November 18, 2020 Committee of the Full Board Item 5

Proposed Amendment to 19 TAC Chapter 74, Curriculum Requirements, Subchapter B, Graduation Requirements, §74.11, High School Graduation Requirements
(First Reading and Filing Authorization)

November 20, 2020

COMMITTEE OF THE FULL BOARD: ACTION
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION: ACTION

SUMMARY: This item presents for first reading and filing authorization a proposed amendment to 19 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) Chapter 74, Curriculum Requirements, Subchapter B, Graduation Requirements, §74.11, High School Graduation Requirements. The proposed amendment would update the rule to align with the requirement in House Bill (HB) 3, 86th Texas Legislature, 2019, that students complete and submit a free application for federal student aid (FAFSA) or a Texas application for state financial aid (TASFA) as a requirement for high school graduation.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY: Texas Education Code (TEC), §§7.102(c)(4); 28.025(c), as amended by HB 3, 86th Texas Legislature, 2019; and 28.0256(a), (b), and (d), as added by HB 3, 86th Texas Legislature, 2019.

TEC, §7.102(c)(4), requires the State Board of Education (SBOE) to establish curriculum and graduation requirements.

TEC, §28.025(c), as amended by HB 3, 86th Texas Legislature, 2019, requires that, in order to receive a high school diploma, a student must complete the curriculum requirements identified by the SBOE and comply with the financial aid application requirement in accordance with TEC, §28.0256.

TEC, §28.0256(a), as added by HB 3, 86th Texas Legislature, 2019, requires each student to complete and submit a FAFSA or a TASFA before graduating from high school.

TEC, §28.0256(b), as added by HB 3, 86th Texas Legislature, 2019, provides an exception to students to opt out of the financial aid application requirement under TEC, §28.0256(a), by submitting a form signed by a parent, guardian, or student aged 18 years old or older, that authorizes the student to decline to comply with the financial aid application graduation requirement. A high school counselor may also authorize a student to decline to comply with the financial aid application graduation requirement for good cause.

TEC, §28.0256(d), as added by HB 3, 86th Texas Legislature, 2019, specifies that if a school counselor notifies a school district whether a student has complied with the requirement under TEC, §28.0256(a) or (b), the school counselor may only indicate whether the student has complied with this section and may not indicate the manner in which the student complied.

The full text of statutory citations can be found in the statutory authority section of this agenda.

EFFECTIVE DATE: The proposed effective date of the proposed amendments is August 1, 2021. Under TEC, §7.102(f), the SBOE must approve the rule action at second reading and final adoption by a vote of two-thirds of its members to specify an effective date earlier than the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year. The earlier effective date will allow districts of innovation that begin school prior to the statutorily required start date to implement the proposed rulemaking when they begin their school year.

PREVIOUS BOARD ACTION: The SBOE adopted rules in 19 TAC Chapter 74, Subchapter B, to implement the Foundation High School Program effective July 8, 2014. The SBOE adopted amendments to 19 TAC Chapter 74, Subchapter B, §74.11, effective August 22, 2016; August 28, 2017; August 27, 2018, and November 24, 2019. The SBOE last adopted amendments effective August 1, 2020.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND JUSTIFICATION: The 86th Texas Legislature, 2019, passed HB 3, amending TEC, §28.025(c), and adding new TEC, §28.0256, to require a student to complete a financial aid application, FAFSA or TASFA, in order to graduate. In accordance with TEC, §28.0256(b), a student is not required to comply with the financial aid application requirement if the student's parent or guardian submits a signed opt out form authorizing the student to decline to complete and submit a financial aid application. The student may submit the opt out form on the student's own behalf if the student is 18 years of age or older or is an emancipated youth under Texas Family Code, Chapter 31. A school counselor may also authorize the student to decline to complete and submit a financial aid application for good cause, as determined by the school counselor. The opt out form must be approved by the Texas Education Agency (TEA).

The attachment to this item reflects the text of proposed amendment to 19 TAC §74.11 for consideration by the SBOE for first reading and filing authorization. The proposed amendment would update the rule to align with the financial aid application requirement and include options by which a student may opt out of the requirement.

The proposed amendment was not presented as a discussion item. The SBOE, however, may wish to consider this item for first reading and filing authorization as authorized under its operating procedures. Therefore, this item is presented for first reading and filing authorization consideration at this meeting. It is recommended that the SBOE consider this item for first reading and filing authorization to provide school districts with additional guidance so they can begin planning before the end of the current school year.

FISCAL IMPACT: TEA has determined that the proposal would have no fiscal impact to state or local government beyond what is required by the authorizing statute. HB 3 requires school districts and charter schools to monitor and report the completion of the financial aid application requirement, which will have a cost to the state. The 86th Texas Legislature, 2019, appropriated $1.5 million for the creation of a database to track TASFA completion electronically.

LOCAL EMPLOYMENT IMPACT: The proposal has no effect on local economy; therefore, no local employment impact statement is required under Texas Government Code, §2001.022.

SMALL BUSINESS, MICROBUSINESS, AND RURAL COMMUNITY IMPACT: The proposal has no direct adverse economic impact for small businesses, microbusinesses, or rural communities; therefore, no regulatory flexibility analysis specified in Texas Government Code, §2006.002, is required.

COST INCREASE TO REGULATED PERSONS: The proposal does not impose a cost on regulated persons, another state agency, a special district, or a local government and, therefore, is not subject to Texas Government Code, §2001.0045.

TAKINGS IMPACT ASSESSMENT: The proposal does not impose a burden on private real property and, therefore, does not constitute a taking under Texas Government Code, §2007.043.

GOVERNMENT GROWTH IMPACT: TEA staff prepared a Government Growth Impact Statement assessment for this proposed rulemaking. During the first five years the proposed rulemaking would be in effect, it would expand an existing regulation by requiring students to either submit a financial aid application or to opt out of the graduation requirement.

The proposed rulemaking would not create or eliminate a government program; would not require the creation of new employee positions or elimination of existing employee positions; would not require an increase or decrease in future legislative appropriations to the agency; would not require an increase or decrease in fees paid to the agency; would not create a new regulation; would not limit or repeal an existing regulation; would not increase or decrease the number of individuals subject to its applicability; and would not positively or adversely affect the state's economy.

PUBLIC BENEFIT AND COST TO PERSONS: The proposal would promote students' completion of financial aid applications and eligibility to receive financial aid. There is no anticipated economic cost to persons who are required to comply with the proposal.

DATA AND REPORTING IMPACT: The proposal would have data and reporting implications. TEC, §28.026(e)(2), requires each school district to report to the agency the number of students who complete and submit a financial aid application and the number of students who opted out of the financial aid requirement.

PRINCIPAL AND CLASSROOM TEACHER PAPERWORK REQUIREMENTS: TEA has determined that the proposal would not require a written report or other paperwork to be completed by a principal or classroom teacher.

PUBLIC COMMENTS: The public comment period on the proposal begins December 18, 2020, and ends January 22, 2021. The SBOE will take registered oral and written comments on the proposal at the appropriate committee meeting in January 2021 in accordance with the SBOE board operating policies and procedures. A request for a public hearing on the proposal submitted under the Administrative Procedure Act must be received by the commissioner of education not more than 14 calendar days after notice of the proposal has been published in the Texas Register on Friday, December 18, 2020.

MOTION TO BE CONSIDERED: The State Board of Education:

Suspend the board operating procedures in accordance with §5.2(a) to allow consideration at first reading and filing authorization; and

Approve for first reading and filing authorization proposed amendment to 19 TAC Chapter 74, Curriculum Requirements, Subchapter B, Graduation Requirements, §74.11, High School Graduation Requirements.

Staff Members Responsible:
Monica Martinez, Associate Commissioner, Standards and Support Services
Shelly Ramos, Senior Director, Curriculum Standards and Student Support

Attachment:
Text of Proposed Amendment to 19 TAC Chapter 74, Curriculum Requirements, Subchapter B, Graduation Requirements, §74.11, High School Graduation Requirements