Staffing plans for schools may be impacted by Senate Bill 1697 of the 87th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature which allows a parent to choose retention of their child in pre-K through grade 8 or repeat a high school course.
The large number of children who had significant learning disruptions this past school year may cause parents to request this option, resulting in districts and charter schools needing to adjust staffing assignments for the upcoming year.
Additionally, many students who were eligible for pre-K or kindergarten did not enroll for the 2020–2021 school year making this a viable option for those parents. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) reported statewide enrollment of early education and pre-K students experienced a 22 percent decrease and kindergarten enrollment decreased 6 percent for Fall 2020 compared to Fall 2019. Nearly 25,000 eligible kindergarten students were not enrolled last school year.
Depending on the number of students retained or repeating courses, additional teachers may need to be hired, particularly for pre-K and kindergarten. If staffing was adjusted due to the enrollment decrease, an increase in pre-K and kindergarten enrollment for the 2021–2022 school year may require additional teacher allocations for those grade levels. For other grades, administration should ensure students are in the appropriate grade and courses as soon as possible so staffing and schedule adjustments can be made before the first day of school.
A parent’s request to retain their child must be made in writing. If a school disagrees with a parent’s election, a school retention committee must be convened and meet with the parent. After the meeting, the parent makes the decision for their child and the district must abide by the decision. A student may not be retained for a grade or retake a course if the parent doesn’t meet with the retention committee. In addition, a parent can’t elect for a student to repeat a high school course if the district determines the student has met all requirements for graduation.
For students in Grade 4 and above, the parent retention option is only available for the 2021–2022 school year. For pre-K through Grade 3, the option is permanent.
Retention may impact a student’s eligibility to participate in University Interscholastic League (UIL) activities as students who are retained are typically ineligible to participate the first six weeks of the school year.
Additional information on eligibility rules and other details are available in the Senate Bill 1697 Frequently Asked Questions on TEA’s website.
Cheryl Hoover is an HR consultant at TASB HR Services. Send Cheryl an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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