15_08 Adopted Amendment to 19 TAC §89.1070

Commissioner's Rules

Adopted Amendment to 19 TAC Chapter 89, Adaptations for Special Populations, Subchapter AA, Commissioner's Rules Concerning Special Education Services, Division 2, Clarification of Provisions in Federal Regulations and State Law, §89.1070, Graduation Requirements


Attachments:
I. Statutory Citations (PDF)
II. Text of Adopted Amendment to 19 TAC Chapter 89, Adaptations for Special Populations, Subchapter AA, Commissioner's Rules Concerning Special Education Services, Division 2, Clarification of Provisions in Federal Regulations and State Law, §89.1070, Graduation Requirements (PDF)
III. Summary of Public Comments and Agency Responses


SUMMARY: The rule action presented in this item was filed as adopted with the Texas Register under the commissioner's rulemaking authority. This item adopts an amendment to 19 TAC Chapter 89, Adaptations for Special Populations, Subchapter AA, Commissioner's Rules Concerning Special Education Services, Division 2, Clarification of Provisions in Federal Regulations and State Law, §89.1070, Graduation Requirements. The adopted amendment is based on changes made to the state's assessment graduation requirements by Senate Bill (SB) 149, 84th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2015, that took immediate effect for the 2014-2015 school year. No changes were made to the rule since published as proposed.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY: Texas Education Code (TEC), §§28.025, 28.0258, and 39.025, as amended and added by SB 149, 84th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2015, and §29.001 and §29.005.

TEC, §28.025, establishes the requirements for a high school diploma. Generally, a student may only receive a diploma by successfully completing the state curriculum requirements and performing satisfactorily on all required state assessments. The statute provides an alternative for a student who receives special education services by allowing the student to receive a diploma by successfully completing his or her individualized education plan (IEP). TEC, §28.0258, added by SB 149, establishes another alternative means for certain students to earn a diploma. The new section authorizes a student classified in Grades 11 or 12 during the 2014-2015, 2015-2016, or 2016-2017 school years who has failed to meet the end-of course (EOC) assessment performance requirements for not more than two courses to receive a high school diploma by meeting additional requirements. TEC, §28.0258(k), authorizes the commissioner to adopt rules as necessary to implement the section. TEC, §39.025, requires the commissioner to adopt rules requiring students to be administered each EOC assessment and provides that a student may not receive a diploma until the student has performed satisfactorily on the EOC assessments. However, with regard to a student in a special education program, the statute provides that the student's admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee determines whether the student is required to achieve satisfactory performance on EOC assessments to receive a diploma. TEC, §39.025(a-2), added by SB 149, provides that a student who has failed to perform satisfactorily on EOC assessments may receive a diploma if the student has qualified for graduation under TEC, §28.0258. TEC, §29.001, requires the agency to develop a statewide plan for the delivery of services to children with disabilities and prescribes certain parameters of the plan. TEC, §29.005, requires a school district to establish an ARD committee consistent with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to develop an IEP for a student participating in a special education program. The section also establishes certain requirements in the development of the IEP.

EFFECTIVE DATE: September 16, 2015.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND JUSTIFICATION: SB 149 revised the state's assessment graduation requirements for students in general education by allowing alternative methods for graduation for students classified in Grade 11 or 12 during the 2014-2015, 2015-2016, or 2016-2017 school years who have taken each EOC assessment but have failed to achieve the EOC assessment performance requirements in no more than two courses. Since SB 149 allows certain students in general education to graduate under any available graduation program without achieving satisfactory performance on each of the EOC assessments, the rule applicable to students receiving special education services requires amendment to maintain alignment.

The adopted amendment to 19 TAC Chapter 89, Subchapter AA, Division 2, §89.1070, Graduation Requirements, reflects the changes to the graduation requirements for students receiving special education services by amending language in §89.1070 to specify that a student receiving special education services who has failed to achieve the EOC assessment graduation requirements for no more than two courses may graduate under the Recommended or Distinguished Achievement High School Program or may graduate under the Foundation High School Program with endorsements if all other requirements are met. These provisions in new §89.1070(d), (f), and (g)(2) are effective only with the 2014-2015, 2015-2016, and 2016-2017 school years. Corresponding technical edits are made throughout the rule.

No changes were made to the rule since published as proposed.

FISCAL IMPACT: The agency has determined there are no additional costs to state government or individuals required to comply with the adopted amendment; however, there are costs to local government. There are costs to districts and charters to facilitate an ARD committee meeting and to communicate with parents regarding the changes in state law. The agency cannot estimate the costs of additional ARD committee meetings at the district level. These costs will vary from district to district depending on the ARD procedures that a district implements and the number of students who may need to have an ARD committee reevaluate the students' testing requirements for graduation.

The agency has also determined that there is no direct adverse economic impact for small businesses and microbusinesses; therefore, no regulatory flexibility analysis specified in Texas Government Code, §2006.002, is required.

PUBLIC AND STUDENT BENEFIT: The adopted amendment aligns the assessment requirements applicable to students receiving special education services with those applicable to students in general education resulting from SB 149.

PROCEDURAL AND REPORTING IMPLICATIONS: The adopted amendment incorporates procedural and reporting requirements contained in the IDEA that school districts must follow and does not impose any new or additional reporting requirements.

LOCALLY MAINTAINED PAPERWORK REQUIREMENTS: The adopted amendment may increase locally maintained paperwork for school districts and charter schools. Locally maintained paperwork may increase for areas concerning convening of additional ARD committee meetings and communications with parents.

PUBLIC COMMENTS: The public comment period on the proposal began June 5, 2015, and ended July 6, 2015, and included public hearings that were held on Monday, June 15, 2015, and Wednesday, June 17, 2015. Attachment III reflects a summary of public comments received, including those received at the public hearing, and corresponding agency responses.

ALTERNATIVES: None.

OTHER COMMENTS AND RELATED ISSUES: None.

Staff Members Responsible:
Monica Martinez, Associate Commissioner, Standards and Programs
Gene Lenz, Director, Federal and State Education Policy
Margaret Baker, Associate Deputy Counsel, Office of Legal Services

For more information, email rules@tea.texas.gov.