1-1     By:  Keffer (Senate Sponsor - Sibley)                 H.B. No. 2307
 1-2           (In the Senate - Received from the House May 10, 1999;
 1-3     May 10, 1999, read first time and referred to Committee on
 1-4     Education; May 14, 1999, reported adversely, with favorable
 1-5     Committee Substitute by the following vote:  Yeas 8, Nays 0;
 1-6     May 14, 1999, sent to printer.)
 1-7     COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE FOR H.B. No. 2307                  By:  Sibley
 1-8                            A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 1-9                                   AN ACT
1-10     relating to assistance to certain low-performing public school
1-11     districts.
1-13           SECTION 1.  Subchapter I, Chapter 21, Education Code, is
1-14     amended by adding Section 21.410 to read as follows:
1-15           Sec. 21.410.  MASTER READING TEACHER GRANT PROGRAM.  (a)  The
1-16     commissioner shall establish a master reading teacher grant program
1-17     to encourage teachers to:
1-18                 (1)  become certified as master reading teachers; and
1-19                 (2)  work with other teachers and with students in
1-20     order to improve student reading performance.
1-21           (b)  From funds appropriated for the purpose, the
1-22     commissioner shall make grants to school districts as provided by
1-23     this section to pay stipends to selected certified master reading
1-24     teachers who teach at high-need companies.
1-25           (c)  The commissioner shall annually identify each high-need
1-26     campus in a school district using criteria established by the
1-27     commissioner by rule, including performance on the reading
1-28     assessment instrument administered under Section 39.023.  The
1-29     commissioner shall also use the criteria to rank campuses in order
1-30     of greatest need.
1-31           (d)  A school district may apply to the commissioner for
1-32     grants for each high-need campus identified by the commissioner to
1-33     be used to pay stipends to certified master reading teachers in
1-34     accordance with this section.  Unless reduced under Subsection (g)
1-35     or (i), each grant is in the amount of $5,000.  The commissioner
1-36     shall approve the application if the district:
1-37                 (1)  applies within the period and in the manner
1-38     required by rule adopted by the commissioner; and
1-39                 (2)  agrees to use each grant only for the purpose of
1-40     paying a year-end stipend to a master reading teacher:
1-41                       (A)  who holds a certificate issued under Section
1-42     21.0481;
1-43                       (B)  who teaches in a position prescribed by the
1-44     district at a high-need campus identified by the commissioner;
1-45                       (C)  whose primary duties include:
1-46                             (i)  teaching reading; and
1-47                             (ii)  serving as a reading teaching mentor
1-48     to other teachers for the amount of time and in the manner
1-49     established by the district and by rule adopted by the
1-50     commissioner; and
1-51                       (D)  who satisfies any other requirements
1-52     established by rule adopted by the commissioner.
1-53           (e)  Unless reduced under Subsection (g) or (i), a stipend
1-54     under Subsection (d)(2) is in the amount of $5,000.
1-55           (f)  The commissioner shall adopt rules for the distribution
1-56     of grants to school districts following the year of the initial
1-57     grant.  A district that has been approved for a grant to pay a
1-58     stipend to a certified master reading teacher is not required to
1-59     reapply for a grant for two consecutive school years following the
1-60     year of the intitial grant if the district:
1-61                 (1)  continues to pay a stipend as provided by
1-62     Subsection (g); and
1-63                 (2)  notifies the commissioner in writing, within the
1-64     period and in the manner prescribed by the commissioner, that the
 2-1     circumstances on which the grant was based have not changed.
 2-2           (g)  The commissioner shall reduce payments to a school
 2-3     district proportionately to the extent a teacher does not meet the
 2-4     requirements under Subsection (d)(2) for the entire school year.  A
 2-5     district that employs more certified master reading teachers than
 2-6     the number of grants available under this section shall select the
 2-7     certified master reading teachers to whom to pay stipends based on
 2-8     a policy adopted by the board of trustees of the district, except
 2-9     that a district shall pay a stipend for two additional consecutive
2-10     school years to a teacher the district has selected for and paid a
2-11     stipend for a school year, who remains eligible for a stipend under
2-12     Subsection (d)(2), and for whom the district receives a grant under
2-13     this section for those years.  A decision of the district under
2-14     this subsection is final and may not be appealed.  The district may
2-15     not apportion among teachers a stipend paid for with a grant the
2-16     district receives under this section.  The district may use local
2-17     money to pay additional stipends in amounts determined by the
2-18     district.
2-19           (h)  A grant a school district receives under this section is
2-20     in addition to any funding the district receives under Chapter 42.
2-21     The commissioner shall distribute funds under this section with the
2-22     Foundation School Program payment to which the district is entitled
2-23     as soon as practicable after the end of the school year as
2-24     determined by the commissioner.  A district to which Chapter 41
2-25     applies is entitled to the grants paid under this section.  The
2-26     commissioner shall determine the timing of the distribution of
2-27     grants to a district that does not receive Foundation School
2-28     Program payments.
2-29           (i)  This section does not create a property right to a grant
2-30     or stipend.  A school district is entitled to a grant to carry out
2-31     the purposes of this section only to the extent the commissioner
2-32     makes the grant in accordance with this section and only to the
2-33     extent sufficient state funds are appropriated for those purposes.
2-34     If state funds are appropriated but are insufficient to fully fund
2-35     a grant, the commissioner shall reduce the grant paid to each
2-36     district shall reduce the stipend the district pays to each teacher
2-37     under this section proportionately so that each selected teacher
2-38     receives the same amount of money.
2-39           (j)  A decision of the commissioner concerning the amount of
2-40     money to which a school district is entitled under this section is
2-41     final and may not be appealed.  Each district shall, in the manner
2-42     and at the time prescribed by the commissioner, provide to the
2-43     commissioner proof acceptable to the commissioner of the master
2-44     reading teacher certification of a teacher to whom the district is
2-45     paying a stipend under this section.
2-46           (k)  The commissioner may audit the expenditure of money
2-47     appropriated for purposes of this section.  A district's use of the
2-48     money appropriated for purposes of this section shall be verified
2-49     as part of the district audit under Section 44.008.
2-50           (l)  A stipend a teacher receives under this section is not
2-51     considered in determining whether the district is paying the
2-52     teacher the minimum monthly salary under Section 21.402.
2-53           (m)  The commissioner may adopt other rules as necessary to
2-54     implement this section.
2-55           SECTION 2.  Subchapter B, Chapter 21, Education Code, is
2-56     amended by adding Section 21.0481 to read as follows:
2-57           Sec. 21.0481.  MASTER READING TEACHER CERTIFICATION.  (a)  To
2-58     ensure that there are teachers with special training to work with
2-59     other teachers and with students in order to improve student
2-60     reading performance, the board shall establish a master reading
2-61     teacher certificate.
2-62           (b)  The board shall issue a master reading teacher
2-63     certificate to each eligible person.
2-64           (c)  To be eligible for a master reading teacher certificate,
2-65     a person must:
2-66                 (1)  hold a reading specialist certificate issued under
2-67     this subchapter and satisfactorily complete a course of instruction
2-68     as prescribed under Subdivision (2)(B); or
2-69                 (2)  hold a teaching certificate issued under this
 3-1     subchapter and:
 3-2                       (A)  have at least three years of teaching
 3-3     experience;
 3-4                       (B)  satisfactorily complete a knowledge-based
 3-5     and skills-based course of instruction on the science of teaching
 3-6     children to read that includes training in:
 3-7                             (i)  effective reading instruction
 3-8     techniques, including effective techniques for students whose
 3-9     primary language is a language other than English;
3-10                             (ii)  identification of dyslexia and
3-11     related reading disorders and effective reading instruction
3-12     techniques for students with those disorders; and
3-13                             (iii)  effective professional peer
3-14     mentoring techniques;
3-15                       (C)  perform satisfactorily on the master reading
3-16     teacher certification examination prescribed by the board; and
3-17                       (D)  satisfy any other requirements prescribed by
3-18     the board.
3-19           SECTION 3.  Subchapter J, Chapter 21, Education Code, is
3-20     amended by adding Section 21.453 to read as follows:
3-21           Sec. 21.453.  STAFF DEVELOPMENT ACCOUNT.  (a)  The staff
3-22     development account is an account in the general revenue fund.  The
3-23     account consists of gifts, grants, donations, appropriations for
3-24     the purpose of staff development under this subchapter, and any
3-25     other money transferred by law to the account.  Funds in the
3-26     account may be used only as provided by this section.
3-27           (b)  The commissioner may allocate funds from the account to
3-28     regional education service centers to provide staff development
3-29     resources to school districts that:
3-30                 (1)  are rated academically unacceptable;
3-31                 (2)  have one or more campuses rated as low-performing;
3-32     or
3-33                 (3)  are otherwise in need of assistance as indicated
3-34     by the academic performance of students, as determined by the
3-35     commissioner.
3-36           (c)  A school district that receives resources under this
3-37     section must pay to the commissioner for deposit in the account an
3-38     amount equal to one-half of the cost of the resources provided to
3-39     the district.
3-40           (d)  The commissioner may adopt rules governing the
3-41     allocation and use of funds under this section.
3-42           SECTION 4.  Section 39.075(c), Education Code, is amended to
3-43     read as follows:
3-44           (c)  Based on the results of a special accreditation
3-45     investigation, the commissioner may lower the district's
3-46     accreditation rating and may take appropriate action under
3-47     Subchapter G.  Regardless of whether the commissioner lowers the
3-48     district's accreditation rating, the commissioner may take action
3-49     under Sections 39.131(a)(1) through (8) if the commissioner
3-50     determines that the action is necessary to improve any area of a
3-51     district's performance, including the district's financial
3-52     accounting practices.
3-53           SECTION 5.  Section 822.201(b), Government Code, as amended
3-54     by Chapters 330 and 1035, Acts of the 75th Legislature, Regular
3-55     Session, 1997, is amended to read as follows:
3-56           (b)  "Salary and wages" as used in Subsection (a) means:
3-57                 (1)  normal periodic payments of money for service the
3-58     right to which accrues on a regular basis in proportion to the
3-59     service performed;
3-60                 (2)  amounts by which the member's salary is reduced
3-61     under a salary reduction agreement authorized by Chapter 610;
3-62                 (3)  amounts that would otherwise qualify as salary and
3-63     wages under Subdivision (1) but are not received directly by the
3-64     member pursuant to a good faith, voluntary written salary reduction
3-65     agreement in order to finance payments to a deferred compensation
3-66     or tax sheltered annuity program specifically authorized by state
3-67     law or to finance benefit options under a cafeteria plan qualifying
3-68     under Section 125 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (26 U.S.C.)
3-69     Section 125), if:
 4-1                       (A)  the program or benefit options are made
 4-2     available to all employees of the employer; and
 4-3                       (B)  the benefit options in the cafeteria plan
 4-4     are limited to one or more options that provide deferred
 4-5     compensation, group health and disability insurance, group term
 4-6     life insurance, dependent care assistance programs, or group legal
 4-7     services plans; [and]
 4-8                 (4)  performance pay awarded to an employee by a school
 4-9     district as part of a total compensation plan approved by the board
4-10     of trustees of the district;[.]
4-11                 (5) [(4)]  the benefit replacement pay a person earns
4-12     under Subchapter H, Chapter 659, as added by Chapter 417, Acts of
4-13     the 74th Legislature, 1995, except as provided by Subsection (c);
4-14     and
4-15                 (6)  stipends paid to teachers in accordance with
4-16     Section 21.410, Education Code.
4-17           SECTION 6.  The State Board for Educator Certification shall
4-18     propose rules establishing requirements and prescribing an
4-19     examination for master reading teacher certification not later than
4-20     January 1, 2001.
4-21           SECTION 7.  The importance of this legislation and the
4-22     crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an
4-23     emergency and an imperative public necessity that the
4-24     constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several
4-25     days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended,
4-26     and that this Act take effect and be in force from and after its
4-27     passage, and it is so enacted.
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