SR S.B. 1158 75(R) BILL ANALYSIS PUBLIC EDUCATION S.B. 1158 By: Luna, Gregory (Sadler) 5-6-97 Committee Report (Unamended) BACKGROUND Currently, the twenty regional education service centers established under former Section 11.32, Education Code, are to be abolished on August 31, 1997, and Chapter 8, Education Code, is to be repealed unless continuing legislative action occurs. PURPOSE To provide for the continuation of regional education service centers. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the committee's opinion the bill expressly grants rulemaking authority in SECTION 1 to the commissioner of education. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1 Amends Chapter 8, Education Code as follows: Section 8.001 (a) The commissioner shall provide for the establishment and operation of a system of not more than 20 regional education service centers. (b) Provides that each school district has the opportunity to be served by and participate in a center that meets the accountability standards established by the commissioner. (c) The commissioner may decide any matter concerning the operation or administration of the system of regional education service centers including: the number and location, the regional boundaries of the centers, and the allocation among centers of state and federal funds administered by the agency. (d) This chapter does not limit a school district's freedom to purchase services from any regional education service center, or require a school district to purchase services from a regional education service center. Section 8.002 The system of regional education service centers shall assist school districts in improving student performance in each region of the system, enable school districts to operate more efficiently and economically, and implement initiatives assigned by the legislature or commissioner. Section 8.003 (b) The commissioner shall adopt rules to provide for the local selection, appointment, and continuity of membership of regional educational service center boards of directors. (e) Each regional educational service center board of directors shall develop policies to ensure the sound management and operation of the center consistent with Section 8.002. Also, regional service centers shall offer programs to campuses under Section 8.051, 8.052, and 8.053. (f) Each regional education service center board of directors shall adopt an annual budget for the following year after conducting a public hearing on the center's performance during the preceding year on standards established by the commissioner. Section 8.004 The selection and dismissal of the executive director of a regional education service center is subject to the approval of the commissioner. Section 8.005 A regional education service center and its employees are subject to or exempt from taxation in the same manner as a school district and school district employees. Section 8.006 An employee or volunteer of a regional education service center is immune from liability to the same extent as an employee or volunteer of a school district. Section 8.007 (a) Requires service centers to accept personal leave accrued by a center employee as sick leave under state law as a state employee. (b) A school district or the state shall accept the personal leave accrued by an employee who was formally employed by a regional education service center. Section 8.051 (a) Each regional education service center shall use funds distributed to develop, maintain, and deliver services identified under this section to improve student and school district performance. (b) Each regional education service center shall annually develop and submit to the commissioner for approval a plan for improvement. Each plan must include the purposes and description of the services the center will provide to low-performing campuses, the lowest performing campus in the region, and other campuses. (c) Each regional education service center shall provide services that enable school districts to operate more efficiently and economically. (d) Identifies the core training and assistance services that service centers are required to offer to districts and campuses. Section 8.052 As directed by the commissioner each regional education service center shall, as necessary, use funds distributed under Section 8.123 to implement initiatives identified by the legislature. Section 8.053 In addition to the services provided and the initiatives implemented, a regional education service center may offer any service requested and purchased by any school district or campus in the state. Section 8.054 A regional education service center may not perform a regulatory function regarding a school district, but may offer training or other assistance to a school district in complying with a state or federal law, rule, or regulation. Section 8.055 (a) Each regional education service center may purchase or lease property or acquire property through lease-purchase and may incur debts for that purpose. A transaction under this subsection is subject to approval of the board of directors. (b) Any transaction under this subsection involving real property is subject to approval by the board of directors and the commissioner of education. (c) Each regional education service center may dispose of property in the manner and on the terms that the board of directors determines. Section 8.101 The commissioner shall establish performance standards and indicators for regional education service centers that measure the achievement of the objectives in Section 8.002. These performance standards and indicators must include student performance in districts served, district effectiveness resulting from center assistance, direct services provided that benefit districts and regions, and grants received to implement state initiatives. Section 8.102 Each regional education service center shall report audited or budgeted financial information and any other information requested by the commissioner for use in assessing the performance of the center. The commissioner shall develop a uniform system to report audited financial data, to report information on the indicators, and to provide information on client satisfaction with services provided. Section 8.103 The commissioner shall conduct an annual evaluation of each executive director and regional education service center. Each evaluation must include an audit of the center's finances, a review of the center's performance on the indicators, a review of client satisfaction with services provided, and a review of any other factor the commissioner determines to be appropriate. Section 8.104 The commissioner shall develop a system of corrective actions to require of a regional education service center that the commissioner determines to be deficient in an accountability measure under Section 8.103. The actions will include conducting an on-site investigation of the center as the least severe action. Section 8.121 (a) Regional education service centers receive state financial support for services provided under Section 8.051 from money appropriated for the Foundation School Program. The commissioner shall distribute money based on the minimum amount necessary for operation, an additional amount of money that reflects the size and number of campuses served by the center, and the impact of the geographic size of a center's service area on the cost of providing services under Section 8.051. (b) The allotments authorized by Subsection (a) in any year may not be less than .4 percent of the amount appropriated for purposes of the Foundation School Program for that year. (c) Each center shall use money distributed under this section for the provision of services required under Section 8.051 or for payment of necessary administrative and operational expenses of the center related to the provision of those services. Section 8.122 (a) The legislature may appropriate money from the foundation school fund to establish an incentive fund to encourage efficiency in the provision of services by the system of regional education service centers. (b) The commissioner may submit to each regular session of the legislature an incentive funding report and plan that: demonstrates centers are providing the services required or permitted by law; defines efficiencies of scale in measurable terms; proposes the payment size and schedule for the incentive fund; and establishes a method for documenting and computing efficiencies. (c) The commissioner shall determine the method by which money appropriated under this section is distributed to regional education service centers. (d) The board of trustees of a school district may delegate purchasing or other administrative functions to a regional education service center to the extent necessary to achieve efficiencies under this section. Section 8.123 (a) The legislature may appropriate money from the foundation school fund or other sources to implement initiatives identified by the legislature. (b) The commissioner may adopt rules governing the strategies, programs, projects, and regions eligible for funding under this section, and the amount of funds that may be distributed to a regional education serviced center for a specific initiative. Section 8.124 (a) Allows money appropriated under this section to be distributed as emergency grants for providing adequate services under Section 8.051 to small and isolated school districts or other school districts in extreme circumstances. Section 8.125 Each regional education service center board of directors, under rules adopted by the commissioner, may enter into a contract for a grant from a public or private organization and may spend grant funds in accordance with the terms of the contract. SECTION 2 Amends Section 7.102, Education Code by deleting the power and duty of the State Board of Education to adopt rules to provide for regional education service center boards of directors as provided by Section 8.003 and rules under which a regional education service center may receive and spend grants under Section 8.1224. The bill then renumbers accordingly. SECTION 3 Amends Section 39.183, Education Code to include in the regional and district level report an evaluation of the performance of the system of regional education service centers based on the indicators adopted under Section 8.101 and client satisfaction with services provided under Subchapter B, Chapter 8. SECTION 4 Repeals Section 59, Chapter 260, Acts of the 74th Legislature, Regular Session, 1995. SECTION 5 Effective dates. SECTION 6 Emergency Clause.