Sen. Bettencourt Passes Major Bi-Partisan Bill to Restore Texas Education Accountability

SB 1365 makes sure appeals cant delay action of the accountability and interventions process for public schools

Texas Insider Report: HOUSTON, Texas – Senator Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) along with 2 co-authors including Chair of Senate Education Committee Senator Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood) and Senator Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) passed an important piece of bipartisan legislation through the full Senate on a vote of 20-11 to ensure the implementation of the statutory turnaround model for low-performing or failing public schools in Texas to keep putting students first.

Senator Chuy Hinojosa (D-McAllen) and Senator Eddie Lucio (D-Brownsville) joined their Republican colleagues voting for SB 1365 which clarifies the provisions put in place by the Legislature allowing the TEA commissioner to take action after the 5-year timeline regarding the failed academic and financial performance of several school districts, which were undone by a recent Third Court of Appeals ruling.

"This legislation will ensure that students get a quality education and don’t have to stay at a school that is failing improvement requests, IR," said Bettencourt. "This bill started because of Kashmere High School in Houston ISD staying on the state 'closure' list for over a decade… while others may keep looking the other way, I am not going to," added Senator Bettencourt.

The changes in SB 1365 applies to school districts and open-enrollment charter schools to continue operations of the accountability system.

Key provisions of SB 1365 include:
  • A-F Rating System:
    • Year 3 of school receiving an F rating are required to implement a commissioner-approved campus turnaround plan and enables the commissioner appoint a board of managers, or close the school if the district fails to submit a campus turnaround plan within 2 years
    • Year 5 of school receiving an F rating requires commissioner to appoint board of managers to turn around campus or close the school.
  • Clarifies explicit conservator authority over a district regardless for the reasons of the placement of the conservator
"We are talking about restoring all the reforms that have been made in the Public Education system for the last 5 years, because of a twisted 3rd Court of Appeals ruling, striking down the A-F reform and other actions the Texas Legislature has taken in a bipartisan matter over the past few years," continued Bettencourt.

"When a school district, like HISD continues to have chronically failing schools and board members that are unable to function together to turn it around, the State has an obligation to step in on behalf of students and parents in Texas," said Senator Bettencourt.

"That’s what SB1365 does!" he concluded.