Files bill for Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center to become independent
EL PASO — State Senator Jose Rodriguez filed five bills Monday directly affecting the El Paso Independent School District and another which would make Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso an independent institution.
The bills range from requiring EPISD to offer remedial classes tor those affected by the actions of district officials to making it a third degree felony to manipulate data reported to the TEA.
"We're trying to look at every single aspect of this problem so we can address it and not let reoccur in the future," said Senator Rodriguez during a phone interview.
Other bills would protect employees who reported wrongdoing under the expansion of the whistleblower act.
Various district employees have said they feared being fired or demoted if they spoke out.
"That will go a long way in encouraging employees in the school district to make complaints if they have information on any illegal activity," Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez said he hopes his bills are well received in the legislature and help ensure a quality education to all students in the state.
The senator also filed a bill that would make Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso its own independent institution under the Texas Tech University System.
"This will help to grow our Medical Center of the Americas, promote access to health care, attract more doctors and other health care professionals, continue research on diseases that affect Latino and border populations, and spur economic development," said Senator Rodríguez in a statement.
· SB 120, which transforms the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso from a branch of the current Lubbock-based health sciences center to its own health sciences center and an independent component institution of the Texas Tech University System.
· SB 119, which would create a program that would require EPISD to offer remedial classes and alternative graduation for students cheated of their education by the actions of district administrators.
· SB 121 strengthens whistleblower protections to encourage school district employees to report illegal activity without fear of retaliation.
· SB 122 adds school districts' boards of trustees to the list of county officials who can be removed from office for incompetence or misconduct.
· SB 123 strengthens TEA's oversight of school districts by providing the commissioner of education with the authority to issue subpoenas and the ability to more easily investigate suspicious data reporting by districts.
· SB 124 makes the fraudulent manipulation of data reported to the TEA a third degree felony.