HBA-MPM C.S.S.B. 955 76(R)BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisC.S.S.B. 955 By: Bivins Public Education 5/19/1999 Committee Report (Substituted) BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Last session, Governor George W. Bush launched the Texas Reading Initiative. The Ready to Read Initiative complements the Texas Reading Initiative by targeting low-income preschool children and equipping them with pre-reading skills needed for long-term academic success. C.S.S.B. 955 establishes a competitive grant program designed to allow a public or private preschool to provide scientific, research-based pre-reading instruction designed to improve a student's pre-reading skills and also to identify cost-effective models for pre-reading instruction. This bill also requires the Texas Workforce Commission to develop and administer a scholarship program for professional child-care training and further requires the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to provide student loan repayment assistance to eligible early childhood child-care workers. 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 29.155, Education Code), the Texas Workforce Commission in SECTION 3 (Section 302.006, Labor Code) and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in SECTION 4 (Section 61.877, Education Code) of this bill. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Subchapter E, Chapter 29, Education Code, by adding Section 29.155, as follows: Sec. 29.155. READY TO READ GRANTS. (a) Requires the commissioner of education (commissioner) to make grants as provided by this section in support of pre-reading instruction from funds appropriated for that purpose. (b) Requires the commissioner to establish a competitive grant program for distribution of at least 95 percent of the available funds. Requires grants to be used to provide scientific, research-based, pre-reading instruction to improve pre-reading skills and to identify cost-effective models for pre-reading intervention. Requires the commissioner to distribute grants to eligible entities in amounts between $50,000 and $150,000 to be used for professional staff development in pre-reading instruction; pre-reading curriculum, materials, and skills assessment materials; and employment of pre-reading instructors. (c) Provides that a public school operating a prekindergarten program, or an eligible entity defined in Section 12.101(a) (Authorization), Education Code, that provides preschool instruction and which meets the commissioner's qualifications, is eligible to apply for a grant, provided at least 75 percent of the children enrolled in the program are low-income students, as determined by the commissioner's rule. Section 12.101(a), Education Code, defines "eligible entity" as one of the following: an institution of higher education, including a private or independent institution of higher education, as defined under Section 61.003, (Definitions), Education Code; an organization exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) (Exemption From Tax On Corporations, Certain Trusts, Etc.), 26 U.S.C. (Internal Revenue Code); or a governmental entity. (d) Provides that an applicant must commit public or private funds matching the grant in a percentage set by the commissioner in order to receive a grant. Requires the commissioner to determine the required percentage of matching funds based on the demonstrated economic capability of the community served by the program to raise funds to match the grants, as determined by the commissioner. Stipulates that matching funds must equal between 30 and 75 percent of the grant amount. (e) Requires the commissioner to develop and implement performance measures for evaluating the effectiveness of grants under this section. Provides that those measures must correlate to other reading diagnostic assessments used in public schools in kindergarten through the second grade. (f) Authorizes the commissioner to adopt rules as necessary to administer this section. SECTION 2. Amends Subtitle B, Title 3, Human Resources Code, by adding Chapter 72, as follows: CHAPTER 72. HEAD START PROGRAMS Sec. 72.001. DEFINITION. Defines "Head Start program" for purposes of this chapter. Sec. 72.002. EDUCATIONAL SERVICES. Requires a Head Start program (program) provider to provide educational services to children participating in the program to achieve certain goals with respect to reading and communication skills. SECTION 3. Amends Subchapter A, Chapter 302, Labor Code, by adding Section 302.006, as follows: Sec. 302.006. PROFESSIONAL CHILD-CARE TRAINING SCHOLARSHIPS, BONUSES, AND WAGE SUPPLEMENTATION. (a) Requires the Texas Workforce Commission (commission) to develop and administer a program under which it awards $1,000 scholarships for professional child-care training to eligible recipients. (b) Authorizes a recipient to use a scholarship awarded under this section only to pay expenses associated with obtaining certain credentials or educational goals. (c) Provides that in order to receive a scholarship awarded under this section, a person must meet specific criteria. (d) Prohibits a person from receiving more than one scholarship awarded under this section. (e) Authorizes the commission to additionally provide for payment of a bonus or wage supplement to a scholarship recipient who, for 18 months after the date of receiving the scholarship, provides care for children younger than six years of age while remaining in the employment of the child-care facility that employed the person when the scholarship was awarded. Requires any bonus or wage supplementation provided under this subsection to be paid in equal shares by the scholarship recipient's employer and the commission. Requires the commission to determine the amount of any bonus and the amount and duration of any wage supplementation provided under this subsection. (f) Requires the commission to fund scholarships and any bonuses or wage supplementation provided under this section through federal Child Care Development funds or other funding sources available to the commission. Prohibits total funding from exceeding $2 million per state biennium. (g) Requires the commission to adopt rules necessary to implement this section and sets forth some of the provisions the rules must include. SECTION 4. Amends Chapter 61, Education Code, by adding Subchapter T, as follows: SUBCHAPTER T. EARLY CHILDHOOD CHILD-CARE WORKER STUDENT LOAN REPAYMENT PROGRAM Sec. 61.871. DEFINITIONS. Defines "child-care facility" and "early childhood child-care worker" for purposes of this subchapter. Sec. 61.872. LOAN REPAYMENT ASSISTANCE AUTHORIZED. Requires the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (board) to provide, according to this subchapter and board rules, assistance in the repayment of eligible student loans for persons applying and qualifying for assistance. Sec. 61.873. ELIGIBILITY FOR ASSISTANCE. Provides that a person must meet certain criteria in order to be eligible to receive loan repayment assistance under this subchapter. Sec. 61.874. ELIGIBLE LOANS. Authorizes a person to receive loan repayment assistance under this subchapter for the repayment of any student loan for education at any public or private institution of higher education through any lender. Provides that if the loan is not a state or federal guaranteed student loan, the note or other writing governing the loan terms must require the loan proceeds to be used for expenses incurred by a person attending a public or private institution of higher education. Prohibits the board from providing repayment assistance for a student loan that is in default at the time of the person's application. Sec. 61.875. AGREEMENT; TERMS. (a) Provides that a person must enter into a written agreement with the board to qualify for loan repayment assistance. Provides that this agreement must specify the conditions the person must satisfy to receive repayment assistance. (b) Provides that a person must agree to serve at least two years as an early childhood child-care worker in this state to be eligible for loan repayment assistance. Authorizes the person to receive loan repayment assistance for additional years of service as specified in the agreement. (c) Provides that the agreement must specify the number of additional years of service for which the person may receive repayment assistance and the period within which the person must complete those years of service. (d) Provides that only service as an early childhood child-care worker after the date the person enters into the agreement may be used to satisfy the service requirement under the agreement. (e) Provides that the person must complete the initial service obligations within three years of the agreement date, unless the board grants the person additional time to begin fulfilling the initial service obligations. Requires the board to grant the person additional time to complete the service obligations for good cause. (f) Requires the board to cancel a person's service obligation if it is determined that the person has become permanently disabled so that the person is unable to work in the required capacity or the person has died. (g) Requires the board to require a person receiving loan repayment assistance to sign an agreement in the nature of a contract under which the person agrees to perform the required years of service. Provides that in the event the person does not fulfill the terms of the agreement, all loan repayment assistance becomes a loan and must be repaid by the person. Provides that the agreement must include a promissory note acknowledging these conditions and promising to repay the loan repayment amount, applicable interest, and reasonable collection costs if the person fails to satisfy the applicable conditions. Requires the board to determine the terms of the promissory note. Sec. 61.876. AMOUNT OF REPAYMENT ASSISTANCE; LIMITATIONS. (a) Authorizes a qualified person, for each year the person serves as an early childhood child-care worker in this state under an agreement under Section 61.875, to receive loan repayment assistance not to exceed 15 percent of the total amount of the person's outstanding student loans, including scheduled interest payments that would become due if the loan is not prepaid, when the person enters into the agreement. Prohibits the amount of yearly repayment assistance from exceeding certain amounts, as provided by a specified formula under this subsection. (b) Authorizes the board to enter into an agreement to provide loan repayment assistance under Section 61.875 only to the extent money is appropriated or otherwise available for that purpose as it becomes payable. Requires the board, in the event that money will not be sufficient to provide repayment assistance to each eligible applicant, to select persons to receive repayment assistance according to financial need or on another basis the board considers reasonable to further this subchapter's purpose. (c) Authorizes the board to determine the manner in which the loan repayment assistance is to be paid and requires the board to include provisions governing the manner of repayment in the agreement. Authorizes the board to provide for the payment of a portion of the repayment assistance in one or more installments before the person completes a full year of service as an early childhood child-care worker and for the payment of the remainder of the repayment assistance for that year after the completion of the full year of service. Sec. 61.877. ADMINISTRATION; RULES. Requires the board to adopt rules necessary for this subchapter's administration and to distribute a copy of these rules, as well as pertinent information in this subchapter, to each public and private institution of higher education in this state that offers a degree program in early childhood development or an equivalent degree. Sec. 61.878. FUNDING. Authorizes the board to solicit and accept gifts, grants, and donations from any public or private source for purposes of this subchapter. SECTION 5. Requires the commissioner, to the extent practicable, to administer the grant program as established by this Act in a way that is consistent with other reading programs the commissioner identifies as components of the governor's reading initiative. SECTION 6. Provides that Subchapter T, Subchapter 61, Education Code, as added by this Act, takes effect immediately and applies beginning with the 1999 fall semester, and that Section 29.155, Education Code, and Section 302.006, Labor Code, as added by this Act, takes effect September 1, 1999. SECTION 7. Emergency clause. COMPARISON OF ORIGINAL TO SUBSTITUTE C.S.S.B. 955 differs from the original bill by adding new SECTIONS 2-4 in the substitute. Please see the Section-by-Section Analysis portion of this document. SECTION 5 of the substitute is redesignated from SECTION 2 of the original. SECTION 6 of the substitute is redesignated from SECTION 3 of the original. Both of these SECTIONS dealt with effective dates, however, the substitute further clarifies the effective dates of the additional added SECTIONS, whereas the original made the Act effective September 1, 1999. SECTION 7 (emergency clause) of the substitute is redesignated from SECTION 4 of the original.