This report covers the responses Public Education received for their RFI for Interim Charge #4, relating to the State Auditor’s review of agencies and programs under the committee’s jurisdiction. The RFI for this charge can be found here, and the full list of responses can be found here.
The HillCo report below is a summary of information intended to give you an overview and highlight of the various topics included in the responses. This report does not cover the entirety of each response but aims to provide an overview of the testimony submitted.
- 1 in 54 Texans are affected by Autism; is a lifelong developmental disability
- TEA has not earned any trust from disability communities due to their handling of IDEA funds, regardless of the discretionary nature of funding
- Specific contracts, such as the “disastrous” SPEDx contract, and the “wrongful” dismissal of a TEA employee who brought the contract to the DOE’s attention have been documented in the SAO report here
- The SAO report finds that TEA circumvented processes designed to maintain integrity and failed to obtain other bids for both the SPEDx and Tembo contracts
- TEA has shown a “propensity” for wasting IDEA money on projects that should have been spent on children with disabilities; cite the TFA Corrective Action Report
- Are concerned about TEA’s multiple no-bid contracts for software companies to provide online applications for special education students
- Core services are typically delivered on a one-on-one basis
- Virtual learning is hard for students in general, and even harder for those with learning disabilities like autism; concerned about the efficacy of these software solutions
- Recommends the legislature create an annual oversight process for the TEA expenditures and contracts relating to special education (IDEA) funds with the SAO
- Before a new bill for Texas education is authored, legislators should see and understand an assessment of TEA in fulfilling existing responsibilities in TEC including:
- Supporting school districts in planning and implementation for suicide prevention and serving needs of special education students
- Intervention teams are continuing to work as assist with planning and implementing suicide prevention, serving student needs, and ensure satisfaction of campus’ performance standards
- Texas House and Senate do not currently have assessments on these topics, and TEA currently violates Texas law; needs to not “waste” tax dollars and need to serve all students
- Links website: improvetexasschools.org