The House Public Education Committee had three bills on its Monday agenda – two related to mask mandates and one providing changes to the regular session’s HB 4545 regarding accelerated instruction.
HB 164 by Chair Harold Dutton would allow districts to make their own policies regarding whether students should be required to wear masks; HB 141 by Rep. Jeff Leach would prohibit mask mandates. Dutton withdrew his bill from consideration, with an apparent compromise on the Leach bill that would allow districts to impose mandates but giving parents the ability to opt out their students. HB 141 was left pending.
HB 233 by Huberty would revise the new laws regarding supplemental/accelerated instruction to allow larger groups for accelerated instruction. Current law imposes a 3-student cap; the bill as filed would cap the groups at 10 students, but a proposed committee substitute would impose the 10:1 ratio only for the current year, then lower it to 4:1 in future years. The bill also provides that the accelerated learning committees would meet only after a student performs unsatisfactorily on an exam for two consecutive attempts, and would limit the focus to only math and reading exams. The proposed substitute would also ensure that the changes would go into effect for the current school year.
The bill passed unanimously, and Huberty noted that there would likely be additional “tweaking” on the House floor.