Adopted New 19 TAC Chapter 61, School Districts, Subchapter CC, Commissioner's Rules Concerning School Facilities, §61.1037, Science Laboratory Grant Program
I. Statutory Citations (PDF)
II. Text of Adopted New 19 TAC Chapter 61, School Districts, Subchapter CC, Commissioner's Rules Concerning School Facilities, §61.1037, Science Laboratory Grant Program (PDF)
The rule action presented in this item will be filed as adopted with the Texas Register under the commissioner's rulemaking authority. This item adopts new 19 TAC Chapter 61, School Districts, Subchapter CC, Commissioner's Rules Concerning School Facilities, §61.1037, Science Laboratory Grant Program. The adopted new rule implements the requirements of the Texas Education Code (TEC), §7.062, as added by House Bill 2237, 80th Texas Legislature, 2007, which charge the commissioner with adopting rules necessary to implement the Science Laboratory Grant Program. No changes have been made to the rule since published as proposed.
July 6, 2008.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND SIGNIFICANT ISSUES:
House Bill 2237, 80th Texas Legislature, 2007, added §7.062 to the Texas Education Code. This section requires the commissioner by rule to establish procedures and adopt guidelines for the administration of the Science Laboratory Grant Program. The program is to provide competitive grants to school districts for the purpose of constructing or renovating high school science laboratories. To be eligible for a grant, a school district must demonstrate that the existing district science laboratories are insufficient in number to comply with the curriculum requirements imposed for the recommended and advanced high school programs. The statute requires the commissioner to provide for ranking school districts that apply for grants on the basis of wealth per student and giving priority in the award of grants to districts with low wealth per student.
The adopted new 19 TAC §61.1037, Science Laboratory Grant Program, implements the TEC, §7.062, by providing applicable definitions, establishing the application process, and describing prioritization and notice of award. The adopted new rule also specifies details relating to data sources, payments, determination of need, eligible projects, deadlines and accountability, and required reports.
No changes have been made to the rule since published as proposed.
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has determined that there are no additional costs to persons or entities required to comply with the adopted rule action. The administration of the adopted rule action does not have any costs beyond what the authorizing statute requires. The TEC, §7.062, allows for the funding of the Science Laboratory Grant Program only if there are surplus funds available from those appropriated for the Instructional Facilities Allotment and Existing Debt Allotment programs for the fiscal year, not to exceed $20 million. 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 rule will result in the building and renovation of more high school science laboratories, which will result in more students having access to such laboratories.
PROCEDURAL AND REPORTING IMPLICATIONS:
A school district must complete an application requesting funding under the Science Laboratory Grant Program. The application must contain a description of each high school campus for which funds are being requested, the campus's enrollment, the number of science laboratories on the campus, a certification that the existing laboratories are insufficient to comply with curriculum requirements, the number of laboratories to be constructed or renovated, and a timeline for the proposed construction or renovation projects.
LOCALLY MAINTAINED PAPERWORK REQUIREMENTS:
A school district that participates in the Science Laboratory Grant Program must maintain contracting and financial records related to the construction project(s) for which it receives a grant so that the district can provide these records to the TEA on completion of the project(s).
The public comment period on the proposal began April 18, 2008, and ended May 18, 2008. No public comments were received.
OTHER COMMENTS AND RELATED ISSUES:
Staff Members Responsible:
Adam Jones, Deputy Commissioner, Finance and Administration
Shirley Beaulieu, Associate Commissioner, Finance / CFO
Lisa Dawn-Fisher, Deputy Associate Commissioner, School Finance
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