Honorable David Dewhurst , Lieutenant Governor, Senate
Honorable Tom Craddick, Speaker of the House, House of Representatives
John S. O'Brien, Director, Legislative Budget Board
HB2237 by Eissler (Relating to grants and programs for dropout prevention, high school success, and college and workforce readiness in public schools.), Conference Committee Report
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The bill would require the commissioner of education to contract with one or more education research centers to study best practices for dropout prevention in this state and others, with a report due to the Legislature by December 1, 2008.
The bill would establish grants of up to $2.5 million per year to provide technical assistance and professional development activities for teachers and administrators. In addition, the bill would require the commissioner, from appropriated funds, to establish a mathematics instructional coaches’ pilot program for middle schools, junior high schools, and high schools. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) would be required to establish and fund mathematics, science, and technology teacher preparation academies at institutions of higher education.
New Section 29.095, Education Code would create a pilot program to provide grants to school districts to fund student club activities for students at risk of dropping out of school. The funding would be limited to $4 million per state fiscal biennium. New Section 29.096 would establish a pilot program to implement a local collaborative dropout reduction grant program, to be funded from appropriated funds of up to $4.0 million each year. New Section 29.097 would establish an intensive technology-based academic intervention pilot program from funds appropriated for this purpose. Grants could not exceed $50 per participating student, would have to be matched by other funds, and would be limited to a statewide total of $3.0 million per year. New Section 29.098 would establish a pilot program to award grants to participating campuses to provide intensive academic instruction during the summer semester to promote college and workforce readiness to students at risk of dropping out of school, with state grant awards limited to $750 per student.
The bill would require the commissioner to award grants to organizations that provide volunteers for programs to enhance college readiness, workforce readiness, dropout prevention, and personal financial literacy. The bill would also require the commissioner of education to review and approve dropout prevention strategies in districts meeting certain criteria. New Section 29.919, Education Code would require the commissioner of education to establish a pilot program to provide grants to rural campuses for technology-based supplemental instruction. State funds for the program would be limited to $4 million a year, or greater amount as provided by appropriations.
The bill would establish and grant authority to the High School Completion and Success Initiative Council concerning grants and technical assistance in support of innovative research-based high school improvement programs and to enhance education practices. The High School Completion and Success Initiative Council (HSCSIC) would be composed of the commissioner of education, the commissioner of higher education, and seven members appointed by the commissioner of education. The HSCSIC would be staffed by the TEA and the THECB. The bill would require the commissioner of education to set aside, from funds appropriated for high school completion and success, not more than 5 percent to contract for an evaluation of the programs supported by grants approved by the HSCSIC.
The bill would allocate an additional $1 million annually to supplement the new instructional facilities allotment (NIFA) to minimize the impact of proration.
The bill would direct the Commissioner of Education to establish teacher academies for teachers providing reading instruction for students in grades 6 through 8 by June 1, 2008. Attendance in a reading academy would be required for teachers of reading, mathematics, science, or social studies in grades 6, 7, or 8 on campuses rated academically unacceptable based on student performance on reading assessments. The commissioner would develop criteria for selection of other teachers to attend reading academies. Teacher attending the reading academies would be entitled to a stipend in an amount to be determined by the commissioner. The bill would require the commissioner to conduct or contract for a performance evaluation of the reading academies and deliver a report to the legislature by December 1, 2010.
The bill would direct school districts to administer a reading instrument adopted by the commissioner under the provisions of the bill to each 7th grade student whose performance on the 6th grade reading assessment indicates a lack of reading proficiency. The bill would direct school districts to provide additional reading instruction and intervention to 7th grade students to address areas of need identified by the reading instrument.
The bill would authorize the commissioner to adopt rules requiring school districts receiving federal funding under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to use those funds to provide supplemental educational services in conjunction with accelerated instruction.
The bill would create a science laboratory grant program. From funds appropriated for this purpose, the commissioner would establish a competitive grant program that would provide funds to school districts for the purpose of constructing or renovating high school science laboratories. The amount of assistance per project would be limited to no more than $200 per square foot for new construction of science laboratories or $100 per square foot for renovation of existing science laboratories. School districts that apply for the grant would be ranked according to their wealth per student in average daily attendance (
Provisions of the bill requiring the development of college prepartory programs in mathematics, science, social studies, and English language arts would be expected to have a fiscal impact to the state in arease including development and implementation of an end-of-course (EOC) assessment for each course and the adoption of instructional materials for each course. The bill would require implementation of the courses in school districts beginning with the 2014-2015 school year, with implementation of the requirement for the end-of-course assessment to account for 15% of a student's course grade beginning with the 2014-2015 school year.
This bill would take effect immediately upon passage of the necessary voting margins or September 1, 2007 and except where otherwise noted would apply to the 2007-2008 school year.
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) estimates the contracted cost to study and report on best practices for dropout prevention would be $500,000 in FY2008. The bill would provide grants for technical assistance and professional development activities for teachers and administrators from appropriated funds in an amount not to exceed $2.5 million annually. It is estimated that the cost to establish a mathematics instructional coaches pilot program would be approximately $1 million annually. The bill would direct that an amount of $8.75 million annually be allocated by the THECB to implement both the mathematics, science, and technology teacher preparation academies and the summer instruction programs established under section 29.098. The THECB estimates that the teacher preparation academies would need approximately $1.25 million annually, representing 5 academies funded at $250,000 each.
Proposed new section 29.095, Education Code: It is assumed that the pilot program to provide grants to school districts to fund student club activities for at-risk students would be funded at the limit established in the bill: $2.0 million a year, or $4 million per state fiscal biennium. Proposed Section 29.096: It is assumed that the pilot program to implement a local collaborative dropout reduction grant program would be funded at the limit established in the bill of $4 million annually. Proposed section 29.097: It is estimated that 10% of the high school at-risk population, or approximately 67,500 students, would be served by an intensive technology-based academic intervention pilot program. At the per student amount of $50 and the statewide limit established by the bill, the total state cost would be $3.0 million annually. Proposed section 29.098: Assuming the teacher preparation academies would cost $1.25 million annually, the remaining $7.5 million would be available for the summer program for intensive academic instruction, under the bill's designation of $8.75 million for both programs. At the per student amount of $750 established by the bill, this would serve approximately 10,000 at-risk students annually.
TEA assumes that the higher education and workforce readiness programs would serve 80,000 students at 24 sites, each funded with a $100,000 grant, for total annual statewide grant award of $2.4 million. It is estimated that the evaluation authorized by the bill would cost $150,000 in FY2009.
Proposed new Section 29.919: The bill would limit funding for technology-based supplemental instruction in rural campuses to $4 million annually. The cost of the required evaluation would be paid from this appropriation.
The authority granted to the HSCSIC appears to codify current practice at the Texas Education Agency and as a result is anticipated to have no fiscal impact. The agency currently expends $28.7 million in each year on the High School Initiative, which in the 2006-07 biennium is authorized under Rider 59 of the General Appropriations Act. The appropriations process for fiscal years 2008 and 2009 anticipates continuation of that expenditure, contingent on passage of legislation providing a statutory basis to do so. The bill would require funds for technical assistance to districts receiving initiative funding, and funds for program evaluation, to be allocated from appropriations for this program. Because technical assistance and evaluation are components of the initiative as it is currently implemented, it is assumed that these functions would not represent an additional cost to TEA.
The sections referenced above would create 9 new grant programs, individually or jointly implemented by TEA, the THECB, and the High School Completion and Success Initiative Council (HSCSIC). For the administrative duties related to the programs and for the review of district dropout prevention strategies, it is estimated that, between TEA and the THECB, 13 additional positions would be required to implement the programs with a FY 2008 cost of $798,273, decreasing slightly in the out years. It is also estimated that travel expenses for board members would cost approximately $33,000 annually.
Due to changes made by House Bill 1, 79th Legislative Session, Third Called, increases to a district's NIFA allotment simply reduce that district's hold harmless state aid for tax relief, resulting in no net state fiscal impact. Should a change in law restore the ability of NIFA allotment increases to impact a district's total revenue entitlement under Texas Education Code 42.2516, this provision would incur a state cost of $1,000,000 annually.
The one-time cost of developing teacher training academy content related to all subject matters is estimated at $3.8 million in FY2008. The teacher academies are assumed to consist of a 3-day training program, followed by a 1-day online follow-up and are assumed to be supported by a "train the trainer" model. The estimated cost of training trainers would be about $1 million per year in FY2008 and FY2009, including costs for stipends for trainers, materials, travel, and other expenses.
Assuming $500 stipends for reading teachers for a 4-day teacher academy and $250 stipends for teachers of other subject areas for a 2-day teacher academy and assuming that 7,000 reading teachers and 6,000 other teachers would be trained in FY2008 and 14,000 reading teachers and 12,000 other teachers would be trained in FY2009, stipend costs are estimated at $5 million in FY2008 and $10 million in FY2009. Assuming that a number of teachers equivalent to 20 percent of those trained in the first two years would require training in subsequent years due to turnover and new teachers entering the system, stipend costs in FY2010 and beyond are estimated at $3 million annually. Assuming a cost of $6,000 per training session for materials, equipment, meeting space, and other costs, and 40 participants per session, other training costs are estimated at $2.0 million in FY2008, $3.0 million in FY2009 and $1.2 million in each subsequent year.
It is assumed that a Regional Education Service Center (RESC) acts as fiscal agent for the program at an annual cost of $400,000. It is assumed that each RESC coordinates registration for teacher academies and payment of stipends authorized by the bill and assists with the delivery of training and the evaluation at an annual cost of $100,000 per RESC, or $2 million annually statewide.
TEA estimates evaluation costs at $1 million, incurred in FY2009. It is estimated that three additional FTEs would be required at the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to manage contracts and processes associated with the reading academies at an annual estimated cost of $170,000.
According to TEA, the typical science lab comprises on average 1,400 square feet of classroom lab space and 240 square feet of prep room space, for a total of 1,640 square feet. At the maximum grant awards allowed by the bill, each new construction project would be awarded $328,000 and a renovation project would receive $164,000.
There is no current base of data from which to estimate the number of eligible science lab projects that potentially could receive funding in a competitive grant process. For the purposes of this fiscal note, it is assumed the number of districts receiving awards under this program would resemble that under the Instructional Facilities Allotment (IFA), a current competitive facilities grant that ranks districts based on property wealth per student. In FY2007, out of the 356 applicants for the IFA, 42 districts received a grant award.
Based on available data from TEA, in the 42 districts in the state with the lowest wealth per student and that have a high school campus, there are 51 high school campuses. For the purposes of this fiscal note, it is assumed that there would be one grant per high school campus, or 51 grants. Given the limited number of new high school construction from year to year, it is assumed that approximately 75 percent of the grants, or 38 grants, would be for renovation of existing facilities, and 25 percent, or 13 grants, would be for new construction. Assuming grants would be awarded at the maximum allowable cost of $164,000 per renovation grant and $328,000 per new construction grants, the total estimated state cost would be approximately $10.46 million for FY2008.
Fifty-one campuses represent approximately 3 percent of the statewide number of high school campuses. It is assumed for the purposes of this fiscal note that the Commissioner would adopt rules such that additional high school campuses that did not receive funding in FY2008 but that can demonstrate a need for grant funding would be funded in each year after FY2009, and that funds are appropriated for this purpose.
It is assumed that TEA would need one full-time equivalent position, with approximately $60,000 in supporting administrative funding annually, to implement the program. Duties would include drafting rules regarding eligibility, application procedures, and accountability, reviewing applications, assessing documentation on demonstrated need and square footage, and ongoing monitoring responsibilities.
For purposes of this estimate it was assumed that one college preparatory course would be developed in each required subject area. It is assumed that test development would begin during FY2012, with field testing, continuing test development, and establishing performance standards occurring in subsequent fiscal years. Additional staff resources would be necessary to develop the end-of-course assessments required under the bill. It is estimated that TEA would need 4 additional positions, one per subject area, beginning in FY2012 to coordinate the development of each subject area's EOC instruments with the newly-created curriculum standards and oversee the implementation of the tests. Total estimated costs for administrative and test development activities that would be anticipated to occur in FY 2012 are $1,245,454. Costs associated with the adoption of instructional materials for the new courses could be incurred in fiscal years beyond FY2012.
Eligible districts and campuses would receive additional state funds through a variety of new grant programs. A portion of these funds would be used to cover potential administrative costs related to the development of college readiness curricula, individualized graduation plans, provision of counseling for students, and the collection and reporting of the data necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of high school programs.
School districts would be required to administer reading instruments to certain students. Certain teachers would be required to attend reading academies.
Eligible school districts would receive additional state funding to renovate existing science labs or construct new ones.
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