16_10 Adopted Revisions to 19 TAC Chapter 97, Subchapter EE

Commissioner's Rules

Adopted Revisions to 19 TAC Chapter 97, Planning and Accountability, Subchapter EE, Accreditation Status, Standards, and Sanctions


Attachments:
I. Statutory Citations (PDF)
II. Text of Adopted Revisions to 19 TAC Chapter 97, Planning and Accountability, Subchapter EE, Accreditation Status, Standards, and Sanctions (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 revisions to 19 TAC Chapter 97, Planning and Accountability, Subchapter EE, Accreditation Status, Standards, and Sanctions. The adopted amendments, repeals, and new rules update processes and procedures related to campus sanctions and interventions to reflect changes made by House Bill (HB) 1842, 84th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2015.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY: Texas Education Code (TEC), §§39.052, 39.056, 39.104, 39.106, 39.107, 39.109, and 39.112.

TEC, §39.052, requires an annual evaluation of the accreditation status of each school district. This section specifically safeguards diplomas, course credit, and grade promotions granted prior to the revocation by the commissioner.

TEC, §39.056, authorizes the agency to conduct monitoring reviews or investigations in accordance with requirements of the statutory provisions.

TEC, §39.104, applies interventions and sanctions imposed by TEC, Chapter 39, on school districts and campuses to open-enrollment charters. The section authorizes the commissioner to adopt rules to apply the interventions.

TEC, §39.106, requires the placement of a campus intervention team by the commissioner when a campus's performance fails to meet standards established under TEC, §39.054(e). This section also describes the duties, public notice, guidelines for a needs assessment to be done by a campus intervention team, and required areas of recommendations. This statute allows the commissioner to authorize some substitutions of certain committees and plans. The statute requires a board of trustees to take certain actions such as conducting a public hearing and submitting the plans to the commissioner.

TEC, §39.107, prescribes certain actions that must occur when a campus has consecutive years of unacceptable performance. The statute requires the development of a turnaround plan for two consecutive years of poor performance, requires public notice and input in developing the turnaround plan, details certain requirements of the turnaround plan, and authorizes the commissioner to adopt rules governing procedures for application to charters. The statute also prohibits the approval of a campus turnaround plan unless the commissioner determines the plan will achieve acceptable performance within two years of implementation and authorizes a district to implement a turnaround plan (or modified version) even if subsequent performance removes the requirement to implement the plan. TEC, §39.107, authorizes the commissioner to adopt rules necessary to implement the section.

TEC, §39.109, authorizes the commissioner to require a district or campus to select or be assigned professional services at their expense. This requirement is in addition to other interventions and sanctions authorized by statute. The statute authorizes additional requirements by the commissioner with regard to professional services.

TEC, §39.112, describes the duties and responsibilities of a board of managers. This statute includes a requirement for the commissioner to, if possible, appoint certain types of individuals to a board of managers.

EFFECTIVE DATE: November 17, 2016.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND JUSTIFICATION: HB 1842, 84th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2015, amended TEC, Chapter 39, relating to interventions and sanctions for campuses that do not meet state accountability standards.

The adopted revisions to 19 TAC Chapter 97, Subchapter EE, reflect changes made by HB 1842, as follows.

The adopted amendment to 19 TAC §97.1051, Definitions, revises definitions to:

 

  • provide a definition of board of managers, which must, if possible, include the statutory requirements of community leaders, business representatives, and education experts;
  • provide a definition of campus turnaround that highlights achieving acceptable performance within two years, which is the timeframe required by the statutory changes to TEC, §39.107, for a turnaround plan to achieve its purpose, and that clarifies that interventions initiated by statute due to "unacceptable performance" will be those ratings established under the academic accountability manual as unacceptable in any particular year;
  • remove the definition of campus closure, which prohibited its use for educational purposes as the changes to TEC, §39.107, allow its use for educational purposes in certain instances. Adopted new §97.1066 details current options;
  • remove language regarding campus closure, which, along with language regarding alternative management, were moved to separate sections of rule to provide better clarity and organization of requirements;
  • provide a definition of district coordinator of school improvement to ensure districts clearly identify an individual responsible for being a member of the campus intervention team;
  • provide a definition of professional service provider as an educator approved by the commissioner as statute provides the commissioner the flexibility to require districts to select or be assigned a provider; and
  • remove the definition of campus reconstitution to align with the statutory changes.

Based on public comment, 19 TAC §97.1051 was modified at adoption to add a definition for root cause to align with statute.

The adopted amendment to 19 TAC §97.1055, Accreditation Status, provides clarifying language since legislative changes in HB 1842 authorized monitoring reviews in addition to investigations under TEC, §39.056. The adopted amendment also provides clarification that grades, course credits, and diplomas issued by a school district prior to annexation remain valid.

The adopted amendment to 19 TAC §97.1059, Standards for All Accreditation Sanction Determinations, updates a cross reference to the rule for financial accountability ratings.

The adopted repeal of 19 TAC §97.1061, Interventions and Sanctions for Campuses, removes outdated provisions. Adopted new 19 TAC §97.1061, Interventions and Sanctions for Campuses, provides clarifying language on the required sanctions and interventions for campuses that do not meet academic accountability standards. The adopted new rule outlines the Texas Accountability Intervention System (TAIS) continuous improvement process and specific intervention requirements for each consecutive year that a campus does not meet academic accountability standards.

The TAIS process is a research-based best practice for improving performance on low-performing campuses. The TAIS provides a framework for the campus intervention team to work with stakeholders to implement strategies that will address areas of low performance.

Based on public comment, new 19 TAC §97.1061 was modified at adoption to clarify the roles of the commissioner, campus, and campus intervention team in alignment with statutory requirements.

The adopted repeal of 19 TAC §97.1063, Campus Intervention Team, removes repetitive requirements that are outlined in statute. Adopted new 19 TAC §97.1063, Campus Intervention Team, provides clarification from statute about the role and members of the campus intervention team. Based on public comment, new §97.1063 was modified at adoption to clarify additional statutory responsibilities for the campus intervention team.

The adopted repeal of 19 TAC §97.1064, Reconstitution, removes outdated provisions. Adopted new 19 TAC §97.1064, Campus Turnaround Plan, updates provisions from previous reconstitution requirements, which were repealed under the statutory changes of HB 1842. The adopted new rule reflects new campus turnaround requirements by outlining the procedures, content, and timeline for developing and submitting a campus turnaround plan for commissioner approval, as follows.

  • Subsection (a) imposes the statutory requirement for creation of a turnaround plan after two consecutive years of poor performance.
  • As campus interventions apply to open-enrollment charters, subsection (b) implements the statutory duty imposed on an open-enrollment charter to modify its charter to enact the turnaround plan. The adoption also specifies that the governing board must perform the duties imposed on boards of trustees.
  • Subsection (c) implements statutory authorization to use regional education service centers.
  • Subsection (d) implements new statutory provisions requiring input from parents and the community in developing the turnaround plan. The adoption imposes timelines necessary to ensure proper notice and inclusion of the input received. Based on public comment, subsection (d) was modified at adoption to add stakeholders to the list of groups that should be notified and provided an opportunity to give input.
  • Subsection (e) implements the statutory requirement that parents, the community, and stakeholders provide input in developing the plan. The adoption clarifies that a campus-level committee and teachers must be included since the statutory requirement of a turnaround plan requires including comments from those entities.
  • Subsection (f) implements statutory provisions requiring certain components of the turnaround plan.
  • Subsection (g) requires districts, after board of trustee approval, to submit the adopted campus turnaround plan electronically to the commissioner by March 1. As statute requires extensive planning, approval, and then implementation, this date and delivery method afford the greatest possibility of effectively achieving all three phases.
  • Subsection (h) allows a district to implement the turnaround plan or implement a modified version even if the subsequent rating removes the requirement to implement the plan, as authorized by statute.

The adopted amendment to 19 TAC §97.1065, Repurposing, Alternative Management, or Campus Closure, incorporates changes to commissioner determinations for campuses that do not meet academic accountability requirements. Specifically, the adopted amendment:

  • removes various references and provisions regarding repurposing, alternative management, and optional waiving of imposing sanctions as HB 1842 repealed these actions. Similarly, the adopted amendment removes old law processes regarding when functions such as repurposing, alternative management, and closure would be used;
  • imposes the HB 1842 requirement that the commissioner must either, at the commissioner's discretion, close the campus or appoint a board of managers over the district upon five years of consecutive poor performance;
  • clarifies the commissioner's authority to not approve a campus turnaround plan resulting in campus closure, alternative management, or appointment of a board of managers to oversee district operations; and
  • changes the section title to "Commissioner Determinations for Decisions Preceding Alternative Management, Campus Closure, or Board of Managers."

Adopted new 19 TAC §97.1066, Campus Closure, clarifies the process and procedures in the event that the commissioner orders campus closure. As statute does not explicitly state a timeframe for closure, adopted new subsection (a) clarifies that the closure date will be defined by the commissioner for each decision. Adopted new subsections (b)-(d) address the statutory requirements for when a building containing a closed campus may be used for alternative purposes and for a student's option to attend any other campus in the district.

The adopted amendment to 19 TAC §97.1067, Alternative Management of Campuses, clarifies the process and procedures in the event the commissioner orders alternative management. The adopted amendment includes the addition of language, which was removed from 19 TAC §97.1065, regarding the closure of a campus due to poor performance upon the return of the campus to district operation. Based on public comment, 19 TAC §97.1067 was modified at adoption to clarify the terms of alternative management in alignment with statute.

FISCAL IMPACT: The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has determined that there are fiscal implications for state government as a result of the revisions and changes in law. There will be the need for three additional full-time employees to assist in the support of development and review of campus turnaround plans. During the legislative session in 2015, the Texas Legislature appropriated approximately $300,000 each year for Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017. There are no additional costs for local government or persons required to comply with the revisions. There is no effect on local economy; therefore, no local employment impact statement is required under Texas Government Code, §2001.022.

In addition, 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 revisions provide better alignment of commissioner's rules relating to interventions and sanctions for campuses with current law. The adopted revisions also provide clarity on the timing and requirements for campuses that do not meet academic accountability requirements for consecutive years.

PROCEDURAL AND REPORTING IMPLICATIONS: The adopted revisions continue to require districts to submit targeted improvement plans and campus turnaround plans to the TEA for commissioner approval.

LOCALLY MAINTAINED PAPERWORK REQUIREMENTS: The adopted revisions require campuses and districts to keep documentation of parental and stakeholder involvement in the development of targeted improvement plans and campus turnaround plans.

PUBLIC COMMENTS: The public comment period on the proposal began April 29, 2016, and ended May 31, 2016. Attachment III reflects a summary of public comments received and corresponding agency responses regarding the proposed revisions to 19 TAC Chapter 97, Planning and Accountability, Subchapter EE, Accreditation Status, Standards, and Sanctions.

ALTERNATIVES: None.

OTHER COMMENTS AND RELATED ISSUES: None.

Staff Member Responsible:
Mark Baxter, Director, Policy and Planning

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