August 14, 2014
THE ADMINISTRATOR ADDRESSED:
Attendance, Admission, Enrollment Records, and Tuition
This letter summarizes important statutes relating to
student attendance, public school admission, enrollment records, and
tuition. Part I of the letter relates to
compulsory attendance, Part II relates to attendance for course credit, Part
III relates to public school admission, Part IV relates to enrollment records,
and Part V relates to tuition. In each
part, we have identified which statutes do or do not apply to open-enrollment
charter schools.We hope you will find this summary helpful as
you begin the 2014-2015 school year.
The statutes described in this part
apply to open-enrollment
charter schools in addition to school districts.
to Compulsory Attendance
Under §25.085, compulsory
attendance applies to students who are at least six years old as of September 1
of the applicable school year. The law requires a student to attend public
school until the student's 18th birthday, unless the student is exempt under
Under §25.085(c), compulsory attendance
also applies to students below the age for compulsory attendance during any
period that the student is voluntarily enrolled in prekindergarten or
In addition, under
§25.085(d), compulsory attendance applies to certain extended-year programs,
tutorial classes, accelerated reading instruction programs, accelerated
instruction programs, basic skills programs, and summer programs for students
subject to certain disciplinary removals.
Compulsory attendance is enforced through §§25.093 and 25.094 (see page 4).
Compulsory Attendance Exemptions
Section 25.086 lists the exemptions from
compulsory attendance. Three of the exemptions are addressed below.
The exemption from compulsory attendance
for students who have been expelled applies only in a school district that does
not participate in a mandatory juvenile justice alternative education program
(JJAEP). With certain exceptions,
counties with populations greater than 125,000 are required to have JJAEPs. In those counties, expelled students are
subject to compulsory attendance.
Expelled students must attend the JJAEP, if they are placed there, or
another educational program provided by the school district. If an expelled student from a county that
does not have a JJAEP moves to a county that has a mandatory JJAEP, the new
school district may honor the expulsion under Chapter 37 but must assign the
student to either the JJAEP or another educational program provided by the
school district for expelled students.
An open-enrollment charter school may deny admission to a student
expelled from a school district if its charter so provides.
Notwithstanding the above-described
exemption from compulsory attendance, a school district has a continuing
obligation under federal and state law to provide a free appropriate public
education to a student with a disability who has been removed for disciplinary
reasons from his or her current educational placement, regardless of the
population of the county in which the school district is located.
year-old in GED course
The exemption from compulsory attendance
for a child attending a GED course who is at least 17 years of age applies
if: 1) the child has the permission of
the child's parent or guardian to attend the course; 2) the child is required
by court order to attend the course; 3) the child has established a residence
separate and apart from the child's parent, guardian, or other person having
lawful control; or 4) the child is homeless.
(For a discussion of the enrollment in a school district of children
with separate residences or who are homeless see Part III, Admission.)
year-old in GED course
There is a separate exemption for a
child attending a GED course who is at least 16 years old. This exemption applies if the child is
enrolled in a Job Corps training program or the child is recommended to take
the GED course by a public agency that has supervision or custody of the child
under a court order. Under Article
45.054(a)(1) of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, a county, justice or municipal court that finds that a child who is at least 16 years of
age has committed the offense of failure to attend school under §25.094 may
order the child to take a GED examination and to attend a preparatory
course. These are the only conditions
under which 16 year-olds are exempt from compulsory attendance due to attending
a GED course. In addition, certain 16
year-olds may attend a GED program operated by a school district or
open-enrollment charter school under §29.087.
Attendance Enforcement; Persons under Age 18
Designation of School Attendance Officer
Under §25.088, the governing body of a school
district or of an open-enrollment charter school may select an attendance
officer to enforce the attendance of students.
If an open-enrollment charter school does not select an attendance
officer, §25.090 requires the county peace officers to perform the duties of
attendance officer with respect to students in the open-enrollment charter
Duties of School Attendance
Section 25.091 lists the duties of a school
attendance officer. The section lists separately the duties of attendance
officers who are peace officers and the duties of those who are not peace
officers. Please note that the statute
authorizes an attendance officer to refer a student to juvenile court or file a
complaint in a county, justice, or municipal court only for "unexcused
absences." Excused absences are not
included in the number of absences required for a referral or complaint. In addition to enrolled students
with unexcused absences, a school attendance officer's duties extend to persons
within compulsory attendance age who are not exempt from compulsory attendance
and are not enrolled in school.
Section 25.091(b-1) authorizes a peace officer who
has probable cause to believe that a child is in violation of the compulsory
school attendance law under §25.085 to take the child into custody for the
purpose of returning the child to the child's school campus.
An attendance officer is required to apply truancy
prevention measures adopted by the district under §25.0915 and may make a
referral or file a complaint under §25.091 only if the truancy prevention
measures fail to meaningfully address the student's conduct. A court must dismiss a complaint or referral
if it does not specify whether the student is eligible for or receives special
education services or is not accompanied by a statement from the student's
school certifying that the school applied the truancy prevention measures and
the measures failed to meaningfully address the student's school attendance.
Section 25.095 requires school districts and
open-enrollment charter schools to notify parents of attendance requirements at
the beginning of the school year. An additional notice is required after a
student has a certain number of unexcused absences. Tardies are generally not considered
absences for purposes of compulsory attendance enforcement.
are three options for compulsory attendance enforcement, which are outlined in
25.093 is an offense for contributing to nonattendance, which is committed by a
parent. Section 25.094 is an offense for failing to
attend school, which is committed by a student who is 12 years of age or older
and younger than 18 years of age. A district may file an action under those
sections in any justice precinct in the county in which the school is
located or in which the person filed against resides. Alternatively, an action may be filed in
municipal court or, in a county with a population of 1.75 million or more, in a
constitutional county court. Section
25.093 provides for the deposit of one-half of a fine collected under that
section to the credit of the open-enrollment charter, JJAEP, or school district
that the child attends.
third option for enforcement is to proceed against the child in juvenile court
as a "child in need of supervision" under §51.03 of the Texas Family Code. This option applies if the child is 10 years
of age or older for conduct committed before becoming 18 years of age.
It is an affirmative defense under both
the Texas Education Code and the Texas Family Code that an absence has been
excused by a school official or the court. For the student, there is also an affirmative
defense for absences that are involuntary. The affirmative defenses apply only if there
are an insufficient number of absences remaining to constitute an offense.
Under §25.0951(a), a complaint or
referral for 10 or more unexcused absences within six months must be made
within 10 school days from the date of the student's 10th absence. A court shall dismiss a
complaint or referral that is not made in compliance with §25.0951.
Enforcement; Persons Age 18 or Older
Under §25.085(e), a person who
voluntarily enrolls in or attends school after the person's 18th birthday is required to attend each school day for the entire period the
program of instruction for which the student is enrolled is offered. This requirement is not enforceable
through §§25.093 and 25.094. However, if the person has more than five
unexcused absences in a semester, the school district may revoke the person's
enrollment for the remainder of the school year. The authority to revoke enrollment, however,
does not override the district's responsibility to provide a free appropriate public
education to a student who is eligible for special education services. Also,
please note that a student whose enrollment is revoked under this provision is
considered a dropout for accountability purposes.
Section 25.085(f) purports to authorize
the board of trustees of a school district to adopt a policy requiring a person
described by Subsection (e) who is under the age of 21 to attend school until
the end of the school year and to subject the person to §25.094. However, §25.085(f) is no longer effective
due to the amendment of §25.094, limiting the application of that section to
persons "younger than 18 years of age."
Section 25.087 relates to excused
absences. Subsection (a) provides that a
person required to attend school under §25.085 "may be excused for temporary
absence resulting from any cause acceptable to the teacher, principal, or
superintendent of the school in which the person is enrolled." As discussed
under "Duties of School Attendance Officer", excused absences are not counted when determining the number of absences that trigger a referral or
complaint for failure to comply with the compulsory attendance requirement.
Under §25.087(b)(1), a school district
is required to excuse a student's absence for observance of a religious holy
day, for attending a required court appearance, to appear at a governmental
office to complete paperwork required in connection with the student's
application for United States citizenship, to take part in a United States
naturalization oath ceremony, for service as an election clerk, or for an
activity ordered by a court (including a mental health or therapy appointment
or family visitation) if the child is in the conservatorship of the Department
of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). The absence for the child in the conservatorship
of DFPS for a court-ordered activity must be excused if it is not practicable
to schedule the activity outside of school hours. The period of an excused absence under
§25.087(b)(1) includes travel time.
Under §25.087(b)(2), a school district
must excuse a temporary absence for the purpose of an appointment with a health
care professional for the student or the student's child if the student comes
to school the day of the appointment, either before or after the
appointment. According to §25.087(b-3),
an absence subject to this provision includes the temporary absence of a
student diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder for an appointment with a
health care practitioner to receive a generally recognized service for persons with autism spectrum disorder.
§25.087(b-1), a school district may adopt a policy excusing a student's absence
for service as a student early voting clerk.
Section 25.087(e) limits the total number of absences excused to serve
as a student early voting clerk or as an election clerk under §25.087(b)(1) to
two days in a school year.
§25.087(b-2), a district may excuse the absence of a student who is a junior or
senior for the purpose of visiting an accredited institution of higher
education if the district adopts a policy to determine when an absence will be
excused for that purpose and a procedure to verify the visit.
§25.087(b-4), a school district must excuse a student to visit with a parent,
stepparent, or legal guardian who is an active duty member of the uniformed
been called to duty for, is on leave from, or immediately returned from
continuous deployment of at least four months outside the locality where the
parent, stepparent, or guardian regularly resides. The absence must be taken not earlier than
the 60thday before the date of deployment or not later than the 30th day after the date of return from deployment.
The total number of absences excused for this purpose may not exceed
five days in a school year.
§25.087(c), a school district may excuse a student in grades 6 through 12 for
the purpose of sounding "Taps" at a military honors funeral held in this state
for a deceased veteran.
A student whose absence is excused under
Subsections (b)-(c) described above may not be penalized for the absence. Also, the district must allow the student a
reasonable time to make up missed school work
If an absence is excused under §25.087(b)-(c) and the student
successfully completes the missed school work, the student is included in
average daily attendance for that day. A
student may not be included in average daily attendance for an absence that is
excused for a reason that is not included under §25.087 (b)–(c) except as
provided by 19 T.A.C. §129.21(j) or (k).
for Course Credit
25.092 contains the provision of law commonly referred to as "the 90 percent rule,"
which applies to a student in any grade level from kindergarten through grade
25.092 does not apply directly to open-enrollment charter schools. However, some open-enrollment charter schools
have included "the 90 percent rule" in their charters.
Section 25.092 conditions credit or a
final grade for a class on a student's attendance for at least 90 percent of
the days a class is offered. A student
who is in attendance for at least 75 percent, but less than 90 percent, of the
days a class is offered may be given credit or a final grade if the student
completes a plan approved by the principal that provides for the student to meet
the instructional requirement of the class.
If the student is under the jurisdiction of a court in a criminal or
juvenile justice proceeding, the student may not receive credit or a final
grade by completing such a plan without the consent of the presiding judge. The
board of trustees is required to appoint one or more attendance committees to
hear petitions from students who do not earn class credit or a final grade through
a plan approved by the principal. An
attendance committee may give class credit or a final grade due to extenuating
circumstances. The board is also
required to adopt policies establishing alternative ways for such students to
make up work or regain credit or a final grade lost because of absences.
Under §25.092, a district may establish
ways to make up work or regain credit or a final grade that are workable in
consideration of the circumstances. The
section does not require that students spend a certain amount of time in a
"Saturday school" or other educational setting equal to time missed during
regular school hours. The district should be prepared with other options that
give the student a reasonable opportunity to make up work or regain credit or a
final grade even under challenging circumstances, including excessive absences
that occur late in the school year.
Additionally, this law is not intended to penalize students for not
attending a class before the student was enrolled in the class. Students, including migrant students or
transfer students, who could not have attended a class before enrollment should
not have the days of class that occurred before their enrollment counted
against them for purposes of "the 90 percent rule". As with any other student, to receive credit
a student who enrolls after instruction for the year or semester has begun is
required to demonstrate academic achievement and proficiency of the subject
matter as required under §28.021 and 19 T.A.C. §74.26.
If a district offers an educational program outside
of regular school hours as a means for students to make up work and meet the
level of attendance required under §25.092, a district may charge a fee for
such an education program under §11.158(a)(15) and (h) with restrictions. The school district may assess the fee only
if the student returns a form signed by the student's parent or other legal
guardian stating that the fee would not create a financial hardship or
discourage the student from attending the program. The fee may not exceed $50. Also, under §25.092(b) and (f), the board
must provide at least one alternative for making up work or regaining credit or
a final grade that does not require a student to pay a fee under
§11.158(a)(15). The availability of that
alternative must be substantially the same as the availability of an
educational program for which a fee is charged.
III. Entitlement to Admission
25.001 applies to an open-enrollment
charter school for the purposes of determining whether the student meets
the residency requirements for the open-enrollment charter school's designated
geographical boundary. Also, the eligibility standards for prekindergarten
programs, summarized in this part, apply to an open-enrollment charter school.
For more information regarding open-enrollment
charter school admissions, please see the separate To the Charter
Administrator Addressed letter relating to admission, enrollment and
If a district legally admits a
school age Texas resident, the district may include the student in its average
daily attendance, unless the student is a high school graduate. To be eligible, the student must be at least
be five years of age on September 1 of the applicable school or at least three
years of age and eligible for prekindergarten enrollment. Except as provided in the following paragraph,
the student must be a person under the age
of 21 on September 1 of the applicable school year who is not a high school
graduate or a person who is at least 21 years of age and under 26 years of age
on September 1 of the school year and has been admitted to complete the
requirements for a high school diploma.
individual who is eligible for special education services and is not a high
school graduate is eligible for enrollment and funding through the end of the
school year or until graduation, whichever comes first, if the individual is
under the age of 22 on September 1 of the applicable school year. A student who is eligible for special
education services, and who has graduated from high school by successfully
completing his or her individualized education program (IEP) and the other
requirements of 19 T.A.C. §89.1070(b)(3), but meets the age eligibility requirements, may receive additional educational
services (and be eligible for enrollment and funding) if the student's
admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee determines that services need
to be resumed. A student with a disability who has graduated in
accordance with 19 T.A.C. §89.1070(b)(1), (2) or (4) is not eligible for
special education services under state or federal law or for the benefits of
the Foundation School Program.
other status for enrollment
An age-eligible student is
entitled to admission if any one(or more) of the bases for admission in
§25.001(b), (f), or (g) apply to the student.
Most, but not all, of the bases require that the student live in
the district. It is important to
consider that most students are entitled to enrollment in at least one
district regardless of with whom they live.
The exceptions under §25.001(d) apply only if a student is a
minor living in a different district than the student's parent, guardian, or
other person with lawful control under a court order (for discussion of these
exceptions, see §25.001(b)(4) below). Please
remember that, under the United States Supreme Court decision in Plyler v.
Doe, 102 S.Ct. 2382 (1982), a student's immigration status is not a
permissible basis for denying admission to a public school.
Parent and Student in District
25.001(b)(1) entitles a student to admission if the student and either parent
reside in the district. Although this
subdivision applies only if the student and parent reside in the same district,
it does not require that they live at the same address. (For a student living in a different
district, separate and apart from a parent, guardian, or other person having
lawful control of the student under a court order, see §25.001(b)(4).)
Parent Only in District
25.001(b)(2)entitles a student who
resides in Texas but does not reside in the district to admission if 1)
a parent of the child resides in the district and 2) the parent is a
joint managing conservator, sole managing conservator, or possessory
conservator of the child. This provision
does not apply to all parents living apart from their children. It applies only if the parent is a joint
managing conservator, sole managing conservator, or possessory
conservator. Those designations are
established by the order of a court in a suit affecting the parent-child
relationship under Title 5 of the Texas Family Code. If the parent's relationship with the child
has not been the subject of such a suit, this provision of §25.001(b) does not
apply. The designation by a court of a
parent as a joint managing conservator, sole managing conservator, or
possessory conservator can occur under a number of different circumstances, but
occurs most commonly in relationship to a divorce proceeding. A temporary order pending final disposition
of a divorce action would qualify a student for enrollment under this
Student and Guardian or Person with
Lawful Control in District
25.001(b)(3)entitles a student to
admission if the student and the student's "guardian or other person
having lawful control of the [student] under a court order reside within the school
district." Although this subdivision
applies only if the student and the guardian or other person having lawful
control of the student under a court order reside in the same district, it does
not require that they live at the same address.
(For a student living separate and apart from a parent, guardian, or
other person having lawful control of the student, see §25.001(b)(4).)
To determine a student's entitlement
under §25.001(b)(3), a district must determine if a court order exists that
identifies a guardian or other person with lawful control residing in the
district. A child is entitled to
admission if a court orders the placement of the child with a person or in a
facility in the district or if, pursuant to a court order, an entity such as
the DFPS or the Texas Juvenile Justice Department places a child in the
district. If such a court order exists,
the child is entitled to admission under this provision regardless of whether
the student would be ineligible under the exclusions of §25.001(d), which are
Student Only in District
Section 25.001(b)(4), by reference to
§25.001(d), allows a student under 18 years of age to "establish a residence
for the purpose of attending the public schools separate and apart from the
[student's] parent, guardian, or other person having lawful control of the
[student] under a court order…." However, the student's presence in the
district may not be "for the primary purpose of participation in
extracurricular activities." The district is not required to admit a
student under §25.001(b)(4) and (d) if the student:
engaged in conduct or misbehavior within the preceding year that has resulted
(A) removal to a
disciplinary alternative education program (DAEP); or
(2) has engaged in delinquent conduct or conduct
in need of supervision and is on probation or other conditional release for
that conduct; or
(3) has been convicted of a criminal offense and
is on probation or other conditional release.
These exceptions apply only if a
student is living in a different district than the student's parent, guardian,
or other person with lawful control of the child under a court order. The exceptions cannot be used to prevent a
student eligible for admission under a different provision of §25.001 from
being enrolled, including homeless students.
Please consult this entire part to determine if another basis for
§25.001(d), "[t]he board of trustees shall determine whether an applicant for
admission is a resident . . . for purposes of attending the public schools"
under that subsection and "may adopt reasonable guidelines for making a
determination as necessary to protect the best interests of students(emphasis added)." 
This ability to adopt guidelines should
not be misinterpreted as the ability to redefine the legal concept of residency
established by our state law. The
traditional, basic residence criteria are living in the district and having the
present intention to remain there. See, Martinez v. Bynum, 461 U.S. 321, 330-333 (1983), Arredondo v.
Brockette, 648 F.2d 425 (5th Cir. 1981).
The board of trustees' authority is to provide guidelines that will
enable a student to substantiate his or her residency and enable the board to
determine if the student is a resident of the district. Residency is not defined by an address on a
driver's license, a signature on a lease, or the address on a utility bill.
These are indicators that may expedite verifying residency, but the absence of
such indicators is not conclusive that the student is not a resident. Furthermore, the fact that a student is
living in a household that is leased or owned by someone outside the student's
immediate family may be an indicator that the student is homeless and entitled
to admission under §25.001(b)(5).
§25.001(b)(5)entitles a person who is "homeless"
under 42 U.S.C. §11302 to admission "regardless of the residence of the person,
of either parent of the person, or of the person's guardian or other person
having lawful control of the person."
Therefore, a person who is homeless is entitled to admission in any
Texas school district. The definition in
42 U.S.C. §11302 is similar, but not identical, to the definition of "homeless
children and youths" enacted in the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB)
legislation in 2002. As the definition
in the NCLB legislation applies specifically under federal law to the
enrollment of homeless children and youth, the Texas Education Agency advises
that school districts apply the NCLB definition, in addition to the definition
in 42 U.S.C. §11302, when determining if a student is eligible for enrollment
under §25.001(b)(5). Both definitions
are set out below. Under federal law,
homeless students may not be segregated from students who are not homeless,
prohibiting assignments to a "shelter school" or other segregated setting. Limited exceptions are provided for a short
period to deal with a health and safety emergency or to provide temporary,
special, and supplementary services that are unique to the needs of homeless
For purposes of this
chapter, the terms "homeless", "homeless individual", and "homeless person"
individual or family who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime
individual or family with a primary nighttime residence that is a public or
private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping
accommodation for human beings, including a car, park, abandoned building, bus
or train station, airport, or camping ground;
individual or family living in a supervised publicly or privately operated
shelter designated to provide temporary living arrangements (including hotels
and motels paid for by Federal, State, or local government programs for
low-income individuals or by charitable organizations, congregate shelters, and
individual who resided in a shelter or place not meant for human habitation and
who is exiting an institution where he or she temporarily resided;
individual or family who--
(A) will imminently lose their housing,
including housing they own, rent, or live in without paying rent, are sharing
with others, and rooms in hotels or motels not paid for by Federal, State, or
local government programs for low-income individuals or by charitable
organizations, as evidenced by--
court order resulting from an eviction action that notifies the individual or
family that they must leave within 14 days;
individual or family having a primary nighttime residence that is a room in a
hotel or motel and where they lack the resources necessary to reside there for
more than 14 days; or
credible evidence indicating that the owner or renter of the housing will not
allow the individual or family to stay for more than 14 days, and any oral
statement from an individual or family seeking homeless assistance that is
found to be credible shall be considered credible evidence for purposes of this
(B) has no subsequent residence identified;
(C) lacks the resources or support networks
needed to obtain other permanent housing; and
unaccompanied youth and homeless families with children and youth defined as
homeless under other Federal statutes who--
have experienced a long term period without living independently in permanent
have experienced persistent instability as measured by frequent moves over such
be expected to continue in such status for an extended period of time because
of chronic disabilities, chronic physical health or mental health conditions,
substance addiction, histories of domestic violence or childhood abuse, the
presence of a child or youth with a disability, or multiple barriers to
* * *
(2) The term
"homeless children and youths"'--
individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence (within
the meaning of section 11302(a)(1) of this title); and
(i) children and
youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing,
economic hardship, or a similar reason;
are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to
the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional
shelters; are abandoned in
hospitals; or are awaiting foster care
(ii) children and
youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place
not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for
human beings (within the meaning of section 11302(a)(2)(C) of this title);
and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings,
substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and
children (as such term is defined in section 6399 of Title 20) who qualify as
homeless for the purposes of this part because the children are living in
circumstances described in clauses (i) through (iii).
42 U.S.C. §11302(g)(3)(A), the child must be allowed to attend either the
student's "school of origin" as defined in 42 U.S.C. §11302(g)(3)(G) (the
school in which he or she was enrolled before becoming homeless) or the school
serving the attendance area where he or she is now located. Eligibility to enroll in any other school in
any school district is determined by local policy. A student attending his or her "school of
origin" who becomes permanently housed during the school year is entitled to
continue to attend that school for the remainder of the school year.
Foreign Exchange Student
25.001(b)(6)entitles a foreign
exchange student to admission if the student is placed with a host family that
resides in the school district by a nationally recognized foreign exchange
program. The only exception is under the
terms of a waiver granted by the commissioner on application of a district
under §25.001(e). For a waiver to be
granted, the admission of a foreign exchange student must create one of three
possible conditions. It must 1) create a
financial or staffing hardship for the district, 2) diminish the district's
ability to provide high quality educational services for the district's
domestic students, or 3) require domestic students to compete with foreign
exchange students for educational resources.
The period of a waiver may not exceed three years.
A student who holds a J-1 foreign
exchange visa is not required to pay tuition.
For information regarding tuition for a secondary school student as a
condition of holding a F-1 visa, see Part V of this letter regarding tuition.
Section 25.001(b)(7)entitles a
student residing at a residential facility located in the district to
admission. A "residential facility" is
defined in §5.001(8) as follows:
a facility operated by a state agency or political subdivision, including a
child placement agency, that provides 24-hour custody or care of a person 22
years of age or younger, if the person resides in the facility for detention,
treatment, foster care, or any non-educational purpose; and
any person or entity that contracts with or is funded, licensed, certified, or
regulated by a state agency or political subdivision to provide custody or care
for a person under Paragraph (A).
Under §29.012, a residential facility is
required to notify the school district in which the facility is located of the
placement of a person three years of age or older. The facility is required to give the notice
not later than the third day after the date of placement. A district should contact residential
facilities in the district to coordinate implementation of this notice
provision. In general, students placed
in residential facilities are entitled to admission under other provisions of
§25.001. However, §25.001(b)(7) provides
a uniform admissions provision for children in such facilities. Additionally, the notice requirement should
generate communication between the facilities and school districts that will
promote efficiency in the provision of educational services to these children.
25.001(b)(8)entitles a student
residing in the district to admission if the student is over 18 years of age or if the student is less than 18 years of age and has had the disabilities of
minority removed through marriage or as otherwise permitted by law.
Grandparent in District
25.001(b)(9)entitles a student who
resides in Texas but does not reside in the district to admission if a
grandparent of the student resides in the district and the grandparent
provides a substantial amount of after-school care for the student as
determined by the local school board.
25.001(f) and (g) establishes special provisions for children in foster care. Subsection (f) provides for tuition-free
admission in the district in which the foster parents reside. In addition, the subsection forbids the use
of a durational residence requirement to prohibit a foster child from
participating in any school-sponsored activity.
Subsection (g) specifically provides a student placed in the
conservatorship of the DFPS with the option of continuing to attend, without
payment of tuition, the school in which the student was enrolled immediately
before entering conservatorship until the student successfully completes the
highest grade level offered by the school, regardless of the location of the
29.153 establishes additional eligibility criteria for prekindergarten programs
for three and four year olds. A child of
the appropriate age is eligible for a prekindergarten program if the child:
unable to speak and comprehend the English language;
a homeless child;
the child or stepchild of an active duty member of the armed forces, including
state military forces or a reserve component of the armed forces, who is
ordered to active duty;
the child or stepchild of a member of the armed forces, including state
military forces or a reserve component of the armed forces, who was injured or
killed while serving on active duty; or
or ever has been in the conservatorship of the DFPS following an adversary
hearing under §262.201 of the Texas Family Code.
A district is required to offer
prekindergarten classes if the district identifies 15 or more children who are
eligible and are at least four years of age. A school district may
offer prekindergarten classes if the district identifies 15 or more eligible
children who are at least three years of age. A district may not
charge tuition for a prekindergarten class offered under §29.153. Please see Part V of this letter for
information regarding tuition for additional prekindergarten services.
A school district board of
trustees' decision to deny admission that violates the school laws of this
state may be appealed to the commissioner of education under §7.057(a). In an appeal under that section, the commissioner
will review the record developed at the district level to determine if the
decision is supported by substantial evidence.
Students at least age 21 but under age
25.001(b-1) grants districts discretionary authority to admit students who are
at least 21 years of age and under 26 years of age on September 1 of the school
year and are admitted to complete the requirements for a high school diploma.
These older students are not eligible
for placement in a DAEP or a JJAEP. If a
student admitted under this discretionary authority engages in conduct that
would require such placement for a student under age 21, the district shall
revoke the student's admission into the public schools of the district.
Under §25.001(b-2), if a student
admitted under Subsection (b-1) has not attended school in the three preceding
school years, the student may not be placed with a student who is 18 years of
age or younger in a classroom setting, a cafeteria, or another
district-sanctioned school activity.
However, the student may attend a school-sponsored event that is open to
the public as a member of the public.
An older student admitted under §25.001(b-1)
is entitled to Foundation School Program funding under §42.003(a)(1). However, a student with a disability is not
eligible for either federal or state special education programs or funding
unless the student was under the age of 22 on September 1 of the applicable
school year. A student with a disability
who no longer qualifies for special education due to the student's age and who
has not graduated must meet the regular state graduation requirements
regardless of whether the student previously could have graduated under an IEP
with different requirements. Generally,
students with disabilities will qualify for §504, but that law does not allow modification of graduation requirements or provide
any additional funding. A public school may not deny admission based on
the presence of a disability, prior special education status, or §504 status.
district may choose to accept, as transfers, students who are not entitled to
enroll in the district under §25.001.
Under §25.036, a transfer is for a period of one school year. The district may charge tuition under a
transfer agreement to the extent permitted under §25.038.
Address Confidentiality Program
Address Confidentiality Program (ACP) is mandated by Subchapter C, Chapter 56,
Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. The
rules of the Attorney General regarding the program are in T.A.C. Chapter 61.
The ACP is available to a person who is
a victim of domestic violence, trafficking of persons, sexual assault, or
stalking. The goal of the program is keep the victim's location confidential
through the use of a substitute address and mail-forwarding service. A substitute legal address (P.O. Box) is
established for the participant and is displayed on a participation card issued
by the Office of Attorney General. On
presentment of a participant's card, the statute and the rules require that
state and local agencies accept the substitute post office address in lieu of
the person's actual address. The
substitute address has no relation to the participant's actual location within
IV. Enrollment Records
The statutes described in this part
apply to open-enrollment charter schools in addition to school districts.
Record Requirements for Enrollment
Section 25.002 requires that a
child's prior school district or the person enrolling the child provide certain
The required records are 1) a birth certificate or other proof of
identity, 2) the child's records from the school most recently attended, and 3)
immunization records. These are the only records statutorily
required for enrollment. Student
social security numbers are used for purposes of the Public Education
Information Management System; however, a district or open-enrollment charter
will assign the student a state-approved alternative student identification
number if the student's social security number is not provided.
The prior school district should
promptly provide records to the enrolling district that are needed for the
appropriate placement and continued education of the student, including records
relating to §504 or to special education services under the Individuals with
Disabilities Education Act. Under
§25.002, the prior district must provide the records not later than the 10th working day after the date a request for the records is received. This requirement also applies to the transfer
of records to or from other public schools, including open-enrollment charter
schools and JJAEPs. 
School districts and open-enrollment
charter schools are required to participate in the electronic transfer of
student records through the Texas Records Exchange (TREx). For more information regarding TREx, http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=25769817556.
Records furnished by a parent or other
person with legal control of a child under a court order must be furnished not
later than the 30thday after the date the child is enrolled. The 30 day provision is duplicated in
Subsection (g) in relation to a child taken into possession by the DFPS under Chapter 262 of the Texas Family Code.
A school district is specifically required to accept the child for
enrollment without the records required under §25.002, but the department is
required to furnish such records not later than the 30th day after
the date the child is enrolled.
school district or open-enrollment Charter School may not prohibit a student
from attending school pending receipt of transcripts or records from the school
district the student previously attended. Additionally, the failure of a prior
district or the person enrolling the student to provide identification or school
records under §25.002 does not constitute grounds for refusing to admit
an eligible student. However, if identifying records are not
furnished within the 30-day period, §25.002(c) requires the district to notify
law enforcement and request a determination of whether the student has been
reported as missing. This requirement
applies regardless of the student's age.
If a student is enrolled under a name other than the name in the
identifying documents, the school district is required to notify the missing
children and missing person's information clearinghouse under §25.002(b). The notice is confidential. (Please note that a student must be enrolled
under the student's legal surname; see subsequent summary of §25.0021.)
With respect to homeless students, a
school district or open-enrollment charter school is required under federal law
to enroll a homeless student immediately, even if the student is unable to
produce records normally required for enrollment.
Absence of parent or
During the 1995-1996 and 1996-1997
school years, a school district was required under §25.002(f) to notify the
Department of Protective and Regulatory Services (DPRS) if a child was enrolled by a person other than the child's parent, guardian, or
other person with legal control of the child under a court order. The district was then to send parental
communication regarding that child to DPRS or whomever DPRS directed. During the 1997 legislative session, the
section was amended by removing the requirement to notify DPRS. The amendment did not remove the first
sentence of §25.002(f), but that sentence is no longer effective because the
referenced exception was removed. The
district must determine with whom communication regarding the child is
appropriate as the DPRS is no longer a default. The absence of a parent,
guardian, or other person with legal control of a child under a court order is
not grounds for refusing admission to which a child is entitled under
Regardless of whether or not a child's parent,
guardian, or other person with legal control of the child under a court order
is enrolling a child, under §25.002(f) as amended in 2001, a district is
required to record the name, address, and date of birth of the person enrolling
Subject to the exceptions in §38.001(c), a student
is required to be fully immunized against certain diseases. However, under §38.001 a student may be
provisionally admitted if the student has begun the required immunizations and
continues to receive the necessary immunizations as rapidly as medically
feasible. Except as provided by
§38.001(c), a student who is not fully immunized and has not begun the required
immunizations may not attend school.
Under §38.019, a school district that maintains an
Internet website is required to post prominently on the website, in English and
Spanish, lists of the immunizations required for admission to public school,
any additional immunizations recommended by the Department of State Health
Services (DSHS), and health clinics in the district that offer influenza
vaccine. The district must also post a
link to the DSHS website information relating to claiming an exemption from
immunization requirements. This information is available at www.dshs.state.tx.us/immunize/school/default.shtm.
Use of Legal Surname
25.0021requires that a public school identify a student by that student's legal
surname as it appears on the student's birth certificate or other document
suitable as proof of the student's identity or in a court order changing the
Code of Criminal Procedure School Records Requirements
are additional requirements relating to school records in Chapter 63 of the
Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, which relates to the missing children and
missing person information clearinghouse in the Department of Public
Safety. The requirements apply to the
records maintained by primary schools for children under the age of 11.
a child under the age of 11 initially enrolls in a primary school, the school
is required to take the following steps:
1. Request from the person enrolling the child
the name of each previous school attended by the child.
2. Request from each school the school records
for the child or, if the person enrolling the child provides the records,
request verification from the school of the child's name, address, birth date,
and grades and dates attended.
Notify the person enrolling the student
that not later than the 30th day after enrollment, or the 90th day if the child
was not born in the United States, the person must provide a certified copy of
the child's birth certificate or other reliable proof of the child's identity
and age with a signed statement explaining the inability to produce a copy of
the birth certificate.
4. If the person enrolling the child does not
provide valid prior school information or the required documentation, the
school shall notify the appropriate law enforcement agency before the 31st day
after the person fails to comply. The
failure to provide records does not constitute grounds for refusing to admit an
Children Identified as Missing
a law enforcement agency receives a report that a child under 11 years of age
is missing, the law enforcement agency or the clearinghouse will notify each
primary school in which the child has been enrolled or has attended. When the school receives the notice, the
school is required to take the following steps:
Flag the child's records that are maintained by the school.
2. On receipt of a request regarding the child
made in person:
require the requesting party to complete a form stating the person's
name, address, telephone number, and relationship to the child and the name,
address, and birth date of the child;
(b) obtain a copy of the requesting
party's driver's license or other photographic identification, if possible; and
(c) notify law enforcement or the
clearinghouse that a request for a flagged record has been made, enclosing a
physical description of the requesting party, the identity and address of the
requesting party, and a copy of the requesting party's driver's license or
other photographic identification.
On receipt of a request regarding a child that is made in writing, notify law
enforcement or the clearinghouse and include a copy of the request.
4. Do not disclose to the requesting party that
the request concerns a missing child.
5. After notifying law enforcement, mail a copy
of the requested record to the requesting party on or after the 21st day after
the date of the request.
Removal of Flag
On the return of
a missing child whose records have been flagged, the law enforcement agency or
the clearinghouse will notify each primary school the child has attended. On receipt of that notification, the school
shall remove the flag from the records.
A school that has reason to believe a missing child has been recovered
may request confirmation of that from the appropriate law enforcement agency or
the clearinghouse. If a response is not
received after the 45th day after the date of the request for confirmation, the
school may remove the flag from the record and notify the law enforcement agency
or the clearinghouse that the flag has been removed.
Relationship to FERPA
a school receives a request for records, the school first needs to consider
whether the information may be released at all.
The provisions in the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure do not replace
the limitations on the disclosure of educational records that are found in the
federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). FERPA prohibits the disclosure of educational records to persons other than the
student's parent, guardian, or an individual acting as a parent in the absence
of a parent or guardian or, if age 18 or older, the student, unless the
disclosure comes within certain exceptions provided under FERPA. If the requestor is someone other than the
student's parent or guardian, an individual acting as a parent in the absence
of a parent or guardian, or the student, if age 18 or older, the district
should still notify law enforcement of the request but may not release the
records to the requestor unless consent to the release is obtained or a FERPA
exception to the general requirement for consent applies. Whether or not the information is released,
the school may not disclose to any requestor (including a parent,
guardian, individual acting as a parent, or student) that the request concerns
a missing child.
to Public Information Act
Article 63.021(c) of the Texas Code of
Criminal Procedure requires that a school wait 21 days before mailing copies of
flagged records to a requestor. However,
the Public Information Act provides that "[i]f an officer for public
information cannot produce public information for inspection or duplication
within 10 business days after the date the information is requested . . . , the
officer shall certify that fact in writing to the requestor and set a date and
hour within a reasonable time when the information will be available for
inspection or duplication." Due to this provision, a district should notify a requestor within 10 business days
that the records will be mailed on a certain date that is on or after the 21st
day after the request is received.
Eligibility for free prekindergarten is
determined under §29.153. In addition to
free prekindergarten, under §29.1531 a school district or an open-enrollment
charter school may provide, on a tuition basis or using district funds, an additional
half-day of prekindergarten for children eligible for classes under §29.153 or
offer prekindergarten classes for children not eligible under §29.153.
district that offers a prekindergarten program on a tuition basis must submit
the proposed tuition rate to the commissioner for approval. The tuition rate may not exceed the amount
necessary to cover the added costs of providing the program, including any
costs associated with collecting, reporting, and analyzing certain related
F-1 or other
visa requiring payment of tuition
25.0031 authorizes a school district or open-enrollment charter school to
charge tuition equal to the full unsubsidized per capita cost of providing a
student's education to a student who is required to pay such costs as a
condition of obtaining or holding an appropriate United States student
visa. The amount of the tuition may not
be greater than the amount computed under commissioner guidelines unless the
commissioner approves a greater amount as a more accurate computation of the
costs. The student is not counted for
purposes of allocating state funds to the school district or open-enrollment
charter school. 
authority applies to a secondary school student holding an F-1 visa. Federal law permits a nonimmigrant F-1
immigration status for public secondary school if the aggregate period of study
at the school will not exceed twelve months and the student reimburses the
secondary school for the full unsubsidized per capita cost of the student's
education.Under federal law, a nonimmigrant may not be
granted an F-1 visa in order to pursue a public elementary or publicly-funded
adult education program. 
than tuition related to prekindergarten or to certain visas discussed above, an
open-enrollment charter school may not charge tuition. A school district may charge tuition only if
it is specifically authorized to do so by statute or under the constitution. If your district is charging tuition for any
purpose, please review the statutes to determine if there is authority for the
tuition. Statutes authorizing tuition under
certain limited circumstances include §§25.003 (Certain Children from Other
States), 25.038 (Transfer Students), 25.039 (Contract for Education Outside
(Children of State School Employees), and 25.042 (Children of Texas Youth
hope this summary is helpful to you in preparing for the 2014-2015 school
year. If you have questions about the
statutory provisions summarized in this letter, you are welcome to contact the
Office of Legal Services by phone or e-mail at (512) 463-9720 or TEALegal@tea.texas.gov.
Anderson, General Counsel
information relating to open-enrollment charter schools, see the Charter
Administrator Addressed letter regarding Admission, Enrollment, and Withdrawal.
A county with a
population greater than 125,000 is not required to have a JJAEP if its
population was 125,000 or less according to the 2000 federal census and the county enters into the
memoranda of understanding required under §37.011(a-1).
Under §37.011(a-2), a county with a population
greater than 125,000 is not required to have a JJAEP if
the county has a population of 180,000 or less; is adjacent to two counties,
each of which has a population of more than 1.7 million; and has seven or more
school districts located wholly within the county's boundaries. This exception is currently applicable to
§37.011(a-3), a county with a population greater than 125,000 is considered to
be a county with a population of 125,000 or less if the county has a population
of more than 200,000 and less than 220,000; has five or more school districts
located wholly within the county's boundaries; and has located in the county a
juvenile justice alternative education program that, on May 1, 2011, served
fewer than 15 students. The district
must provide education services to expelled students as provided by
§§37.011(a-4) and (a-5). This exception
is currently applicable to Smith County.
a county court is only in a county with a population of 1.75 million or more
and is due to the extension of jurisdiction of complaints under §25.094 to
constitutional county courts in a county of that population.
statutes regarding delivery of a child to school by a law enforcement officer
or a person authorized to take a child into custody include
§§52.01(e), 52.02(a)(7), and 52.026(a), Texas Family Code.
For purposes of
§25.093, "parent" is defined to include "a person standing in parental
51.03(b)(2) and (e-1), Texas Family Code.
25.094(g), Texas Education Code, and §51.03(d), Texas Family Code.
As discussed in
Part II of this letter, excused absences are counted in determining
whether a student is in compliance with the attendance requirements for class credit, but local
policies under §25.092 regarding the award of class credit may take into
account whether an absence is excused.
For student attendance accounting for
state funding, the number of excused days for travel under §25.087(b)(1) is
limited to not more than one day to and
one day from the site of the applicable event.
19 T.A.C. §129.21(j)(3) as amended effective August 2012.
§1355.015(b), Texas Insurance Code, for a description of "health care
§25.087(b-3), "generally recognized service" includes applied behavioral
analysis, speech therapy, and occupational therapy.
under §§25.087(b)(2) and (b-3) of students with disabilities, further
information is available in the Texas Education Agency (TEA) guidance document
162.002, "uniformed services" means the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps,
Coast Guard, as well as the Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration, and Public Health Services.
 See also Chapter 162, The Interstate Compact
on Educational Opportunity for Military Children,
Under §25.092(a-2), §25.092(a) does not apply to a
student who receives credit by examination for a class under §28.023.
Tarkington I.S.D., 167-R5-293 (Commissioner of Education. 1993).
§25.001(c) (board may require evidence of residency, may establish minimum
proof of residency, and may make reasonable inquiries to verify eligibility for
§§11432(e)(3)(A) and 11433(a)(2)(B).
Due to the
amendment of §11302(a), currently the correct cross-reference is §11302(a)(2).
enroll in a Texas Virtual School Network (TxVSN) course or Online School (OLS)
is determined under state law. See
Section 12 of the Student Attendance Accounting Handbook.
does not apply to a residential treatment facility for juveniles established
under §221.056, Texas Human Resources Code.
each school district and open-enrollment charter school is required to appoint
at least one employee as a liaison officer to facilitate the enrollment in or
transfer to a public school of a child in the district who is in the
conservatorship of the state. Information
for liaison officers is available at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/FosterCareStudentSuccess/.
disadvantaged" means "eligible to participate in the national free or reduced
As defined in 42
U.S.C. §11434a(2). See discussion of
Section 504 of
the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. §794.
Skidmore-Tynan Independent School District, 026-R5-1110 (Comm'r Educ.
On enrollment, a
school district is required to request food allergy information under §25.0022,
but provision of the information is not required for enrollment.
Section 25.007(b)(1) provides that the school records of students in foster
care must be provided not later than the 10thworking day after the date the student begins enrollment
at a new school.
of §25.002 apply regardless of whether the student has unreturned instructional
materials or technological equipment.
Under §31.104(d), a school district has discretion to withhold the
records of a student if the student has not returned or paid for instructional
materials or technological equipment.
This discretionary authority does
not exempt a school district from the mandatory provision in §25.002 to
send records to another public school in which the student is enrolling. In situations in which there is not a
conflicting mandate, the district may implement the discretionary authority
under § 31.104(d). For definitions of
"instructional materials" and "technical equipment", see §31.002.
statute refers to the Department of Protective and Regulatory is the
predecessor to DFPS.
If the child was
previously enrolled in a Texas public school, the school is required to forward
records through TREx in the same manner as for any other student within the
same time period of 10 working days.
name has changed to Department of Family and Protective Services.
relatives who are not a child's legal guardian may have express authority to
enroll a child in school pursuant to an authorization agreement under Chapter
34, Texas Family Code. The form required
for this purpose is State of Texas Form 2638 available on the DFPS website at http://www.dfps.state.tx.us/Site_Map/forms.asp.
information regarding immunization requirements, immunization exemptions, and
immunization documentation, please contact the Department
of State Health Services. Information
about immunization and the department's Immunization Branch is available at www.dshs.state.tx.us/immunize/default.shtm.
If a school
district has documentation that a certified birth certificate was provided when
a student initially enrolled in the district, the original may be returned to
the person enrolling the child. Also, it
is not necessary for the birth certificate to be provided again in the event
the student transfers to another school in the same district.
20 U.S.C. §1232g and 34 C.F.R. Part 99.
A FERPA exception, found in 34 C.F.R. §99.31(a)(2),
permits disclosure to another school in which the student is enrolling, which
is required by §25.002.
Article 63.021(d), Texas Code of Criminal
552.221(d), Texas Government Code.
Tuition may not
be charged under §29.1531 for a student, including an eligible student served a
full day, whose attendance is funded through a prekindergarten grant awarded by
the commissioner under §29.155. However,
no grants are available under §29.155 for the 2014-2015 school year due to lack
of funding for that purpose.
The data is described
For purposes of
student attendance accounting codes, the appropriate code for the student is
"ineligible full-day" or "ineligible half-day," depending on the student's
schedule. See Section 3 of the Student
Attendance Accounting Handbook, which is available at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=7739.
district or open-enrollment charter school may not provide a signature on an
I-20 certificate of eligibility for a student seeking a F-1 visa unless the student is paying the
tuition authorized under §25.0031.
tuition under this section is affected by 19 T.A.C. §61.1012.
has been merged with the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission and renamed the
Texas Juvenile Justice Department.