HBA-LCA H.B. 2307 76(R)BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 2307 By: Keffer Public Education 7/28/1999 Enrolled BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE H.B. 2307 creates the Master Reading Teacher Grant Program (program) and establishes the manner in which school districts are funded for the program, as well as criteria teachers must meet in order to receive a stipend from the program. Furthermore, this bill requires the State Board for Educator Certification to establish a master reading teacher certificate in order to attain the program goals and sets forth eligibility requirements teachers must meet in order to receive this certificate. H.B. 2307 also creates a staff development account in the general revenue fund which consists of gifts, grants, donations, appropriations for staff development, and any other money transferred by law to the account. This bill authorizes the commissioner of education to allocate funds from the account to provide staff development resources to a school district that is rated academically unacceptable, has one or more low-performing campuses, or otherwise needs assistance. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking authority is expressly delegated to the commissioner of education in SECTION 1 (Section 21.410, Education Code) and SECTION 3 (Section 21.453, Education Code), and to the State Board for Educator Certification in SECTION 6 of this bill. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Subchapter I, Chapter 21, Education Code, by adding Section 21.410, as follows: Sec. 21.410. MASTER READING TEACHER GRANT PROGRAM. (a) Requires the commissioner of education (commissioner) or a person designated by the commissioner of education to establish a master reading teacher grant program to fulfill certain goals with respect to teacher certification and improving student reading performance. (b) Requires the commissioner to make grants from appropriated funds to school districts (districts) to pay stipends to selected certified master reading teachers who teach at highneed campuses. (c) Requires the commissioner, using certain criteria, including those established by the commissioner by rule, to annually identify each high-need campus in a district. Requires the commissioner to also use this criteria to rank campuses in order of greatest need. (d) Authorizes a district to apply to the commissioner for grants for each identified highneed campus to pay stipends to certified master reading teachers. Provides that each grant is in the amount of $5,000, unless reduced under Subsection (g) or (i). Sets forth conditions under which the commissioner shall approve an application from a district. (e) Provides that a stipend under Subsection (d) is in the amount of $5,000, unless reduced under Subsection (g) or (i). (f) Requires the commissioner to adopt rules for the distribution of grants to districts in years following the initial grant. Sets forth conditions under which a district need not reapply for a grant for two consecutive school years following the year of the initial grant. (g) Requires the commissioner to reduce payments to a district proportionately to the extent that the teacher does not meet the requirements for the entire school year as specified under Subsection (d). Establishes conditions under which the board of trustees (board) of a district is required to select certified master reading teachers to receive stipends based on a policy adopted by the board in the event that there are more certified teachers than grants available. Provides that the district's decision is final and may not be appealed. Prohibits the district from apportioning among teachers a stipend paid for with a grant. Authorizes a district to use local money to pay additional stipends in amounts determined by the district. (h) Specifies that a grant a district receives under this section is in addition to any funding it receives under Chapter 42 (Foundation School Program), Education Code. Requires the commissioner to distribute funds under this section with the Foundation School Program payment to which the district is entitled as soon as practicable after the school year's end a determined by the commissioner. Entitles a district to which Chapter 41 (Equalized Wealth Level), Education Code, applies to grants paid under this section. Requires the commissioner to determine the timing of the distribution of grants to a district not receiving Foundation School Program payments. (i) Establishes that this section does not create a property right to a grant or stipend. Entitles a district entitled to a grant to carry out the purposes of this section to the extent the commissioner makes the grant in accordance with this section and only to the extent that sufficient state funds are appropriated. Requires the commissioner to reduce the grant paid to each district if the appropriated funds are insufficient to fully fund the grant, and requires each district to reduce the stipend to each teacher, so that each teacher receives the same amount of money, proportionately. (j) Establishes that the commissioner's decision regarding the amount of money each district is entitled to is final and may not be appealed. Requires each district to provide necessary proof to the commissioner of the master reading teacher certification of the teacher receiving the stipend, in the manner and time the commissioner prescribes. (k) Authorizes the commissioner to audit the expenditure of appropriated money. Requires a district's use of the appropriated money to be verified as part of the district audit under Section 44.008 (Annual Audit; Report), Education Code. (l) Provides that the stipend awarded to a teacher is not considered in determining whether the district is paying the teacher the minimum monthly salary under Section 21.402 (Minimum Salary Schedule for Classroom Teachers and Full-Time Librarians), Education Code. (m) Authorizes the commissioner to adopt other rules as necessary to implement this section. SECTION 2. Amends Subchapter B, Chapter 21, Education Code, by adding Section 21.0481, as follows: Sec. 21.0481. MASTER READING TEACHER CERTIFICATION. Requires the State Board for Educator Certification to establish a master reading teacher certificate and to issue a master reading certificate to each eligible person. Sets forth requirements to be eligible for a master reading teacher certificate. SECTION 3. Amends Subchapter J, Chapter 21, Education Code, by adding Section 21.453, as follows: Sec. 21.453. STAFF DEVELOPMENT ACCOUNT. (a) Provides that the staff development account (account) is an account in the general revenue fund consisting of gifts, grants, donations, appropriations for staff development, and any other money transferred by law to the account. Authorizes funds in the account to be used only as provided by this section. (b) Authorizes the commissioner to allocate funds from the account to regional education service centers to provide staff development resources to school districts that are rated academically unacceptable, have one or more low-performing campuses, or otherwise need assistance, as determined by the commissioner. (c) Provides that a school district receiving staff development resources must pay to the commissioner half its cost of the resources provided for deposit to the account. (d) Authorizes the commissioner to adopt rules governing the allocation and use of funds under this section. SECTION 4. Amends Section 39.075(c), Education Code, to authorize the commissioner to take action under Sections 39.131(a) (1) through (8) (Sanctions) to improve any area of a district's performance, including its financial accounting practice, regardless of whether the commissioner lowers its accreditation rating under Subchapter G (Accreditation Sanctions). SECTION 5. Amend Section 822.201(b), Government Code, as amended by Chapters 330 and 1035, Acts of the 75th Legislature, Regular Session, 1997, as follows: (b) Redefines "salary and wages" to make conforming changes with respect to stipends paid to teachers according to Section 21.410, Education Code. SECTION 6. Requires the State Board for Educator Certification to propose rules establishing requirements and prescribing an examination for master reading teacher certification no later than January 1, 2001. SECTION 7. Makes this Act effective only if a specific appropriation for its implementation is provided in H.B. 1 (General Appropriations Act), Acts of the 76th Legislature, Regular Session, 1999. SECTION 8. Emergency clause. Effective date: upon passage.