October 17, 2012
TO THE ADMINISTRATOR ADDRESSED:
SUBJECT: Changes to the 2012–2013 Student Attendance Accounting Handbook (SAAH)
This letter serves to inform local educational agencies (independent school districts and open-enrollment charter schools) of changes to the 2012–2013 Student Attendance Accounting Handbook (SAAH). These changes include new consequences for local educational agencies (LEAs) if they do not respond to inquiries from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) in a timely manner and if they do not properly maintain student attendance records. These changes, given in Sections 2.1 and 1.2 of the 2012–2013 SAAH, will be particularly relevant for LEAs that are selected for a limited-scope review of student attendance records by the TEA Division of Financial Audits.
Each fiscal year, the Division of Financial Audits selects certain LEAs for a limited-scope review and notifies them of their selection in writing. The limited-scope review focuses on the LEA’s reporting of students who are eligible to earn attendance credit in various categories. Division auditors analyze the LEA’s Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) data and identify specific student records for review. The LEA is required to submit these records to TEA.
The authority for the limited-scope review is given in the SAAH and in Title 19 of the Texas Administrative Code (TAC), §129.21(d), which requires LEAs to maintain all original documentation to support student attendance and to provide this documentation to TEA upon request.
Once the limited-scope review is complete, each LEA will receive a report that may include findings and an estimate of any monetary adjustments to state funding that may be required.
Responding to Requests from TEA
If your LEA is selected for a limited-scope review, Section 2.1 of the 2012–2013 SAAH requires your LEA to make available and provide to TEA copies of all requested attendance records within 20 working days of a written request. If all requested records are not received by the Division of Financial Audits within the stated time, per Section 2.1 of the 2012–2013 SAAH, TEA will retain 100 percent of your LEA’s Foundation School Program (FSP) allotment for the undocumented attendance for the school year(s) for which records have been requested.
Maintaining Student Attendance Records
If TEA auditors determine that your LEA’s original student attendance documentation was not created at the time of the attendance it is intended to support, per Section 1.2 of the 2012–2013 SAAH, TEA will retain 100 percent of your LEA’s FSP allotment for the inappropriately documented attendance for the school year(s) for which records have been requested.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter. If you have questions about the new SAAH rules, please contact the Division of Financial Audits at (512) 463-9095.
Nora Ibáñez Hancock, EdD
Office for Grants and Fiscal Compliance