SB 30, a bill relating to the state virtual school network, was heard in the Senate Education Committee on June 6, 2011, in the first called Special Session of the 82nd legislature. The language for SB 30 was taken from a bill that was introduced in the regular session but the original bill had opposition because it contained a provision for creating up to ten virtual high schools. That portion of the bill was removed in the version that is now SB 30.
This bill requires a school district to adopt a policy regarding the state virtual school network. It also creates a system in which students, or their parents, who take courses in the virtual school network, can provide comments regarding the course. These comments must be in a format that can be sorted by teacher, electronic course, and provider school district or school.
For the past two years the state has provided an allotment to help pay for TxVSN courses. $400 was paid to the district providing the course and $80 paid to the district in which the student attends. This $80 payment was to help off-set the cost of monitoring the student’s progress. In essence, the state was paying for the cost of educating this student twice. The home district was receiving the normal per-pupil funding and the district providing the course was also getting $400 from the state. This allotment will no longer be funded. SB 30 creates a process in which the commissioner will create a standard agreement that will govern the payment of funds and other matters relating to a student’s enrollment in the courses offered in the TxVSN. The desired affect is to have the funding follow the student.
There were not enough Senators in attendance at the meeting to make a quorum so the bill was left pending. It is expected to be voted out of committee within a few days and voted on by the full Senate soon thereafter.