JLM C.S.H.B. 583 75(R) BILL ANALYSIS PUBLIC EDUCATION C.S.H.B. 583 By: Maxey 5-6-97 Committee Report (Substituted) BACKGROUND In November 1995, Commissioner of Education, Mike Moses, created a unit for parental involvement and community empowerment at TEA. This unit has been highly successful in promoting and improving efforts to increase parental involvement in a number of ways. First, agency personnel provide training to field service representatives that staff the twenty regional Education Service Centers across the state. This training is focused on ways to encourage and sustain parental involvement. These field service representatives, in turn, train teachers and school district personnel in local school districts. The Parental Involvement Unit acts as a clearinghouse for information about parental involvement programs and issues. However, activities related to parental involvement are still not centralized within the agency. Parents must be referred to several departments in order to obtain all of the available services and information that the agency has to offer. Currently, the Parental Involvement Unit operates at the discretion of the Commissioner and is not required to exist under current statute. The committee substitute requires school districts to include information about how to contact the Parental Involvement Unit. Previous to the passage of SB 1 in 1995, local school boards had the ability to use local citizenship and scholarship awards using local funds. According to a recent opinion by the State Attorney General, revisions in the Education Code prohibit local school districts from making this type of expenditure. Simple revisions in the language under this section will restore this type of spending authority to local school boards. PURPOSE This bill would require the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to establish a division that would consolidate all agency activities related to parental involvement. This legislation also restores the ability of local school boards to expend local funds for purposes they deem necessary in the conduct of public schools, including expenditures for local scholarship an citizenship awards. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the committee's opinion that this bill grants rulemaking authority to the commissioner of education in Section 2. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Subchapter B, Chapter 7 of the Education Code by adding Section 7.025 as follows: (a) Requires the agency to establish a parental involvement division (b) Directs the parental involvement division to develop, implement, and administer programs to encourage and maintain parental involvement in public schools. SECTION 2. Amends Section 39.052(b) and (c) relating to campus report cards as follows: (b) Requires the following to be included on the school report card: (4) Phone number of the agency's parental involvement division on the school report card. (5) Phone number that parents can call at agency if they have question about TAAS tests and scores. (c) Amended to require commissioner to adopt rules that conform to the requirements under subsections (b)(4) and (5). SECTION 3. Amends Section 45.105(c), Education Code, to allow school districts to spend local funds on "purposes", not just "goods and services" deemed necessary. SECTION 4. This section requires the consolidation of current activities related to parental involvement at the agency into the parental involvement division as follows: (a) Directs the Commissioner to consolidate all programs and activities related to parental involvement as of January 1, 1998. (b) Directs the transfer of personnel, money, records, property and equipment from the various consolidated programs to the parental involvement division as of January 1, 1998. SECTION 5. Amendment to Sections 39.052(b) and (c) apply to campus report cards for the 1997-98 school year and each year thereafter. SECTION 6. Effective Date. SECTION 7. Emergency clause. COMPARISON OF ORIGINAL TO SUBSTITUTE The committee substitute to HB 583 adds the requirement to include the phone numbers of both the Parental involvement unit at TEA and the unit that can answer questions about the TAAS test or TAAS scores on campus report cards, whereas HB 583 has no equivalent provision.. The substitute also includes language that amends Section 45.105(c) that was not included in the original bill. This change is designed to allow school districts to spend local funds on "purposes," not just "goods and services" they deem necessary.