing, required trustee training. The proposal would also limit an existing regulation by reducing the number of required military-district trustee nominations.

The proposed rulemaking would not create or eliminate a government program; would not require the creation of new employee positions or elimination of existing employee positions; would not require an increase or decrease in future legislative appropriations to the agency; would not require an increase or decrease in fees paid to the agency; would not create a new regulation; would not repeal an existing regulation; would not increase or decrease the number of individuals subject to its applicability; and would not positively or adversely affect the state's economy.

PUBLIC BENEFIT AND COST TO PERSONS: The proposed amendment would align the rule with statute and support school boards in providing oversight regarding identifying and reporting potential victims of sexual abuse, human trafficking, and other maltreatment of children and setting campus goals for early childhood literacy and mathematics and college, career, and military readiness. There is no anticipated economic cost to persons who are required to comply with the proposal.

DATA AND REPORTING IMPACT: The proposal would have no new data and reporting impact.

PRINCIPAL AND CLASSROOM TEACHER PAPERWORK REQUIREMENTS: TEA has determined that the proposal would not require a written report or other paperwork to be completed by a principal or classroom teacher.

PUBLIC COMMENTS: The public comment period on the proposal begins December 20, 2019 and ends January 24, 2020. The SBOE will take registered oral and written comments on the proposal at the appropriate committee meeting in January 2020 in accordance with the SBOE board operating policies and procedures. A request for a public hearing on the proposal submitted under the Administrative Procedure Act must be received by the commissioner of education not more than 14 calendar days after notice of the proposal has been published in the Texas Register on December 20, 2019.

MOTION TO BE CONSIDERED: The State Board of Education:

Approve for first reading and filing authorization proposed amendments to 19 TAC Chapter 61, School Districts, Subchapter A, Board of Trustees Relationship.

Staff Members Responsible:
Jeff Cottrill, Deputy Commissioner, Governance and Accountability
Drew Howard, Senior Director, Lone Star Governance
Jason Hewitt, Senior Director, Special Investigations, Monitors, and Conservators

Attachment:     Text of Proposed Amendments to 19 TAC Chapter 61, School Districts, Subchapter A, Board of Trustees Relationship