Adopted Amendment to 19 TAC Chapter 97, Planning and Accountability, Subchapter EE, Accreditation Status, Standards, and Sanctions, §97.1072, Residential Facility Monitoring; Determinations, Investigations, and Sanctions
I. Statutory Citations (PDF)
II. Text of Adopted Amendment to 19 TAC Chapter 97, Planning and Accountability, Subchapter EE, Accreditation Status, Standards, and Sanctions, §97.1072, Residential Facility Monitoring; Determinations, Investigations, and Sanctions (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 an amendment to 19 TAC Chapter 97, Planning and Accountability, Subchapter EE, Accreditation Status, Standards, and Sanctions, §97.1072, Residential Facility Monitoring; Determinations, Investigations, and Sanctions. The amended rule implements the requirements of the Texas Education Code (TEC), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA 2004) Amendments of 2004, and 34 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), which require the agency to adopt and implement a comprehensive system for monitoring school district compliance with federal and state laws relating to special education. The adoption revises procedures for the administration of residential facility (RF) monitoring for public school districts and open-enrollment charter schools related to programs provided to students with disabilities residing in RFs. Specifically, the rule action adopts revisions to the Residential Facility Monitoring (RFM) Manual, dated August 2011, which describe updated methods and strategies for implementing the RF monitoring system. No changes were made to the rule or manual since published as proposed.
TEC, §29.010, and 34 CFR §300.149 and §300.600.
August 2, 2011.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND SIGNIFICANT ISSUES:
On April 15, 2004, the United States District Court issued a decision in the Angel G. v. Texas Education Agency lawsuit and found that the Texas Education Agency (TEA) must develop a new monitoring system to ensure that students with disabilities residing in RFs received a free, appropriate public education (FAPE). On May 17, 2004, the TEA filed a Notice of Appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. During the pendency of the appeal, the parties agreed to the entry of a consent decree to resolve the disputes and to achieve a common goal of developing and implementing an effective monitoring system. The consent decree was filed with the District Court on August 8, 2005, and automatically expired on December 31, 2010, given that neither party requested that the District Court extend the term of the consent decree. During the term of the consent decree, the TEA developed and implemented the monitoring system required under the decree.
Although the Angel G. consent decree expired on December 31, 2010, the TEA identified an ongoing need to oversee and monitor the programs provided to students with disabilities who reside in RFs. Therefore, in December 2010, the commissioner adopted in rule a system of RF monitoring to be implemented after the expiration of the consent decree. Adopted new 19 TAC §97.1072, Residential Facility Monitoring; Determinations, Investigations, and Sanctions, established a residential facility monitoring (RFM) system through which the TEA would meet its federal and state special education monitoring obligations for the RF population.
The agency implemented the newly adopted RF monitoring rule throughout the 2010-2011 school year but, through this rule adoption, revises the RFM system in response to identified needs and feedback from RFM stakeholders, including representatives of school districts, charter schools, education service centers, and advocacy organizations. Specifically, the adopted amendment to 19 TAC §97.1072 amends the rule to adopt the RFM Manual, dated August 2011, describing graduated monitoring activities and related interventions and/or sanctions, including specific criteria, standards, and procedures for implementation. The RFM system continues to evolve from the compliance-based, on-site RFM model prescribed under the consent decree to a system that allows for a continuum of intervention activities, including local reviews, desk analyses, and on-site visits, based on the results of agency data analyses. The revisions more closely align the RFM system with other monitoring systems implemented by the agency and allow for an expanded focus on program effectiveness and continuous improvement.
The rule adoption also establishes that the specific criteria, standards, and procedures used in the RFM manual adopted for use prior to 2011 remain in effect for all purposes with respect to the applicable period of adoption.
No changes were made to the rule or manual since published as proposed.
The TEA has determined that there are no additional costs to persons or entities required to comply with the rule action. The rule action modifies and continues a monitoring system that initially was implemented under the terms of the Angel G. consent decree and modified in 2010-2011 under the terms of the commissioner's rule adoption. The RFM system is required to continue to ensure compliance with state and federal special education laws. The rule action assigns no additional fiscal burden beyond what already is imposed by law or the previous consent decree or rule adoption.
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 action provides for updated standards and procedures for monitoring the special education programs provided to students with disabilities residing in RFs. In addition, the rule action continues to provide for the implementation of sanctions and interventions to improve district performance and compliance with federal and state special education requirements for a unique and vulnerable population of students who often have limited access to family members who can advocate for their educational needs.
PROCEDURAL AND REPORTING IMPLICATIONS:
Consistent with current procedures, districts subject to the RFM system have a continuing obligation to submit data regarding RF students with disabilities to the TEA. The rule adoption also implements graduated stages of intervention, some of which involve local data analysis, desk reviews, and improvement and corrective action planning, the results of which may be required to be submitted to the TEA. Districts and campuses have continued reporting obligations related to required interventions and sanctions under this action. However, the TEA will continue to seek to reduce, to the extent possible, the data reporting obligations previously associated with the requirements of the consent decree.
LOCALLY MAINTAINED PAPERWORK REQUIREMENTS:
The adopted rule action has no new locally maintained paperwork requirements. Districts will continue to be required to maintain documentation related to completion of required RFM intervention activities and/or implementation of any required RFM sanctions.
The public comment period on the proposal began June 3, 2011, and ended July 5, 2011. No public comments were received.
OTHER COMMENTS AND RELATED ISSUES:
Staff Members Responsible:
Laura Taylor, Associate Commissioner, Accreditation
Karen Batchelor, Deputy Associate Commissioner, Program Monitoring and Interventions
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