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  By: Hinojosa, et al. S.B. No. 24
 
  (Oliveira, Branch, et al.)
 
   
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to the creation of a new university in South Texas within
  The University of Texas System.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  AMENDMENT TO EDUCATION CODE.  Subtitle C, Title
  3, Education Code, is amended by adding Chapter 79 to read as
  follows:
  CHAPTER 79. UNIVERSITY TO BE ESTABLISHED IN SOUTH TEXAS
         Sec. 79.01.  DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:
               (1)  "Board" means the board of regents of The
  University of Texas System.
               (2)  "University" means the university established
  under this chapter.
         Sec. 79.02.  ESTABLISHMENT; SCOPE. (a)  The university is a
  general academic teaching institution under the governance,
  management, and control of the board of regents of The University of
  Texas System.
         (b)  As necessary to achieve the maximum operating
  efficiency of the university, the board shall provide for the
  organization, administration, location, and name of the university
  and of the colleges, schools, and other institutions and entities
  of the university, which must include:
               (1)  an academic campus and other academic operations
  in Cameron County;
               (2)  an academic campus and other academic operations
  in Hidalgo County;
               (3)  the medical school and other programs authorized
  for The University of Texas Health Science Center--South Texas
  under Subchapter N, Chapter 74;
               (4)  the facilities and operations of the Lower Rio
  Grande Valley Academic Health Center established under Subchapter
  L, Chapter 74; and
               (5)  an academic center in Starr County.
         (c)  The board shall equitably allocate the primary
  facilities and operations of the university among Cameron, Hidalgo,
  and Starr Counties.
         (d)  The board shall ensure that the medical and research
  programs of the medical school component of the university are
  conducted across the region and have a substantial presence in
  Hidalgo County and Cameron County. The board shall also ensure the
  provision of interdisciplinary education across health professions
  within the university.
         (e)  The authority of the board under this section to achieve
  the maximum operating efficiency of the university and to provide
  for the organization, administration, and location of colleges,
  schools, and other institutions and entities of the university
  prevails over other law, including Section 74.611.
         Sec. 79.03.  COURSES AND DEGREES. (a)  The board may
  prescribe courses leading to customary degrees offered at leading
  American universities and medical schools as applicable and may
  award those degrees, including:
               (1)  bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees and
  their equivalents; and
               (2)  medical school degrees and other health science
  degrees.
         (b)  The board shall award degrees in the name of the
  university.
         (c)  A department, school, or degree program may not be
  instituted without the prior approval of the Texas Higher Education
  Coordinating Board, except that the university may include any
  department or school or offer any degree program previously
  approved for The University of Texas--Pan American or The
  University of Texas at Brownsville or expressly authorized by this
  chapter or other law.
         Sec. 79.04.  UNIVERSITY OF THE FIRST CLASS. The board shall
  make any other rules and regulations for the operation, control,
  and management of the university as may be necessary for the conduct
  of the university as a university of the first class.
         Sec. 79.05.  FACILITIES. The board shall provide for
  adequate physical facilities for use by the university.
         Sec. 79.06.  GIFTS AND GRANTS. The board may solicit,
  accept, and administer, on terms and conditions acceptable to the
  board, gifts, grants, or donations of any kind and from any source
  for use by the university.
         Sec. 79.07.  JOINT APPOINTMENTS. The board may make joint
  faculty appointments to positions in the university and to
  positions in other institutions under the governance of the board.
         Sec. 79.08.  PARTICIPATION IN PERMANENT UNIVERSITY FUND.
  The legislature finds that the university is an institution of
  higher education "created at a later date" for purposes of Section
  18(c), Article VII, Texas Constitution.  If the Act enacting this
  chapter receives a vote of two-thirds of the membership of each
  house of the legislature, when established the university is
  entitled to participate in the funding provided by Section 18,
  Article VII, Texas Constitution, to the same extent as similar
  component institutions of The University of Texas System.
         Sec. 79.09.  CENTER FOR BORDER ECONOMIC AND ENTERPRISE
  DEVELOPMENT. (a)  The board shall establish a center for border
  economic and enterprise development at the university.
         (b)  The center established under this section may:
               (1)  develop and manage an economic database concerning
  the Texas-Mexico border;
               (2)  perform economic development planning and
  research;
               (3)  provide technical assistance to industrial and
  governmental entities; and
               (4)  in cooperation with other state agencies,
  coordinate economic and enterprise development planning activities
  of state agencies to ensure that the economic needs of the
  Texas-Mexico border are integrated within a comprehensive state
  economic development plan.
         (c)  The center may offer seminars and conduct conferences
  and other educational programs concerning the Texas-Mexico border
  economy and economic and enterprise development within this state.
         (d)  The board may solicit and accept gifts, grants, and
  donations to aid in the establishment, maintenance, and operation
  of the center.
         (e)  The center shall cooperate fully with similar programs
  operated by Texas A&M International University, The University of
  Texas at El Paso, and other institutions of higher education.
         Sec. 79.10.  TEXAS ACADEMY OF MATHEMATICS AND SCIENCE.
  (a)  The board shall establish The Texas Academy of Mathematics and
  Science at the university.  The academy serves the following
  purposes:
               (1)  to provide academically gifted and highly
  motivated junior and senior high school students with a challenging
  university-level curriculum that:
                     (A)  allows students to complete high school
  graduation requirements, including requirements adopted under
  Section 28.025 for the advanced high school program, while
  attending for academic credit a public institution of higher
  education;
                     (B)  fosters students' knowledge of real-world
  mathematics and science issues and applications and teaches
  students to apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills to
  those issues;
                     (C)  includes the study of English, foreign
  languages, social studies, mathematics, science, and technology;
  and
                     (D)  offers students learning opportunities
  related to mathematics and science through in-depth research and
  field-based studies;
               (2)  to provide students with an awareness of
  mathematics and science careers and professional development
  opportunities through any appropriate means such as:
                     (A)  seminars;
                     (B)  workshops;
                     (C)  collaboration with postsecondary and
  university students, including opportunities for summer studies;
  and
                     (D)  internships in foreign countries; and
               (3)  to provide students with social development
  activities that enrich the academic curriculum and student life,
  including, as determined appropriate by the academy, University
  Interscholastic League activities and other extracurricular
  activities.
         (b)  The academy is a coeducational program for selected
  Texas high school students with an interest in and the potential to
  excel in mathematics and science studies.  The academy shall admit
  only high school juniors and seniors, except that the academy may
  admit a student with exceptional abilities who is not yet a high
  school junior.  The board shall set aside adequate space at the new
  university to operate the academy and implement the purposes of
  this section.  The academy must operate on the same fall and spring
  semester basis as the university.  Full-time students of the
  academy must enroll for both the fall and spring semesters.  Faculty
  members of the university shall teach all academic classes at the
  academy.  A student of the academy may attend a college course
  offered by the university and receive college credit for that
  course.
         (c)  The university administration has the same powers and
  duties with respect to the academy that the administration has with
  respect to the university.  The board, in consultation with
  university administration, shall:
               (1)  establish an internal management system for the
  academy and appoint an academy principal, who serves at the will of
  the board and reports to the vice president for academic affairs;
               (2)  provide for one or more academy counselors;
               (3)  establish for the academy a site-based
  decision-making process similar to the process required by
  Subchapter F, Chapter 11, that provides for the participation of
  academy faculty, parents of academy students, and other members of
  the community; and
               (4)  establish an admissions process for the academy.
         (d)  The student-teacher ratio in all regular academic
  classes at the academy may not exceed 30 students for each classroom
  teacher, except that the student-teacher ratio may exceed that
  limit:
               (1)  in a program provided for the purposes prescribed
  by Subsection (a)(2) or another special enrichment course or in a
  physical education course;
               (2)  if the board determines that a class with a higher
  student-teacher ratio would contribute to the educational
  development of the students in the class; or
               (3)  if an academy class is combined with a university
  class with more than 30 students.
         (e)  The academy shall provide the university-level
  curriculum in a manner that is appropriate for the social,
  psychological, emotional, and physical development of high school
  juniors and seniors.  The administrative and counseling personnel
  of the academy shall provide continuous support to and supervision
  of students.
         (f)  For each student enrolled in the academy, the academy is
  entitled to allotments from the foundation school fund under
  Chapter 42 as if the academy were a school district without a tier
  one local share for purposes of Section 42.253.  If in any academic
  year the amount of the allotments under this subsection exceeds the
  amount of state funds paid to the academy in the first fiscal year
  of the academy's operation, the commissioner of education shall set
  aside from the total amount of funds to which school districts are
  entitled under Section 42.253(c) an amount equal to the excess
  amount and shall distribute that amount to the academy.  After
  deducting the amount set aside and paid to the academy by the
  commissioner of education under this subsection, the commissioner
  of education shall reduce the amount to which each district is
  entitled under Section 42.253(c) in the manner described by Section
  42.253(h).  A determination of the commissioner of education under
  this subsection is final and may not be appealed.
         (g)  The board may use any available money, enter into
  contracts, and accept grants, including matching grants, federal
  grants, and grants from a corporation or other private contributor,
  in establishing and operating the academy.  Money spent by the
  academy must further the purposes of the academy under Subsection
  (a).
         (h)  The liability of this state under Chapters 101 and 104,
  Civil Practice and Remedies Code, is limited for the academy and
  employees assigned to the academy and acting on behalf of the
  academy to the same extent that the liability of a school district
  and an employee of the school district is limited under Sections
  22.0511, 22.0512, and 22.052 of this code and Section 101.051,
  Civil Practice and Remedies Code.  An employee assigned to the
  academy is entitled to representation by the attorney general in a
  civil suit based on an action or omission of the employee in the
  course of the employee's employment, to limits on liability, and to
  indemnity under Chapters 104 and 108, Civil Practice and Remedies
  Code.
         (i)  Except as otherwise provided by this section, the
  academy is not subject to the provisions of this code or to the
  rules of the Texas Education Agency regulating public schools.
         SECTION 2.  CONFORMING AMENDMENT.  Subsection (a), Section
  74.751, Education Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (a)  The board of regents of The University of Texas System
  may operate The University of Texas Health Science Center--South
  Texas as provided by Section 79.02 [a component institution of The
  University of Texas System] with its main campus and administrative
  offices to be determined as described by that section [in Cameron
  County].  The health science center shall [may] consist of a medical
  school, as provided by Section 74.752, other health and
  health-related degree programs, and related programs and
  facilities as the board considers appropriate.
         SECTION 3.  THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS--PAN AMERICAN AND THE
  UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT BROWNSVILLE ABOLISHED. (a)  The University
  of Texas--Pan American and The University of Texas at Brownsville
  are abolished on a date the board of regents of The University of
  Texas System determines appropriate to achieve the maximum
  operating efficiency of the system.  The designated date must be
  entered into the minutes of the board.  The board shall take all
  actions necessary to provide for an orderly windup of the affairs of
  each university.
         (b)  The board shall provide to the secretary of state
  written notice of its action under Subsection (a) of this section.
  Effective on the date the board designates for the abolition of the
  institutions described by Subsection (a) of this section, Chapters
  77 and 78, Education Code, are repealed.
         (c)  The board may not act under Subsection (a) of this
  section to abolish The University of Texas--Pan American and The
  University of Texas at Brownsville earlier than the date on which
  the university created under Chapter 79, Education Code, as added
  by this Act, begins operation.
         SECTION 4.  UNIVERSITY CREATED. (a)  The university
  described by Chapter 79, Education Code, as added by this Act, is
  created within The University of Texas System. As provided by that
  chapter, the board of regents of the system shall name the
  university and establish the university as a general academic
  teaching institution offering the degrees authorized by that
  chapter.
         (b)  The university shall begin operating on a date the board
  of regents determines appropriate to achieve the maximum operating
  efficiency of the system.  The designated date must be entered into
  the minutes of the board.
         (c)  In recognition of the abolition of The University of
  Texas--Pan American and The University of Texas at Brownsville as
  authorized by this Act, the board of regents shall facilitate the
  employment at the university created by this Act of as many faculty
  and staff of the abolished universities as is prudent and
  practical.
         (d)  A student admitted to or enrolled at The University of
  Texas--Pan American or The University of Texas at Brownsville on
  the date of abolition is entitled to admission to the university
  created by this Act, and the board shall take actions necessary to
  facilitate that admission and the appropriate transfer of credits.
         (e)  Until such time as the university created by this Act
  formally begins operation, the board of regents may provide for The
  University of Texas--Pan American or The University of Texas at
  Brownsville to use any facilities under the management and control
  of The University of Texas System, including facilities developed
  for the university created by this Act. In addition, the board may
  lease or purchase facilities owned by Texas Southmost College
  District or by other owners to the extent the board determines
  necessary and practical.
         (f)  This Act does not affect the powers, duties, and
  obligations of The University of Texas at Brownsville and the Texas
  Southmost College District under Section 5, Chapter 935
  (S.B. 1909), Acts of the 82nd Legislature, Regular Session, 2011.  
  As provided by that law, that university and the district shall
  continue a partnership agreement in effect until August 31, 2015,
  to the extent necessary to ensure accreditation.
         SECTION 5.  ADVISORY GROUP TO BOARD OF REGENTS. (a)  To
  assist the system in designing, organizing, and implementing a
  medical school to serve the Rio Grande Valley as a component of the
  new university, the board of regents of The University of Texas
  System shall appoint a temporary advisory group to give the board
  counsel and recommendations regarding:
               (1)  the design and development of the medical school,
  with the goal of preparing future physicians for medical careers
  through an innovative model of medical education for the 21st
  century; and
               (2)  the best locations for medical school
  administration and operations, identifying the best chance for
  success of the medical school and its administrative offices based
  on resources, costs, assets, infrastructure, long-term fiscal
  viability, and other objective criteria.
         (b)  The board shall determine the size and membership of the
  advisory group, but the group must be composed of nationally
  recognized experts in the organization and administration of
  medical schools and other health-related programs and of
  institutions of higher education.
         (c)  The advisory group shall solicit input from interested
  parties, including representatives of business organizations,
  health care providers, and educators, as determined by the board
  and the advisory group.
         (d)  The board shall base its determinations regarding the
  matters described by Subsections (a)(1) and (2) of this section on
  the findings and recommendations of the advisory group.
         (e)  The board shall dissolve the advisory group when the
  group has reported to the board and the board determines that the
  purposes of the group under this section have been achieved.
         SECTION 6.  EFFECTIVE DATE.  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, 2013.