Senate education panel OKs 'parent-trigger' bill

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Senate Education Committee has referred to the full Senate a modified version of a bill that would make it easier for parents to urge school boards to close failing schools - or convert them into charters.

Currently, schools rated "Academically Unacceptable" for three straight years can be reorganized by state officials.

If the school doesn't improve for two more years after that, a majority of parents can petition the school board seeking closure or conversion to a charter.

Senate Bill 1263 sought to let parents seek school board action after just two years of unacceptable ratings. But an amended version approved by the committee Thursday made it three years.

The new bill also says petitions against failing schools must be truly grassroots and not influenced by charter operators.

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