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No significant state implication to State.
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is not able to report the number of
self-contained classrooms that are used solely for the students
described by the bill. However, there are approximately 86,425 students
with disabilities being served in self-contained settings in fiscal year
2014. Assuming a request was received for camera installation at each
applicable campus and that at least one camera was required for every
five students, a minimum of 17,285 cameras would be required to be made
available for installation statewide. The estimated minimum cost to
purchase an inexpensive camera with limited-quality video or audio is
$150 per camera, or $2.6 million total. There would be additional costs
for installation and maintenance of the cameras.
There would be additional costs for equipment to store the video and keep it secure as well. Districts could also incur costs to purchase masking software in case video became subject to public information requests.
Actual costs would vary depending on whether a request for camera installation was received, how many classrooms were considered self-contained, how many students met the bill's criteria, the number of cameras to be purchased, and whether schools chose to install and maintain the cameras or outsource the installation and maintenance.
SB 507 would require public school districts and open-enrollment charter schools, on the request of a parent, board trustee, or staff member, to provide equipment including video cameras in self-contained classrooms in which students who were considered nonverbal or have limited ability to communicate receive special education. Cameras would be required to record audio and would have to be capable of covering all areas of the classroom with the exception of bathrooms or areas in which a student's clothes were changed.
Under this legislation the school district or charter school must provide written notification to the parent of the video recording. The video recording would not take place if the parent submits a written request within 30 days of receiving notification that they do not want video recording.
The bill would require a school district or charter school to keep the
recorded video for at least one year after it was recorded, and would
prohibit regular or continual monitoring of video recorded under this
section by a district or charter school.
This bill abridges the principle of limited government. School districts are capable of handling this on a case-by-case basis, rather than having the state require that a school district install a video camera on the request of a parent. This legislation may also cause confusion by requiring video recording at the request of one parent but denying it at the request of another parent. Furthermore, this policy is likely to cause confusion. For example, this legislation provides no resolution for cases where parents with conflicting views who have parents in the same class. This is an issue best left to the local level. For these reasons, we oppose SB 507.