April 2018 Committee on School Initiatives Item 2

Proposed Amendment to 19 TAC Chapter 61, School Districts, Subchapter A, Board of Trustees Relationship, §61.1, Continuing Education for School Board Members
(Second Reading and Final Adoption)

April 13, 2018

COMMITTEE ON SCHOOL INITIATIVES: ACTION
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION: ACTION


SUMMARY: This item presents for second reading and final adoption the proposed amendment to 19 TAC Chapter 61, School Districts, Subchapter A, Board of Trustees Relationship, §61.1, Continuing Education for School Board Members. The proposed amendment would reflect changes made by Senate Bill (SB) 1566, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017, to the State Board of Education's (SBOE's) duty to provide training courses for independent school district trustees.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY: Texas Education Code (TEC), §11.159, as amended by SB 1566, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017.

TEC, §11.159, as amended by SB 1566, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017, requires the SBOE to provide a training course for school board trustees, including three hours of training every two years on evaluating student academic performance.

EFFECTIVE DATE: The proposed effective date of the proposed amendment is 20 days after filing as adopted with the Texas Register. Under TEC, §7.102(f), the SBOE must approve the rule action at second reading and final adoption by a vote of two-thirds of its members to specify an effective date earlier than the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year. The earlier effective date will align the rule with SB 1566, which took effect September 1, 2017.

PREVIOUS BOARD ACTION: The SBOE adopted 19 TAC §61.1 effective March 1, 1996. Section 61.1 was last amended effective August 25, 2014. The SBOE adopted the Framework for School Board Development in January 1996 and revised the framework in July 2012. The SBOE approved the proposed amendment to 19 TAC §61.1 for first reading and filing authorization at the January-February 2018 meeting.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND SIGNIFICANT ISSUES: The TEC, §11.159, Member Training and Orientation, requires the SBOE to provide a training course for school board trustees. Section 61.1 addresses this statutory requirement. School board trustee training under current SBOE rule includes a local school district orientation session, a basic orientation to the TEC, an annual team-building session with the local school board and the superintendent, and specified hours of continuing education based on identified needs.

SB 1566, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017, amended the TEC, §11.159, to specify that the SBOE shall require board members to complete at least three hours of training every two years on evaluating student academic performance. The bill also outlines when a board member must complete this training.

The proposed amendment to §61.1 would implement SB 1566 as follows:

Subsection (b)(1)(A) would be amended to specify when a new board member must participate in a local district orientation session. Staff recommends a technical change at second reading and final adoption to conform with TEC, §11.159(c). The change would allow a board member 120 days after the election to attend the board orientation session.

Subsection (b)(2) would be amended to specify the required length of the team-building session. Staff recommends a technical change at second reading and final adoption that would restore the previously deleted phrased "at least." This change would make clear that the team-building session can be longer than three hours.

In subsection (b), proposed new paragraph (4) would be added to require the entire board to receive continuing education on evaluating student academic performance. The purpose of the proposed training would be to provide research-based information to board members designed to support the oversight role of the board of trustees outlined in the TEC, §11.1515. Proposed new paragraph (4) would specify when board members must take the training, who may provide the training, the required length of the training, and the information that must be included in the training. The proposed new paragraph would also allow the training on evaluating student academic performance to meet the requirement for a team-building session if the entire school board and superintendent attend the training. In response to public comment, staff recommends changes at second reading and final adoption that would remove the requirement in subsection (b)(4)(E) that the continuing education training on evaluating student academic performance be approved by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and modify subsection (b)(4)(C) to allow a registered provider to become an authorized provider through a review of the provider's qualifications and course design.

Subsection (d) would be amended to specify that a district is not responsible for any costs to train an individual who is not a current board member.

Subsection (f)(4) would be added to clarify that an education service center (ESC) is not required to register as a provider.

Subsection (j) would be amended to require the school board president to announce and include in the minutes of the last regular board meeting before an election of trustees whether each trustee has met or is deficient in meeting the training required for the trustee as of the first anniversary of the date of the trustee's election or appointment. If the minutes from that meeting reflect that a trustee is deficient in training, the minutes would be required to be posted on the district's Internet website within 10 business days of the meeting and remain on the website until any trustee training deficits have been corrected. Staff recommends a technical change at second reading and final adoption to conform with TEC, §11.159(b). The change would require the disclosure be made only at the last regular board meeting before an election.

New subsection (l) would be added to provide for an annual commendation for local board-superintendent teams that effectively implement the commissioner's trustee improvement and evaluation tool developed under the TEC, §11.182.

FISCAL IMPACT: The TEA has determined that there are no additional costs to persons or entities required to comply with the proposed amendment. In addition, there is no direct adverse economic impact for small businesses, microbusinesses, or rural communities; therefore, no regulatory flexibility analysis, specified in Texas Government Code, §2006.002, is required. There is no effect on local economy for the first five years that the proposed amendment is in effect; therefore, no local employment impact statement is required under Texas Government Code, §2001.022. The proposed amendment does not impose a cost on regulated persons and, therefore, is not subject to Texas Government Code, §2001.0045.

GOVERNMENT GROWTH IMPACT: TEA staff has determined that the proposed amendment does have a government growth impact pursuant to Texas Government Code, §2001.0221.

The proposed amendment would create a new regulation. The proposal would require a trustee to complete at least three hours of training every two years on evaluating student academic performance. A new trustee must complete the training with an authorized provider within 120 days after the date of the trustee's election or appointment and a returning trustee to complete the training by the second anniversary of the completion of the trustee's previous training.

The proposed amendment would repeal the board president's requirement to have the minutes of the last regular meeting held during a calendar year reflect whether any trustees are delinquent in meeting training required as of the date of the meeting. The board president was also required to make that information available to the local media. The proposed amendment, in place of the deleted regulation, would create a new regulation.

The proposed amendment would require that the minutes of the last regular meeting of the board of trustees held before an election of trustees reflect whether each trustee has met or is deficient in meeting the training required by the SBOE for the trustee as of the first anniversary of the date of the trustee's election or appointment. The proposed amendment would require the district, if the minutes reflect that a trustee is deficient, to post the minutes on the district's Internet website within 10 business days of the meeting and maintain the posting until the trustee meets the requirements.

PUBLIC AND STUDENT BENEFIT: The proposed amendment would align the rule with statute and support school boards in providing oversight regarding student academic achievement and strategic leadership for maximizing student performance.

PROCEDURAL AND REPORTING IMPLICATIONS:
Proposed new §61.1(b)(4)(C) would specify several methods for registered providers, which may include school districts, to demonstrate proficiency in the content outlined in subsection (b)(4)(E) to become authorized providers. One method would be by completing a TEA-approved train-the-trainer course and TEA-developed assessment on the topic. Another method would be through a review of the provider's qualifications and course design, which would be required to be submitted to TEA.

LOCALLY MAINTAINED PAPERWORK REQUIREMENTS: The proposed amendment would impact locally maintained paperwork requirements. In accordance with current §61.1, verification of completion of board member continuing education must be maintained by the participant and participant's school district. Minutes of the board meeting at which continuing education hours obtained by each board member are announced must also be maintained locally. Previously, statute required this meeting to take place at the last board meeting held during a calendar year. SB 1566, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017, updated this requirement such that this board meeting is to take place before the election of trustees. In addition, SB 1566 also requires the minutes of this board meeting to be posted to the district website if those minutes reflect that a trustee is deficient in any SBOE-required continuing education.

PUBLIC COMMENTS: Following the January-February 2018 SBOE meeting, notice of the proposed amendment to 19 TAC §61.1 was filed with the Texas Register, initiating the public comment period. Following is a summary of the public comment received at the time this item was prepared and the corresponding response. Any additional comments received will be provided to the SBOE during the April 2018 meeting.

Comment:
The Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) recommended removing the requirement in §61.1(b)(4)(E) that the continuing education training required by §61.1(b)(4) be approved by TEA. TASB also recommended that §61.1(b)(4)(C) be modified to allow a provider who is registered pursuant to subsection (f) to become an authorized provider pursuant to subsection (b)(4) through a review of the provider's qualifications and course design.

Response: The agency agrees and recommends the SBOE modify §61.1(b)(4)(C) and (E) accordingly at second reading and final adoption.

ALTERNATIVES: None.

OTHER COMMENTS AND RELATED ISSUES: None.

MOTION TO BE CONSIDERED: The State Board of Education:

By an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members of the board, approve for second reading and final adoption proposed amendment to 19 TAC Chapter 61, School Districts, Subchapter A, Board of Trustees Relationship, §61.1, Continuing Education for School Board Members, with an effective date of 20 days after filing as adopted with the Texas Register.

Staff Members Responsible:
A.J. Crabill, Deputy Commissioner Governance

Jeff Cottrill, Director
School Governance

Attachments:
I.  Statutory Citation (PDF, 17KB)
II. Text of Proposed Amendment to 19 TAC Chapter 61, School Districts,
Subchapter A, Board of Trustees Relationship, §61.1, Continuing Education for School Board Members
(PDF, 52KB)