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K|B|S
Q:        Did I hear correctly that the Legislature passed a bill that changes the standard for reporting suspected child abuse and neglect?  A:        Yes. HB 3379 amends the Texas Family Code to establish and apply a “reasonable cause” standard for reporting suspected child abuse and neglect, which is a higher standard than that...
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Q:        Did the Legislature take any action relevant to cyberbullying and the increasing prevalence of social media in students’ lives?   A:        Yes. SB2050 amends Texas Education Code section 37.0832 to require a school district’s board to adopt a policy, including any necessary procedures, for prevention and mediation of bullying incidents, including cyberbullying, between students. Previously,...
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Q:        I heard a bill just passed that would allow homeschool students to participate in district UIL activities. Are we now required to let homeschool students participate in our UIL activities?   A:        No. HB 547, also known as the “Tim Tebow Bill,” gives school districts the option to allow homeschool students to participate in UIL...
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Q:        I heard recently that the Governor’s suspension of certain Texas Open Meetings Act requirements is coming to an end and we will be required soon to conduct Board of Trustees meeting in person. Is that true?   A:        Yes. While on July 1, 2021, the Governor of Texas granted an additional 30-day extension of the...
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Q:       Are the rumors true—did the Legislature narrow the ability to sanction a teacher’s certificate for resigning during the summer without permission? A:        Yes and no.  While a school district may still seek sanctions against a teacher who fails to resign 45 days or more before the first day of instruction, effective September...
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Q:        In the wake of the pandemic, did the Texas Legislature take any action to help schools identify mental health warning signs in students?  A:        Yes. SB 179 directs each school board to adopt a policy that requires a school counselor to spend at least 80 percent of the school counselor’s total work...
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Q:        My school district currently employees several retired teachers full-time. It has been our practice to split the TRS surcharge with the retired employee with the school district paying fifty percent and the employee paying the other half through payroll deduction. I’ve heard that the legislature amended the law regarding the TRS surcharge for...
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Q:        What is the current status of school board meetings in Texas—may we continue to hold our board meetings remotely? If so, for how long? A:        Yes, at this time, school boards may continue to hold board meetings via remote methods, such as videoconference or telephonic meetings; however, the ability to do so...
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Q:        Our District has been distracted this year with COVID and has not yet updated our procurement documents to reflect recent changes to the new Buy American Provision from the Texas Department of Agriculture. Is this something we need to do? A:         Yes. The Buy American provision, set out in 7 C.F.R. Part 210.21(d), requires...
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Q:       A board member owns a stake in real property that the school board is trying to acquire. Can the remainder of the school board exclude the interested board member from the closed meeting deliberations regarding the acquisition?  A:        No. A board member with a “substantial interest” in a business entity or real...
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