HB 400

HB 400 is to be debated in the Texas House of Representatives on Friday, May 6, 2011. Representative Eisler has said this about the bill, ” Do not be misled … This provision will save jobs.” He has been quoted, “It will save jobs. It’s going to save the music teacher, save the art teacher.”

It is my professional opinion that Representative Eisler’s statements are accurate.

If you are interested in sharing your opinion with Representative Jim Pitts, his Austin office’s telephone number is (512) 463-0516 and his chief of staff’s (Mr. Aaron Gregg) email address is Aaron.Gregg@house.state.tx.us

According to the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA), “Here’s a reminder of what HB 400 would do”:

Repeal the current minimum salary schedule required for classroom teachers, full-time librarians, full-time counselors, and full-time school nurses.

Eliminate the requirement to advance an employee one step on the minimum salary schedule for each year of experience, through at least step 20.

Change the class size mandate that currently doesn’t allow any class in grades kindergarten through fourth to exceed 22 students, making it instead a district-wide average of 22 in those grades, with a hard cap at 25.

Lift the requirement that educator contracts be 187 days of service though it would still require a minimum of 180 days of instruction, allowing districts to furlough employees.

Streamline RIF process and clarify how long a “financial exigency” lasts.

Provides that employees who have been RIF’ed mid-contract due to financial exigency are entitled to a due process hearing before the school board or its designee instead of a hearing before a TEA-appointed hearing officer; allows further appeal to the commissioner.

Eliminates the requirement that continuing contract RIF’s be done “in reverse order of seniority.”

Clarifies that a “financial exigency” declaration lasts until the end of the school during which it was adopted by the school board, unless terminated beforehand or extended by the board; requires the board to notify the commissioner of education when a financial exigency is declared.

Move 45-day nonrenewal notice deadline: Beginning with 2012-13 contracts, the deadline for providing notice of contract nonrenewal for probationary and term contract employees would be the last day of instruction, rather than the current 45-days before the last day of instruction deadline.

Limit FITNESSGRAM by requiring it only when students are enrolled in a PE course or course for PE credit.

Limit the cost of joint elections by requiring districts only to share the costs of precincts where school district voters vote.

Standardize notice requirements for school board meetings to discuss the annual financial report, the annual performance report, and the proposed tax rate and budget; districts would retain the option but not be required to publish newspaper notice of these meetings.

About drjstewart

Christian, husband, father, educator, writer, and photographer.
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