HBA-MSH C.S.H.B. 1438 77(R)BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisC.S.H.B. 1438 By: Olivo Public Education 4/29/2001 Committee Report (Substituted) BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Currently the Texas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing certifies interpreters for the deaf and hearing impaired on five different levels of proficiency. According to the Texas Education Agency (TEA), there are more than 7,000 students with hearing impairments in the public school system. TEA also estimates that there are 588 interpreters for the hearing impaired employed in Texas public schools. Children with hearing impairments are limited in their opportunity to benefit from the education offered when there is a shortage of qualified interpreters. Higher salaries may make it easier to recruit new interpreters into the public school system and increase the level of instruction for students with hearing impairments. C.S.H.B. 1438 requires school districts to pay interpreters for the deaf a minimum salary according to the level of certification the interpreter possesses. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking authority is expressly delegated to the commissioner of education in SECTION 2 (Section 42.2513, Education Code) of this bill. ANALYSIS C.S.H.B. 1438 amends the Education Code to require a school district to pay a certain minimum annual salary based on the level of interpreter certification to interpreters for the deaf or hard of hearing (interpreter) employed by the school district to provide interpreter services on a 10-month contract. The bill requires a school district to pay an interpreter employed under a different contract an adjusted salary that proportionally reflects the days of service and to grant a proportionate pay raise to interpreters each time professional employees of the district are granted a raise. The bill prohibits a school district from paying an interpreter an annual salary in an amount less than the amount of the annual salary paid during the 1999-2000 school year to an interpreter with the same level of certification. The bill sets forth the minimum annual salary for levels of certification. For the 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 school years, the bill provides that a school district including a district that is otherwise ineligible for state aid is entitled to state aid in an amount determined by the commissioner of education necessary for the district to pay the costs of interpreter's salaries as prescribed by the bill and authorizes the commissioner to adopt rules to implement the aid. EFFECTIVE DATE On passage, or if the Act does not receive the necessary vote, the Act takes effect September 1, 2001. The Act takes applies beginning with the 2001-2002 school year. The provisions relating to transition aid for interpreter's salaries take effect September 1, 2001. COMPARISON OF ORIGINAL TO SUBSTITUTE C.S.H.B. 1438 differs from the original by decreasing the minimum annual salary for an interpreter at each level of certification. The substitute prohibits a school district from paying an interpreter an annual salary in an amount less than the amount of the annual salary paid during the 1999-2000 school year to an interpreter with the same level of certification. The substitute sets forth provisions relating to transition state aid for interpreter's salaries.