85R10781 MK-F
  By: Dutton H.B. No. 2941
  relating to improving the quality of teachers employed by a school
  district, teacher performance appraisals, and the hiring of mentor
         SECTION 1.  Subchapter A, Chapter 21, Education Code, is
  amended by adding Sections 21.008 and 21.009 to read as follows:
         Sec. 21.008.  TEACHER QUALITY PLAN. (a)  Each school
  district may adopt a plan to increase teacher quality in the
  district as provided by this section.  The plan must address the
  district's efforts to improve teacher quality and performance,
               (1)  teacher performance appraisals;
               (2)  professional development opportunities;
               (3)  peer mentoring opportunities;
               (4)  career advancement opportunities; and
               (5)  decisions relating to compensation.
         (b)  A plan adopted under this section must require a
  teacher's appraisal and performance to be a substantial factor in
  decisions regarding:
               (1)  the professional development and peer mentoring
  opportunities available to the teacher;
               (2)  the teacher's career advancement; and
               (3)  the teacher's compensation.
         (c)  In determining the career advancement and compensation
  of a teacher, a school district must consider:
               (1)  the number of years of teaching experience;
               (2)  the applicable minimum monthly salary for the
  teacher under Section 21.402;
               (3)  the district's teacher quality plan;
               (4)  the appraisal criteria adopted by the district;
               (5)  the most recent appraisal of the teacher.
         (d)  A school district shall review the district's teacher
  quality plan adopted under this section at least once every five
  years, and shall revise the plan as necessary.
         (e)  If a district adopts a teacher quality plan under this
  section, the district must submit a report detailing the plan to the
  commissioner not later than September 1 of each year.  The
  commissioner shall make each report submitted under this subsection
  available to the public on the agency's Internet website.
         Sec. 21.009.  TEACHER QUALITY GRANT PROGRAM. (a)  The
  commissioner shall establish a grant program to assist school
  districts that have adopted a teacher quality plan under Section
  21.008.  The program must assist districts in:
               (1)  recruiting high-quality teachers;
               (2)  hiring peer mentors under Section 21.458(a-1);
               (3)  defraying teacher costs associated with obtaining
  relevant certifications or training; and
               (4)  implementing programs to improve the quality of
  teachers in the district.
         (b)  From available agency funds and any additional funds
  appropriated for this purpose, the commissioner shall make grants
  as provided by this section.  In making grants to school districts,
  the commissioner shall give preference to districts proposing to
  use the funds at high-need campuses.
         (c)  A school district may apply to the commissioner for a
  grant under this section. The commissioner may approve the
  application only if the district:
               (1)  applies within the period and in the manner
  required by rule adopted by the commissioner; and
               (2)  agrees to use each grant only for a purpose
  described under Subsection (a).
         (d)  A grant a school district receives under this section is
  in addition to any funding the district receives under Chapter 42.  
  A district to which Chapter 41 applies is entitled to a grant under
  this section.  The commissioner shall distribute funds under this
  section as soon as practicable after the grant is approved, in a
  manner determined by the commissioner.
         (e)  This section does not create a property right to a
  grant. A school district is entitled to a grant to carry out the
  purposes of this section only to the extent the commissioner makes
  the grant in accordance with this section and only to the extent
  sufficient state funds are available for those purposes.
         (f)  A decision of the commissioner concerning the amount of
  money to which a school district is entitled under this section is
  final and may not be appealed. Each district shall, in the manner
  and at the time prescribed by the commissioner, provide to the
  commissioner proof acceptable to the commissioner of the teacher
  quality plan for which a grant awarded under this section is being
         (g)  The commissioner may audit the expenditure of money
  appropriated for purposes of this section. A district's use of the
  money appropriated for purposes of this section shall be verified
  as part of the district audit under Section 44.008.
         (h)  Any money received by a teacher as the result of a grant
  awarded under this section is not considered in determining whether
  the district is paying the teacher the minimum monthly salary under
  Section 21.402.
         (i)  The commissioner may adopt rules for the distribution of
  grants to school districts under this section and any other rules as
  necessary to implement this section. 
         SECTION 2.  Section 21.351(a), Education Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (a)  The commissioner shall adopt a recommended appraisal
  process and criteria on which to appraise the performance of
  teachers. The criteria must be based on measures of a teacher's
  performance and observable, job-related behavior, including:
               (1)  teachers' implementation of discipline management
  procedures; [and]
               (2)  the academic performance of teachers' students;
               (3)  classroom observations of the teacher; and
               (4)  data related to the teacher's professional efforts
  and accomplishments, including:
                     (A)  the number of certifications issued to the
  teacher by a board, institution of higher education, or relevant
  state or national organization;
                     (B)  the number of continuing education courses
  and programs completed by the teacher;
                     (C)  mentoring duties performed by the teacher;
                     (D)  any other objectively measurable efforts
  related to professional engagement and growth made by the teacher.
         SECTION 3.  Section 21.352, Education Code, is amended by
  amending Subsections (a) and (c) and adding Subsection (g) to read
  as follows:
         (a)  In appraising teachers, each school district shall use:
               (1)  the appraisal process and performance criteria
  developed by the commissioner under Section 21.351(a), conformed to
  the district's teacher quality plan if adopted by the district; or
               (2)  an appraisal process and performance criteria:
                     (A)  developed by the district- and campus-level
  committees established under Section 11.251;
                     (B)  containing the items described by Section
  21.351(a) [Sections 21.351(a)(1) and (2)]; and
                     (C)  adopted by the board of trustees.
         (c)  An [Except as otherwise provided by this subsection,]
  appraisal must be done at least once during each school year.  [A
  teacher may be appraised less frequently if the teacher agrees in
  writing and the teacher's most recent evaluation rated the teacher
  as at least proficient, or the equivalent, and did not identify any
  area of deficiency.     A teacher who is appraised less frequently
  than annually must be appraised at least once during each period of
  five school years.]  The district shall maintain a [written] copy of
  the evaluation of each teacher's performance in the teacher's
  personnel file.  Each teacher is entitled to receive a written or
  electronic copy of the evaluation promptly on its completion.  
  After receiving a [written] copy of the evaluation, a teacher is
  entitled to a second appraisal by a different appraiser or to submit
  a written rebuttal to the evaluation to be attached to the
  evaluation in the teacher's personnel file.  The evaluation and any
  rebuttal may be given to another school district at which the
  teacher has applied for employment at the request of that district.
         (g)  The commissioner shall develop training to assist and
  provide support to school administrators to successfully implement
  a teacher appraisal process under this section. 
         SECTION 4.  Section 21.458, Education Code, is amended by
  adding Subsection (a-1) to read as follows:
         (a-1)  A school district may contract with a retired
  classroom teacher or a retired education professional to provide
  mentoring to teachers in the district under this section.  A mentor
  teacher hired under this subsection must: 
               (1)  comply with Subsections(b)(1) and (2); and
               (2)  meet the qualifications required under Subsection
         SECTION 5.  This Act applies beginning with the 2017-2018
  school year.
         SECTION 6.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
  a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
  provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this
  Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
  Act takes effect September 1, 2017.