Austin, Texas
                    FISCAL NOTE, 77th Regular Session
                              April 8, 2001
          TO:  Honorable Teel Bivins, Chair, Senate Committee on
        FROM:  John Keel, Director, Legislative Budget Board
       IN RE:  SB1432  by West, Royce (Relating to truancy and the
               authority of justice and municipal courts in relation to
               children; providing criminal penalties.), As Introduced
*  No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.        *
The bill would allow for an appropriation to reimburse the cost of
truancy case managers employed by local governments. The bill would also
authorize various local governmental bodies, including school district
boards of trustees, to employ a case manager to provide services in
truancy cases.  The same entities would be authorized to apply to the
governor's office for funds to reimburse all or part of the costs of
hiring truancy case managers from funds appropriated or otherwise
available for that purpose.

The cost of this reimbursement would depend on the amount of funds
appropriated for this purpose, and the requests granted by the
governor's office that would be paid from appropriated funds.
Local Government Impact

The bill would require a school district to notify a student's parent in
writing if the student has been absent without excuse three times for any
part of a day in a four-week period and request a conference between
school officials and the student's parent to discuss the absences.
Current law requires written notice if five unexcused absences occur
within a six-month period.

Under current law, written notice to parents is required if five
unexcused absences occur within a six-month period.  Current law does not
contain a requirement for a conference between school officials and
parents.  However, the Texas Education Agency has indicated that such
conferences are not unusual.

Section 4 of the bill would reduce the number of unexcused absences
needed to trigger a written notice to parents to three times for any part
of a day in a four-week period and require a conference between school
officials and parents.  Assuming that about 2% of absences are unexcused,
data from school year 1999-2000 indicate that over the course of a
school year, school districts would be required to notify and hold
conferences with the parents of about 77,000 students.  Applying current
law requirements of a notice after 5 unexcused absences in a six-month
period, the same data indicate that the parents of about 40,000 students
would be notified.

If it is assumed that conferences are currently conducted for about 50%
of the 40,000 students notified under current law, about 57,000
additional conferences would have to be held under this bill each year.
Assuming that such a conference (including meeting time, preparation and
documentation time) would require about 45 minutes of an assistant
principal's time and 45 minutes of an attendance officer's time, the
workload associated with this requirement would represent an additional
29 fte assistant principals and 29 fte attendance officers statewide.
The associated cost for salaries only for these employees would be about
$2.7 million annually.
Source Agencies:   665   Texas Juvenile Probation Commission, 701
                   Texas Education Agency, 301   Office of the Governor
LBB Staff:         JK, CT, JC, RN