Adopted Amendment to 19 TAC Chapter 129, Student Attendance, Subchapter AA, Commissioner's Rules, §129.1025, Adoption by Reference: Student Attendance Accounting Handbook
I. Statutory Citations (PDF)
II. Text of Adopted Amendment to 19 TAC Chapter 129, Student Attendance, Subchapter AA, Commissioner's Rules, §129.1025, Adoption By Reference: Student Attendance Accounting Handbook (PDF)
III. Summary of Public Comments and Agency Responses
The rule action presented in this item will be filed as adopted with the Texas Register under the commissioner's rulemaking authority. The adopted amendment to 19 TAC Chapter 129, Student Attendance, Subchapter AA, Commissioner's Rules, §129.1025, Adoption by Reference: Student Attendance Accounting Handbook, adopts by reference the 2008-2009 Student Attendance Accounting Handbook Version 2. The handbook provides student attendance accounting rules for school districts and charter schools. No changes were made to the rule or handbook since published as proposed.
Texas Education Code (TEC), §42.004, and 19 Texas Administrative Code §129.21.
March 5, 2009.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND SIGNIFICANT ISSUES:
Legal counsel with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) has recommended that the procedures contained in each annual student attendance accounting handbook be adopted as part of the Texas Administrative Code. This decision was made in 2000 as a result of a court decision challenging state agency decision making via administrative letters and publications. Given the statewide application of the attendance accounting rules and the existence of sufficient statutory authority for the commissioner of education to adopt by reference the student attendance accounting handbook, staff proceeded with formal adoption of rules in this area. The intention is to annually update the rule to refer to the most recently published student attendance accounting handbook.
Each annual student attendance accounting handbook provides school districts and charter schools with the Foundation School Program (FSP) eligibility requirements of all students, prescribes the minimum requirements of all student attendance accounting systems, lists the documentation requirements for attendance audit purposes, specifies the minimum standards for systems that are entirely functional without the use of paper, and details the responsibilities of all district personnel involved in student attendance accounting. The TEA distributes FSP resources under the procedures specified in each current student attendance accounting handbook. The final version of the student attendance accounting handbook is published on the TEA website each June or July. A supplement, if necessary, is also published on the TEA website.
The adopted amendment to 19 TAC §129.1025 adopts by reference the 2008-2009 Student Attendance Accounting Handbook Version 2. Policy decisions related to dual credit programs and state funding that were made after publication of the first version of the student attendance accounting handbook for the 2008-2009 school year necessitated publication of a second version. Data from previous school years will continue to be subject to the student attendance accounting handbook as the handbook existed in those years.
Significant changes to the 2008-2009 Student Attendance Accounting Handbook Version 2 from the 2007-2008 Student Attendance Accounting Handbook include revisions relating to the following sections.
Information on new average daily attendance (ADA) eligibility codes 7 and 8 was added.
A clarification of how student attendance affects student funding eligibility was added.
Information was added explaining that student records must be requested, sent, and received using the Texas Student Records Electronic Exchange system.
Information was added explaining that the requirement that a student be counted absent if not present at the designated district attendance-taking time or if not with a responsible campus official at that time does not apply to students participating in certain alternative attendance programs, such as the Optional Flexible School Day Program.
A sentence was added stating explicitly that if a student is not actually on campus at the time attendance is taken because the student is enrolled in and attending an off-campus dual credit course, then the student may be considered in attendance for FSP purposes.
A clarification was made that the policy of allowing a student who had an excused absence to make up missed school work applies to all excused absences, not only absences to sound "Taps" at a military honors funeral held in Texas for a deceased veteran.
Information was added clarifying in which situations a student who participates in early graduation ceremonies is eligible to generate ADA.
A subsection was added explaining that the TEA does not provide state funding for summer school programs and that, in general, if a student is in membership for additional days beyond the 180 days that make up the state funding year, the excess attendance will not generate state funding.
Language was added to state explicitly that a school district has flexibility in setting the ending date of its school calendar.
Sections 3 and 4
The requirement that a homebound student must be expected to be confined at home or hospital bedside for four consecutive weeks was modified. The four weeks no longer need to be consecutive.
Sections 3 and 11
A clarification of the policies related to student participation in dual credit programs as that participation relates to state funding was added. For the 2008-2009 school year, school districts may count the time that students spend in dual credit courses for state funding purposes even if students are required to pay tuition, fees, or textbook costs for these courses.
Information on "least restrictive environment" requirements was added.
Information was added explaining that, if a student's parent has denied bilingual/English as a second language (ESL) services and the only summer school program available is a bilingual/ESL program, then the student is not eligible to generate funding by participating in the program.
Charts were added showing the criteria for transferring a limited English proficient (LEP) student out of the bilingual/ESL program and for transferring a LEP student who is receiving special education services out of the bilingual/ESL program.
An explanation was added that any student who is automatically eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is eligible for free prekindergarten and that any student who is eligible for and participating in Head Start is automatically eligible for the NSLP.
An explanation was added of the documentation required to show that a student is eligible for free prekindergarten based on the student's having ever been in the conservatorship of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) (i.e., in foster care) following an adversary hearing. Also, a clarification was made that students who have been adopted or returned to their parents after having been in DFPS conservatorship are eligible for free prekindergarten.
Information was added regarding the criteria under which a student may be placed in a juvenile justice alternative education program (JJAEP) and regarding students who have not been expelled but have been assigned to a JJAEP by a court. Also, a clarification was added that a JJAEP is not eligible to receive FSP funding and does not report student attendance to the TEA. The school district in which a student is enrolled immediately preceding the student's placement in a JJAEP is responsible for determining the student's ADA eligibility code.
A subsection was added on students from outside a district who are being served in detention or other facilities making short-term residential placements.
A subsection was added on how to report dual credit attendance in the Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) when a higher education institution's calendar is shorter than the school district calendar.
The subsections on the Optional Flexible School Day Program and the High School Equivalency Program were expanded. New subsections on the Optional Flexible Year Program, the Electronic Course Pilot, and the Texas Virtual School Network were added.
No changes were made to the rule or handbook since published as proposed.
The TEA has determined that there are no additional costs to persons or entities required to comply with the proposed rule action. 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 amendment to 19 TAC Chapter 129, Student Attendance, Subchapter AA, Commissioner's Rules, §129.1025, Adoption By Reference: Student Attendance Accounting Handbook, provides public notice of the existence of the current publications specifying attendance accounting procedures for school districts and charter schools.
PROCEDURAL AND REPORTING IMPLICATIONS:
The rule places the specific procedures contained in the 2008-2009 Student Attendance Accounting Handbook Version 2 in the Texas Administrative Code. The TEA distributes FSP funds in accordance with the procedures specified in each annual student attendance accounting handbook. Data reporting requirements are addressed through the PEIMS.
LOCALLY MAINTAINED PAPERWORK REQUIREMENTS:
None. The adopted amendment does not require any additional locally maintained paperwork not already required.
The public comment period on the rule action began November 14, 2008, and ended December 15, 2008. A summary of public comments received and corresponding agency responses regarding the proposed amendment to 19 TAC Chapter 129, Student Attendance, Subchapter AA, Commissioner's Rules, §129.1025, Adoption By Reference: Student Attendance Accounting Handbook, can be found in Attachment III.
OTHER COMMENTS AND RELATED ISSUES:
Staff Members Responsible:
Shirley Beaulieu, Associate Commissioner, Finance / Chief Financial Officer
Lisa Dawn-Fisher, Deputy Associate Commissioner, School Finance
Belinda Dyer, Director, Forecasting and Fiscal Analysis
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