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Relating to employing, terminating, and reporting the misconduct of public school personnel and related entity personnel, including creating a registry of persons ineligible for hire; creating criminal offenses.
Estimated Two-year Net Impact to General Revenue Related Funds for SB1256, Committee Report 1st House, Substituted: a negative impact of ($1,273,324) through the biennium ending August 31, 2021.
The bill would make no appropriation but could provide the legal basis for an appropriation of funds to implement the provisions of the bill.
SB 1256 would create a registry of non-certified persons who are not eligible for employment in public schools, consisting of former educators who were determined by the agency as not eligible for educator certification; not eligible based on criminal history record information; whose certification was revoked by the State Board on a finding that the person engaged in misconduct; and a person who the commission determined to have engaged in misconduct. Misconduct includes abuse or otherwise unlawful acts with a student or minor, or a romantic relationship with or solicitation or engagement in sexual contact with a student or minor. The registry would be made available to private and public schools. Schools would be required to notify the Texas Education Agency if they fired an employee or refused to hire an applicant because they failed a background check and had committed a crime that would place them on the registry. Any educator that had been reported would be entitled to a hearing to contest the allegations of the report.
Under this bill, an open-enrollment charter school and a home-rule school district would commit a material violation of their charter if they decided to hire or failed to discharge an employee that had abused, sexually assaulted, or had a romantic relationship with a student. A District of Innovation could lose their designation for the same reasons.
Texas Action remains neutral on SB 1256 because it does not affect our liberty principles. While we are generally opposed to the creation of new registries, we recognize that this registry will not be made available to the public, will allow for due process, and will likely close a loophole that may result in a non-certified person working in a school who has previously engaged in misconduct with a student.