Honorable Kent Grusendorf, Chair, House Committee on Public Education
John Keel, Director, Legislative Budget Board
HB411 by Grusendorf (Relating to improvement of science instruction and student performance in public schools.), As Introduced
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The bill would create several initiatives associated with improving science instruction in the public schools. The Texas Education Agency would implement a program to give $5,000 stipends to master science teachers, certified by the State Board for Educator Certification. Priority would be given to master science teachers in high-need districts and charter schools, as designated by the Texas Education Agency. Stipends would be allocated beginning in fiscal year 2006.
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) would be required to develop science training materials for teachers and professional development institutes in science. The bill would also require TEA to develop and make available to school districts assessment instruments that can be used to diagnose student science skills. Districts would have the option of using these instruments and providing optional intensive after school or summer programs.
The State Board for Educator Certification would be required to establish master science teacher certificates at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels, based on certain criteria. Examinations for the master science teacher certificate would begin no later than January 1, 2005.
The State Board for Educator Certification estimates that approximately 1,454 educators would receive the Master Science Teacher certification. Under that assumption, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) would issue grants to 1,454 master science teachers at an annual cost of $7,270,000 beginning in fiscal year 2006. To conduct professional development institutes for science teachers, and develop science training materials, TEA estimates annual costs of $20 million for fiscal years 2004 and 2005 based on prior experience with other such training initiatives. It is assumed that most science teachers will receive training in 2004 and 2005. After the first two-year period, annual costs would be reduced to $5 million for fiscal year 2006, and $3 million for fiscal years 2007 and 2008.
To make student science assessment instruments available to school districts, a one-time contractor cost of $2.4 million for fiscal year 2005 is estimated.
To provide after-school or summer intensive science instruction programs, TEA estimates annual costs of $5 million in the fiscal year 2004 increasing to $10 million in fiscal year 2005, $15 million in fiscal year 2006, and $20 million in the fiscal years 2007 and 2008. TEA anticipates that student diagnostic tools and training programs will focus attention on science instruction, resulting in rising enrollment in after-school and summer intensive programs. The funding at $20 million would be sufficient to provide services to about 30,000 students for a thirty-day period.
The State Board for Educator Certification estimates test development costs of $323,500 each year of the 2004-2005 biennium. These costs would be slightly offset in fiscal year 2005 from a partial year of test administration fee revenue, estimated at $50,000. For fiscal year 2006 and subsequent years, annual test administration revenue is estimated at $166,000; and master science teacher certification fee revenue is estimated at $109,000.
School districts must pay stipends to designated master science teachers meeting the criteria established by the Texas Education Agency. Stipend costs would funded by grants allocated by TEA. School districts may experience costs associated with the mentoring and other activities of master science teachers that are not offset by state funding.
School districts would also be required to provide summer school and after-school for students performing below desirable levels in science. State grant funding should be sufficient to cover these program costs.
701 Central Education Agency, 705 State Board for Educator Certification
JK, JO, CT, UP, RN