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)
The rule action presented in this item was 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 2011-2012 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), §30A.153, as added by Senate Bill (SB) 1, 82nd Texas Legislature, First Called Session, 2011; TEC, §42.004; and 19 TAC §129.21.
March 20, 2012.
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. Data from previous school years will continue to be subject to the student attendance accounting handbook as the handbook existed in those years.
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 July or August. A supplement, if necessary, is also published on the TEA website.
The adopted amendment to 19 TAC §129.1025 adopts by reference the student attendance accounting handbook for the 2011-2012 school year. The release of a second version of the handbook, 2011-2012 Student Attendance Accounting Handbook Version 2, was necessary to incorporate newly developed attendance accounting provisions related to the Texas Virtual School Network (TxVSN), required by the TEC, §30A.153, as added by SB 1, 82nd Texas Legislature, First Called Session, 2011. Significant changes to the 2011-2012 Student Attendance Accounting Handbook Version 2 from the 2010-2011 Student Attendance Accounting Handbook Version 2 include the following.
Throughout the handbook
General references to the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills have been changed to be references to required state assessments.
An erroneous statement that FSP attendance reports must be made a part of a school's permanent records has been corrected to state that information for all FSP attendance reports must be available for audit purposes for five years from the completion of the school year.
The amount of FSP funding the TEA may retain for failure to provide attendance records requested as part of an audit has been changed from 30 percent of the district's FSP allotment for the school year for which records were requested to 100 percent of the district's FSP allotment for the undocumented attendance for the school year for which records were requested.
In addition, technical edits have been made to provide clarity and remove redundant language.
A subsection on whether time spent in a repeated course qualifies as instructional time has been added.
Requirements related to counting time spent in self-paced courses as instructional time have been added.
In the subsection related to enrollment procedures and requirements, a correction has been made to change a reference to 10 calendar days to be a reference to 10 working days. A clarification of what constitutes a working day has been added.
Enrollment procedures and requirements have been updated and revised.
Information on students' auditing classes has been revised to prohibit a school district or charter school from allowing a student to audit classes without being enrolled in the district or school.
In the subsection related to withdrawal procedures, a correction has been made to change a reference to 10 days to be a reference to 10 working days. A clarification of what constitutes a working day has been added.
Information related to compulsory attendance has been updated to reflect statutory changes.
The agency's policy on adoption of alternate attendance-taking times has been clarified, and information on when local policies on alternate attendance-taking times may be adopted has been added.
Information on absences related to participation in dual credit courses and the TxVSN has been added.
An explanation that school districts are responsible for determining what constitutes a religious holy day for purposes of excusing absences for FSP purposes has been added. Guidance on determining what constitutes a religious holy day has been added.
Clarification has been added that, for an appointment with a health care professional to be excused for FSP purposes, the health care professional must be licensed to practice in the United States.
An explanation that school districts must keep documentation related to any absence excused for FSP purposes has been added.
Clarification of the agency's policy on makeup days and missed instructional day waivers has been made. A table with information on what actions to take in situations related to school closure for issues of health or safety has been added.
Data submission dates have been updated.
Information on the instructional arrangement/setting code to use for certain special education students receiving services in childcare facilities has been revised.
Information on the qualifications teachers providing special education homebound services must have has been clarified.
Information in the subsections related to special education homebound services and Pregnancy Related Services has been replaced with a note to see the applicable subsection of newly updated Section 9.
The description of the number of career and technical education (CTE) programs of study that a district must offer to be eligible for CTE contact hour funding has been changed to specify that a district must offer at least one program of study in at least three different clusters, instead of at least three programs of study in at least three different clusters.
Information on the CTE state allotment has been updated to state that districts must spend their allotment funding in accordance with 19 TAC §105.11, Maximum Allowable Indirect Cost.
Section 5 has been reorganized so that all the information on Career Preparation courses appears in one subsection.
Information on CTE Career Preparation and Practicum courses has been revised.
The subsection on the effective date of withdrawal from a bilingual or English as a second language (ESL) education program has been revised for clarity.
The chart containing bilingual or ESL education program exit criteria has been updated.
Information on evaluation of a student who has been transferred out of the bilingual or ESL education program has been clarified.
Information on the eligibility of a bilingual or ESL education program for funding has been updated.
Information on teacher certification requirements for bilingual and ESL education programs has been clarified.
Information on documentation related to Language Proficiency and Assessment Committee recommendations and parental approval requirements has been revised.
Information on which districts must offer prekindergarten (PK) has been moved from the end of Section 7 to the beginning of the section.
One of the definitions of "homeless" for PK eligibility purposes has been updated to reflect statutory changes.
A statement about where to find more information about the new PK program type codes has been added.
Information on the PK Early Start Grant Program has been updated to reflect that the program will not be funded for the 2011-2012 school year.
Provisions related to length of eligibility for break-in-service Compensatory Education Homebound Instruction have been revised.
Pregnancy Related Services (PRS) documentation requirements have been revised.
Provisions related to PRS and returning to campus during periods of confinement have been revised.
Provisions related to PRS and special education services have been revised.
In addition, technical edits have been made to provide clarity and remove redundant language.
Descriptions of at-risk student populations have been revised to reflect statutory language.
Information on Alternative Education Campuses of Choice and residential facilities evaluated under alternative education accountability procedures has been revised to reflect changes to the accountability system.
Information on disciplinary alternative education programs, expulsion, and juvenile justice alternative education programs has been updated to reflect statutory changes.
Information on disciplinary removals of students with disabilities has been updated and consolidated into one section.
Information on out-of-school suspension has been updated to reflect statutory changes.
The chart showing minimum passing standards to demonstrate college readiness has been updated. Text that described requirements shown in the updated chart has been deleted.
Information about whether time spent in developmental courses is considered instructional time for FSP purposes has been clarified.
Information on the Optional Extended Year Program has been updated to reflect that the program will not be funded for the 2011-2012 school year.
Clarification has been made that a student's attendance program may be changed from the regular program to the Optional Flexible School Day Program (OFSDP) in the middle of a six-week reporting period if the change is a result of the student's initial enrollment in the OFSDP.
Information on adopting an OFSDP withdrawal policy has been added.
An explanation has been added that an Optional Flexible Year Program (OFYP) day may not be scheduled on a day that falls before the fourth Monday in August, unless the entity operating the OFYP is a charter school, and may not be scheduled on a planned makeup day.
Clarification on recording attendance for OFYP students has been added, as has additional information on administering an OFYP.
The section on the TxVSN has been updated to reflect statutory changes and to include newly developed attendance accounting provisions.
Information on Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children provisions related to excused absences has been added.
Glossary definitions have been updated, and obsolete definitions have been deleted.
No changes were made to the rule or handbook since published as proposed.
The TEA has determined that there are no fiscal implications to persons or entities required to comply with the 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 §129.1025 continues to inform the public of the existence of annual publications specifying attendance accounting procedures for school districts and charter schools.
PROCEDURAL AND REPORTING IMPLICATIONS:
The adopted amendment places the specific procedures contained in the 2011-2012 Student Attendance Accounting Handbook Version 2 in the Texas Administrative Code. The TEA distributes FSP funds according to the procedures specified in each annual student attendance accounting handbook. Data reporting requirements are addressed through the Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS).
LOCALLY MAINTAINED PAPERWORK REQUIREMENTS:
The handbook has long stated that school districts and open-enrollment charter schools must keep all student attendance documentation for five years from the end of the school year. Any new student attendance documentation required to be kept corresponds with the student attendance accounting requirement changes described previously.
The public comment period on the proposal began December 23, 2011, and ended January 23, 2012. Following is a summary of the public comments received and the corresponding agency responses.
Comment: A staff member at the Region 5 Education Service Center suggested that the agency clarify information in Section 7 related to students who are served through the special education and prekindergarten programs but are ineligible for prekindergarten. The commenter suggested that the information specify the grade level to use when reporting such students using the PEIMS.
Agency Response: The agency agrees but has determined that the clarification does not warrant republishing the handbook this school year. The agency plans to make the suggested clarification in next school year's handbook.
Comment: An administrator at Houston Independent School District (HISD) commented that the handbook's new TxVSN eligibility requirements for students in TxVSN Online Schools (formerly Electronic Course Programs [eCPs]) should be changed.
Specifically, the commenter asked that the requirement that a student have been enrolled in a Texas public school the preceding year (if the student is not eligible under military or substitute care eligibility requirements) be changed to not be effective for the 2011-2012 school year.
The commenter also asked that the student eligibility requirements related to military dependents, as they apply to TxVSN Online Schools, be changed to require that a student have been previously enrolled in any of Grades 3-11 in Texas instead of that a student have been previously enrolled in high school in Texas.
The commenter stated that the TEC, §30A.006, allows the commissioner by rule to modify statutory provisions to allow for the transition of a former eCP that had been operating under previously existing statute to operate under current statute.
In addition, the commenter asked to have the terms of participation for the Texas Connections Academy at Houston changed accordingly.
Agency Response: The agency disagrees that the handbook's requirements need to be changed. The eligibility requirements are based on those in statute, and the requirements already include modifications for programs previously operated as eCPs.
However, the agency has addressed part of the commenter's concerns through issuance of a temporary, one-time exemption from one of the eligibility requirements for students already enrolled in TxVSN Online Schools for the 2011-2012 school year. Specific information about the exemption has been included in letters sent to the affected local education agencies, including HISD.
The commenter's request to have the terms of participation for the Texas Connections Academy at Houston changed addresses an issue outside the scope of the current rule proposal.
OTHER COMMENTS AND RELATED ISSUES:
Staff Members Responsible:
Lisa Dawn-Fisher, Chief School Finance Officer, School Finance
Belinda Dyer, Division Manager, School Finance
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