Bill Text: TX SB933 | 2019-2020 | 86th Legislature | Engrossed


Bill Title: Relating to the creation of the office of inspector general at the Texas Education Agency to investigate the administration of public education.

Spectrum: Slight Partisan Bill (Republican 18-8)

Status: (Engrossed) 2019-05-06 - Referred to Public Education [SB933 Detail]

Download: Texas-2019-SB933-Engrossed.html
 
 
  By: Bettencourt, et al. S.B. No. 933
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to the creation of the office of inspector general at the
  Texas Education Agency to investigate the administration of public
  education.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Chapter 7, Education Code, is amended by adding
  Subchapter E to read as follows:
  SUBCHAPTER E.  OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL
         Sec. 7.151.  DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:
               (1)  "Fraud" means an intentional deception or
  misrepresentation made by a person with the knowledge that the
  deception could result in some unauthorized benefit to that person
  or some other person. The term includes any act that constitutes
  fraud under applicable federal or state law.
               (2)  "Local education agency" includes a school
  district or county system described by Subchapter G, Chapter 11.
               (3)  "Office" means the office of inspector general
  established under this subchapter.
         Sec. 7.152.  OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL. (a)  The office
  of inspector general is established as a division within the
  agency.
         (b)  The commissioner shall appoint an inspector general to
  serve as director of the office.  The inspector general serves until
  removed by the commissioner.
         (c)  The agency shall provide staff and administrative
  resources and support services as necessary to ensure
  investigations and reviews authorized by this subchapter are
  conducted expeditiously.
         Sec. 7.153.  GENERAL RESPONSIBILITIES. (a)  The office is
  responsible for the investigation, prevention, and detection of
  wrongdoing and of fraud, waste, and abuse in the administration of
  public education by school districts, open-enrollment charter
  schools, regional education service centers, and other local
  education agencies in this state.
         (b)  The office may investigate allegations of fraud, waste,
  and abuse and violations of this code or other law.
         (c)  The office may:
               (1)  conduct civil and administrative investigations
  and initiate reviews of a school district, an open-enrollment
  charter school, a regional education service center, or another
  local education agency as considered appropriate by the inspector
  general;
               (2)  receive and investigate complaints from any source
  on its own initiative;
               (3)  conduct special accreditation investigations
  authorized by the commissioner under Section 39.057(a); and
               (4)  make findings of fact that a school district, an
  open-enrollment charter school, a regional education service
  center, or another local education agency or an employee or agent of
  the entity committed an act of wrongdoing, fraud, waste, or abuse in
  the administration of public education and take appropriate action
  as determined by the commissioner, regardless of any time
  requirement relating to the action under Chapter 8, 12, or 39A.
         (d)  The commissioner may order the office to conduct a
  forensic audit of any entity over which the office has
  jurisdiction.  The entity for which the audit was ordered shall pay
  the costs of the audit.
         (e)  The office shall perform all other duties and exercise
  all other powers granted to the office by this subchapter or another
  law.
         Sec. 7.154.  GENERAL POWERS. (a)  The office has all the
  powers necessary or appropriate to carry out its responsibilities
  and functions under this subchapter and other law.
         (b)  Subject to Subsection (c), in conducting an
  investigation under this subchapter of the board of trustees of a
  school district, the governing body of an open-enrollment charter
  school, the board of directors of a regional education service
  center, another local education agency, or the executive leadership
  of any of those entities, the office may:
               (1)  attend any meeting or proceeding of the school
  district, open-enrollment charter school, regional education
  service center, or other local education agency, including a
  meeting or proceeding that is closed to the public, except for a
  private consultation of the entity with its attorney permitted
  under Section 551.071, Government Code; and
               (2)  inspect the records, documents, and files of the
  school district, open-enrollment charter school, regional
  education service center, or other local education agency,
  including any record, document, or file that is not subject to
  public disclosure under Chapter 552, Government Code, or other law.
         (c)  The office's authority under Subsection (b) applies
  only to a meeting, a proceeding, or information that is relevant to
  the discovery of relevant information regarding an allegation of
  wrongdoing or a violation of this code or of fraud, waste, or abuse
  in the administration of public education by a person or entity
  described by Subsection (b).  The office may not inspect a record,
  document, or file that is a privileged communication between an
  individual and the individual's attorney.
         (d)  The inspection or disclosure of a record, document, or
  file for purposes of an investigation under this subchapter is not a
  voluntary disclosure under Section 552.007, Government Code.  A
  record, document, or file made available to the office for purposes
  of an investigation under this subchapter is not subject to public
  disclosure by the office.
         Sec. 7.155.  SUBPOENAS. (a)  The inspector general may
  issue a subpoena to compel the attendance of a relevant witness at a
  hearing or deposition under this subchapter or to compel the
  production, for inspection or copying, of books, papers, records,
  documents, or other relevant materials, including electronic data,
  in connection with an investigation, review, hearing, or deposition
  conducted under this subchapter.
         (b)  A subpoena may be served personally or by certified
  mail. If a person fails to comply with a subpoena, the inspector
  general, acting through the attorney general, may file suit to
  enforce the subpoena in a district court in this state.
         (c)  On finding that good cause exists for issuing the
  subpoena, the court shall order the person to comply with the
  subpoena. The court may hold in contempt a person who fails to obey
  the court order.
         Sec. 7.156.  COOPERATION WITH OTHER ENTITIES. The office
  may refer matters for further civil and administrative action to
  appropriate administrative agencies, including the attorney
  general.
         SECTION 2.  Section 39.057(a), Education Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (a)  The commissioner may authorize special accreditation
  investigations to be conducted:
               (1)  when excessive numbers of absences of students
  eligible to be tested on state assessment instruments are
  determined;
               (2)  when excessive numbers of allowable exemptions
  from the required state assessment instruments are determined;
               (3)  in response to complaints submitted to the agency
  with respect to alleged violations of civil rights or other
  requirements imposed on the state by federal law or court order;
               (4)  in response to established compliance reviews of
  the district's financial accounting practices and state and federal
  program requirements;
               (5)  when extraordinary numbers of student placements
  in disciplinary alternative education programs, other than
  placements under Sections 37.006 and 37.007, are determined;
               (6)  in response to an allegation involving a conflict
  between members of the board of trustees or between the board and
  the district administration if it appears that the conflict
  involves a violation of a role or duty of the board members or the
  administration clearly defined by this code;
               (7)  when excessive numbers of students in special
  education programs under Subchapter A, Chapter 29, are assessed
  through assessment instruments developed or adopted under Section
  39.023(b);
               (8)  in response to an allegation regarding or an
  analysis using a statistical method result indicating a possible
  violation of an assessment instrument security procedure
  established under Section 39.0301, including for the purpose of
  investigating or auditing a school district under that section;
               (9)  when a significant pattern of decreased academic
  performance has developed as a result of the promotion in the
  preceding two school years of students who did not perform
  satisfactorily as determined by the commissioner under Section
  39.0241(a) on assessment instruments administered under Section
  39.023(a), (c), or (l);
               (10)  when excessive numbers of students eligible to
  enroll fail to complete an Algebra II course or any other advanced
  course as determined by the commissioner;
               (11)  when resource allocation practices as evaluated
  under Section 39.0821 indicate a potential for significant
  improvement in resource allocation;
               (12)  when a disproportionate number of students of a
  particular demographic group is graduating with a particular
  endorsement under Section 28.025(c-1);
               (13)  when an excessive number of students is
  graduating with a particular endorsement under Section
  28.025(c-1);
               (14)  in response to a complaint submitted to the
  agency with respect to alleged inaccurate data that is reported
  through the Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS)
  or through other reports required by state or federal law or rule or
  court order and that is used by the agency to make a determination
  relating to public school accountability, including accreditation,
  under this chapter;
               (15)  when a school district for any reason fails to
  produce, at the request of the agency, evidence or an investigation
  report relating to an educator who is under investigation by the
  State Board for Educator Certification; [or]
               (16)  by the office of inspector general for the
  purpose of investigating allegations of fraud, waste, and abuse in
  the administration of public education; or
               (17)  as the commissioner otherwise determines
  necessary.
         SECTION 3.  The Texas Education Agency is required to
  implement a provision of this Act only if the legislature
  appropriates money specifically for that purpose.  If the
  legislature does not appropriate money specifically for that
  purpose, the agency may, but is not required to, implement a
  provision of this Act using other appropriations available for that
  purpose.
         SECTION 4.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
  a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
  provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this
  Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
  Act takes effect September 1, 2019.
feedback