TITLE 19. EDUCATION

PART 1. TEXAS HIGHER EDUCATION COORDINATING BOARD

CHAPTER 17. RESOURCE PLANNING

SUBCHAPTER B. BOARD APPROVAL

19 TAC §17.12

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (Coordinating Board) proposes new §17.12, concerning delegation of approval for Energy Savings Performance Contracts. Prior to the passage of Senate Bill (SB) 215 (83rd Texas Legislature, Regular Session), the Coordinating Board was required to review and approve certain capital projects. SB 215 eliminated some of these requirements, but the requirement to review and approve Energy Savings Performance Contracts was unchanged. Texas Education Code (TEC) §51.927 still requires the THECB to approve these performance contracts. In July 2014, the Coordinating Board convened a negotiated rulemaking committee for capital projects and the committee made sweeping changes to the Texas Administrative Code (TAC), one of which was removing TAC Title 19, Part 1, Chapter 17, Subchapter B, §17.12 (regarding delegation of authority for approval). In order to increase efficiency and reduce administrative burden while satisfying the conditions of TEC §51.927, the Coordinating Board is proposing a rule change that provides for a delegation of approval for Energy Savings Performance Contracts. Specifically, this change will establish a methodology that stratifies projects based on two factors: project cost and term of the contract. Energy Savings Performance Contracts that are lower in cost and shorter in term may be approved by the Assistant Commissioner for Strategic Planning and Funding; medium cost and medium-term projects shall be approved by the Board’s Committee on Affordability, Accountability and Planning; and the full Board remains the final approval authority for high cost and long-term contracts. Any project that is not approved by a delegated party is immediately referred to the next higher level approval authority.

Dr. Julie Eklund, Assistant Commissioner for Strategic Planning and Funding, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, has determined that for each year of the first five years the section is in effect, there will not be any fiscal implications to state or local government as a result of enforcing or administering this change to the rules.

Dr. Julie Eklund, Assistant Commissioner for Strategic Planning and Funding, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, has determined that for each year of the first five years the section is in effect, the public benefit anticipated as a result of administering the section will be more efficient and effective administration of the energy savings performance contracts approval process. There is no effect on small businesses. There are no anticipated economic costs to persons who are required to comply with the section as proposed, but the proposal has the potential to help contain the costs of higher education. There is no impact on local employment.

Comments on the proposal may be submitted to Dr. Julie Eklund, Assistant Commissioner for Strategic Planning and Funding, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, by mail at 1200 East Anderson Lane, Austin, TX, 78752 or by email to julie.eklund@thecb.state.tx.us. Comments will be accepted for 30 days following publication of the proposal in the Texas Register.

The new section is proposed under the Texas Education Code, §51.927.

The new section affects the following Texas Education Code, §51.927.

§17.12.Delegation of Approval Authority.

(a) Assistant Commissioner. The Board authorizes the Assistant Commissioner for Strategic Planning and Funding to approve the following types of energy savings performance contracts, upon certification of authority by the proposing institution's governing board that the project meets all of the specified Board standards and statutory requirements:

(1) Less than $20 million but more than $10 million in cost and with a contract term of ten or fewer years; and

(2) $10 million or less in cost with a contract term greater than 10 years but less than 15 years

(b) Committee on Affordability, Accountability and Planning. The Board authorizes the Committee to approve the following types of energy savings performance contracts, upon certification of authority by the proposing institution's governing board that the project meets all of the specified Board standards and statutory requirements:

(1) Greater than $20 million in cost with a contract term of 15 or fewer years; and

(2) Greater than $10 million but less than or equal to $20 million in cost with a contract term of greater than ten years but less than 20 years.

(3) $10 million or less in cost with a contract term of greater than 15 years.

(c) Board. The following types of energy savings performance contracts shall be considered for approval by the Board. Contracts with a project cost of greater than $20 million and a contract term greater than 15 years.

(d) Any project that is not approved by a delegated party is immediately referred to the next higher level approval authority.

(e) The Assistant Commissioner may refer projects to the Committee for review.

(f) Decisions of the Assistant Commissioner may be appealed to the Committee. Decisions of the Committee may be appealed to the Board.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on January 30, 2017.

TRD-201700406

Bill Franz

General Counsel

Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

Earliest possible date of adoption: March 12, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 427-6104


CHAPTER 22. GRANT AND SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAMS

SUBCHAPTER B. PROVISIONS FOR THE TUITION EQUALIZATION GRANT PROGRAM

19 TAC §22.22, §22.24

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (Coordinating Board) proposes amendments to §22.22 and §22.24, concerning the Provisions for the Tuition Equalization Grant (TEG) Program. Specifically, changes to §22.22 adds the definition for "Religious ministry" to the rule. Subsequent definitions are renumbered accordingly. The amendment is made to clarify that the term "Religious ministry" applies to organized and structured roles and does not apply to informal roles performed by lay persons. Amendments to §22.24(a)(5) adds language which clarify that degree plans specifically intended to lead a student to religious ministry, as defined in §22.22, are excluded from TEG eligibility. This is in recognition of the sectarian purpose clause of the Texas Constitution (Article I, Section 7), mentioned in §61.229(b) of TEG statute.

Charles W. Puls, Ed.D., Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Student Financial Aid Programs, has determined that for each year of the first five years the section is in effect, there will be no fiscal implications to state or local government as a result of enforcing or administering the rules.

Dr. Puls has also determined that for each year of the first five years the section is in effect, the public benefit anticipated as a result of administering this section will be a clearer understanding of the requirements of the program. There is no effect on small businesses. There are no anticipated economic costs to persons who are required to comply with the section as proposed. There is no impact on local employment.

Comments on the proposal may be submitted to Charles W. Puls, Ed.D., Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Student Financial Aid Programs, P.O. Box 12788, Austin, Texas 78711, 512-427-6365, charles.puls@thecb.state.tx.us. Comments will be accepted for 30 days following publication of the proposal in the Texas Register.

The amendments are proposed under Texas Education Code §61.229, which authorizes the Coordinating Board to adopt rules to implement the Tuition Equalization Grant (TEG) Program.

The amendments affect Chapter 22, Subchapter B of the TAC, §22.22, and §22.24.

§22.22.Definitions.

The following words and terms, when used in this subchapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

(1) - (27) (No change.)

(28) "Religious ministry--Roles serving as clergy, religious leaders or similar positions within any sect or religious society, as demonstrated through ordination, licensure to preach, or other mechanisms particular to a given sect or society that are used to identify clergy, religious leaders or such similar positions."

(29) [(28)] Residency Core Questions--A set of questions developed by the Coordinating Board to be used to determine a student's eligibility for classification as a resident of Texas, available for downloading through the Coordinating Board's website and incorporated into the ApplyTexas application for admission.

(30) [(29)] Resident of Texas--A resident of the State of Texas as determined in accordance with Chapter 21, Subchapter B of this title (relating to Determination of Resident Status). Nonresident students who are eligible to pay resident tuition rates are not residents of Texas.

(31) [(30)] Subsequent award--A TEG grant received in any academic year other than the year in which an individual received his or her first TEG award.

(32) [(31)] TEG need--The basic amount of TEG funds that an eligible student could receive, subject to the limit in Texas Education Code §61.227(c).

(33) [(32)] Total TEG need--The total amount of TEG funds that eligible students at an approved institution could receive if the program were fully funded.

(34) [(33)] Tuition differential--The difference between the tuition paid at the private or independent institution attended and the tuition the student would have paid to attend a comparable public institution.

(35) [(34)] Undergraduate student--An individual who has not yet received a baccalaureate degree.

§22.24.Provisions that Apply Only to 2006 Revised TEG Program Students.

(a) Eligible Students. To receive an award through the TEG Program, a 2006 Revised TEG Program student must:

(1) - (4) (No change.)

(5) be enrolled in an approved institution in an individual degree plan leading to a first associate's degree, first baccalaureate degree, first master's degree, first professional degree, or first doctoral degree, but not in a degree plan that is intended to lead to religious ministry [leads to ordination, licensure to preach or a career in church work];

(6) - (9) (No change.)

(b) - (e) (No change.)

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on January 30, 2017.

TRD-201700407

Bill Franz

General Counsel

Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

Earliest possible date of adoption: March 12, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 427-6104


PART 2. TEXAS EDUCATION AGENCY

CHAPTER 30. ADMINISTRATION

SUBCHAPTER BB. COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION: PURCHASING AND CONTRACTS

19 TAC §30.2003

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) proposes new §30.2003, concerning auditing and monitoring performance for all contracts, including assessment instruments. The proposed new section would implement the requirements of the Texas Government Code, §2261.253, as added by Senate Bill (SB) 20, 84th Texas Legislature, 2015, and the Texas Education Code (TEC), §39.0381, as added by SB 743, 84th Texas Legislature, 2015.

SB 20, 84th Texas Legislature, 2015, added Texas Government Code, §2261.253, which requires each state agency by rule to establish a procedure to identify each contract that requires enhanced contract or performance monitoring and submit the information to the officer who governs the agency. The statute also specifies that the agency's procurement director must notify the officer who governs the agency of any serious issue or risk that is identified as requiring enhanced monitoring.

SB 743, 84th Texas Legislature, 2015, added TEC, §39.0381, which requires the TEA by rule to develop a comprehensive methodology for auditing and monitoring performance under contracts for services to develop or administer assessment instruments to verify compliance with contractual obligations. Further, the TEA must ensure that all new and renewed assessment contracts include a provision that the agency or a designee of the agency may conduct periodic contract compliance reviews, without advance notice, to monitor vendor performance.

Proposed new 19 TAC §30.2003 would implement the requirements of statute by establishing provisions for auditing and monitoring performance on all contracts awarded by the TEA, including contracts for assessment instruments. The proposed new section would specify that the TEA will conduct random reviews of contracts and that TEA staff must be granted access to certain tools related to monitoring the agency's assessment program. The proposed new section would also outline the training that will be provided to TEA staff for contract and performance monitoring. Finally, the proposed new section would address provisions for enhanced contract and performance monitoring, including the responsibilities of TEA staff.

The proposed new section would require contractors to submit supporting documentation with invoices and regular programmatic reports. In addition, for contracts identified as needing enhanced monitoring, TEA requires the contractor to provide specific programmatic information on a scheduled basis.

The proposed new section would have no locally maintained paperwork requirements.

FISCAL NOTE. Shirley Beaulieu, associate commissioner for finance / chief financial officer, has determined that for the first five-year period the new section is in effect, there will be no fiscal implications for state or local government as a result of enforcing or administering the new section. There is no effect on local economy for the first five years that the proposed new section is in effect; therefore, no local employment impact statement is required under Texas Government Code, §2001.022.

PUBLIC BENEFIT/COST NOTE. Ms. Beaulieu has determined that for each year of the first five years the new section is in effect the public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing the new section will be providing additional monitoring tools to be used by the TEA to assess the progress of contracts awarded with public funds and ensuring that contractors meet performance measures and comply with contract and service delivery requirements. There is no anticipated economic cost to persons who are required to comply with the proposed new section.

ECONOMIC IMPACT STATEMENT AND REGULATORY FLEXIBILITY ANALYSIS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES AND MICROBUSINESSES. 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.

REQUEST FOR PUBLIC COMMENT. The public comment period on the proposal begins February 10, 2017, and ends March 13, 2017. Comments on the proposal may be submitted to Cristina De La Fuente-Valadez, Rulemaking, Texas Education Agency, 1701 North Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas 78701. Comments may also be submitted electronically to rules@tea.texas.gov. A request for a public hearing on the proposal submitted under the Administrative Procedure Act must be received by the commissioner of education not more than 14 calendar days after notice of the proposal has been published in the Texas Register on February 10, 2017.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY. The new section is proposed under the Texas Government Code, §2261.253, which requires each state agency by rule to establish a procedure to identify each contract that requires enhanced contract or performance monitoring; and the Texas Education Code (TEC), §39.0381, which requires the Texas Education Agency by rule to develop a comprehensive methodology for auditing and monitoring performance under contracts for services to develop or administer assessment instruments required by TEC, §39.023, to verify compliance with contractual obligations.

CROSS REFERENCE TO STATUTE. The new section implements the Texas Government Code, §2261.253, and Texas Education Code, §39.0381.

§30.2003.Auditing and Monitoring Performance for All Contracts, Including Assessment Instruments.

(a) Auditing contracts.

(1) Texas Education Agency (TEA) staff will randomly perform desk reviews or billing reviews throughout the term of any contract awarded by the TEA.

(2) TEA staff shall be granted access to any online tools installed or in use for monitoring and reporting service levels related to the contracted work for the agency's assessment program. If monitoring tools do not exist, TEA shall place monitoring tools on the production servers and components supporting those systems related to the deliverables for the assessment program.

(b) Contract and performance monitoring. The TEA will provide contract management training to agency staff that includes:

(1) developing written contracting policies and procedures;

(2) developing contract monitoring plans and tools;

(3) communicating expectations through a detailed statement of work, performance measures, and post-award meetings;

(4) requiring supporting documentation with each invoice;

(5) communicating that payments linked to satisfactory performance are allowable, reasonable, and necessary to achieve the program objectives;

(6) requesting regular programmatic reports;

(7) requesting access to records;

(8) including a Liquidated Damages clause; and

(9) including a Right to Audit clause that complies with Texas Education Code, §39.0381, in the contract terms and conditions.

(c) Enhanced contract and performance monitoring. The following provisions apply to all contracts awarded by TEA to ensure contractors' compliance with contract and service delivery requirements.

(1) TEA staff must complete monitoring plans for high-dollar and high-risk contracts as determined by the TEA procurement director.

(2) Individual program areas within TEA will conduct day-to-day monitoring activities regarding financial and performance requirements.

(3) Higher-risk contracts are monitored more frequently and more comprehensively than lower-risk contracts as determined by the project Risk Assessment form.

(4) A contract may be identified as needing enhanced monitoring through factors such as the Risk Assessment form, needing corrective action, other factors that become known to the agency, or as determined by the TEA procurement director. For contracts identified as needing enhanced monitoring, TEA requires the contractor to provide specific programmatic information on a scheduled basis to determine if performance measures are being met.

(5) Enhanced monitoring may include site visits, meeting notes, and any other documentation requirements deemed necessary by the TEA to assess progress of the contractor toward meeting the identified goals and outcomes established in response to contract deficiencies.

(6) The TEA procurement director shall notify TEA executive staff of contracts that have been identified as needing enhanced monitoring.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on January 30, 2017.

TRD-201700408

Cristina De La Fuente-Valadez

Director, Rulemaking

Texas Education Agency

Earliest possible date of adoption: March 12, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 475-1497


CHAPTER 102. EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS

SUBCHAPTER II. COMMISSIONER'S RULES CONCERNING TEXAS HIGH PERFORMANCE SCHOOLS CONSORTIUM

19 TAC §102.1201

The Texas Education Agency proposes an amendment to §102.1201, concerning the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium. The proposed amendment would reflect changes in law made by House Bill (HB) 18, 84th Texas Legislature, 2015.

Senate Bill 1557, 82nd Texas Legislature, 2011, created the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium to inform the governor, legislature, and commissioner of education concerning methods for transforming Texas public schools through the development of innovative, next-generation learning standards, assessment, and accountability systems.

The 84th Texas Legislature, 2015, passed HB 18, adding standards and systems relating to career and college readiness as a topic the consortium is required to report. Additionally, HB 18 added the State Board of Education (SBOE) as a recipient of the report and required the school districts and open-enrollment charter schools participating in the consortium to have sole responsibility for report submission. HB 18 also clarified language relating to the accountability requirements for an open-enrollment charter school to be eligible for the consortium. Finally, HB 18 increased the number of consortium districts and charter schools the commissioner is permitted to select for participation in the consortium from 20 to 30 and the total number of students enrolled in public schools that can be from consortium participants from 5% to 10%.

The proposed amendment to 19 TAC §102.1201 would make the following changes to align with statute. The proposed amendment would add standards and systems relating to career and college readiness as a topic the consortium is required to report and would add the SBOE as a recipient of the report. The proposed amendment would specify that to be eligible to participate in the consortium, an open-enrollment charter school must receive a distinction designation rather than an exemplary accountability rating. The proposed amendment would increase the number of districts and charter schools that may participate in the consortium from 20 to 30 and increase the total number of students enrolled in public schools that can be from consortium participants from 5% to 10%. Finally, the proposed amendment would add the requirement that the consortium submit reports not later than December 1 of each even-numbered year to the governor, legislature, SBOE, and commissioner.

In addition, the following changes would be made to remove outdated information and clarify provisions related to continued participation in the consortium. The proposed amendment would remove a reference to the 2013-2014 school year and change a reference from the 2009-2010 school year to the most recent available information. The proposed amendment would clarify that a school district that has been selected to participate in the consortium is not required to reapply for participation and that a district may discontinue participation by indicating the desire to discontinue in writing to the commissioner. The proposed amendment would specify that the commissioner may replace a consortium participant at the commissioner's discretion. Finally, the proposed amendment would change the title of a subsection for clarity and make technical edits for consistency.

HB 18, 84th Texas Legislature, 2015, moved reporting responsibility from the commissioner to the members of the consortium and specified that the consortium must report to the governor, legislature, SBOE, and commissioner not later than December 1 of each even-numbered year. The proposed amendment would not change the application and selection process currently implemented.

The proposed amendment would have no locally maintained paperwork requirements.

FISCAL NOTE. Monica Martinez, associate commissioner for standards and support services, has determined that for the first five-year period the proposed amendment is in effect, there will be no fiscal implications for state or local government as a result of enforcing or administering the proposed amendment. There is no effect on local economy for the first five years that the proposed amendment is in effect; therefore, no local employment impact statement is required under Texas Government Code, §2001.022.

PUBLIC BENEFIT/COST NOTE. Ms. Martinez has determined that for each year of the first five years the proposed amendment is in effect the public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing the proposed amendment will be increasing the number of schools that are permitted to participate in the consortium and possibly increasing the number of potential methods for transforming Texas public schools that are presented for consideration. There is no anticipated economic cost to persons who are required to comply with the proposed amendment.

ECONOMIC IMPACT STATEMENT AND REGULATORY FLEXIBILITY ANALYSIS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES AND MICROBUSINESSES. 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.

REQUEST FOR PUBLIC COMMENT. The public comment period on the proposal begins February 10, 2017, and ends March 13, 2017. Comments on the proposal may be submitted to Cristina De La Fuente-Valadez, Rulemaking, Texas Education Agency, 1701 North Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas 78701. Comments may also be submitted electronically to rules@tea.texas.gov. A request for a public hearing on the proposal submitted under the Administrative Procedure Act must be received by the commissioner of education not more than 14 calendar days after notice of the proposal has been published in the Texas Register on February 10, 2017.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY. The amendment is proposed under the Texas Education Code, §7.0561, which requires the commissioner of education to create the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium for the purpose of informing the governor, legislature, State Board of Education, and commissioner of education about ways to transform public schools to improve student learning through the development of innovative, next-generation learning standards and assessment and accountability systems, including standards and systems relating to career and college readiness.

CROSS REFERENCE TO STATUTE. The amendment implements the Texas Education Code, §7.0561.

§102.1201.Texas High Performance Schools Consortium.

(a) Definitions. The following words and terms, when used in this section, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

(1) Consortium--A group of school districts selected to participate in the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium as established under the Texas Education Code (TEC), §7.0561, for the purpose of informing the governor, legislature, State Board of Education, and commissioner of education concerning methods for transforming public schools in Texas by improving student learning through the development of innovative, next-generation learning standards and assessment and accountability systems , including standards and systems relating to career and college readiness.

(2) Consortium principles--The following four principles shall be addressed by the consortium as mandated by the TEC, §7.0561:

(A) digital learning--engagement of students in digital learning, including, but not limited to, engagement through the use of electronic textbooks and instructional materials adopted under the TEC, Chapter 31, Subchapters B and B-1, and courses offered through the state virtual school network under the TEC, Subchapter 30A;

(B) learning standards--emphasis on learning standards that focus on high-priority learning standards identified in coordination with school districts and open-enrollment charter schools participating in the consortium;

(C) multiple assessments--use of multiple assessments of learning capable of being used to inform students, parents, school districts, and open-enrollment charter schools on an ongoing basis concerning the extent to which learning is occurring and the actions consortium participants are taking to improve learning; and

(D) local control--reliance on local control that enables communities and parents to be involved in the important decisions regarding the education of their children.

(3) Curricular goal--A measurable learning outcome expected as a result of student participation in instruction covering a specific portion of the curriculum.

(4) High-priority learning standards--Learning standards that are manageable in number and of high importance in student learning such as those that have been identified by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) as "readiness standards." Additional high-priority learning standards will be identified [no earlier than the 2013-2014 school year] in coordination with school districts and open-enrollment charter schools participating in the consortium.

(5) Learning standards--Standards that a student must master to be successful in a competitive, postsecondary environment, including standards approved by the State Board of Education as part of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills.

(6) School district--For the purposes of this section, the definition of school district includes an open-enrollment charter school unless otherwise specified.

(b) Eligibility. To be eligible to apply for participation in the consortium, the following criteria must be met, as applicable.

(1) A school district and its participating campus(es) must not have been awarded the lowest performance rating as its most recent state academic accountability rating under §97.1001 of this title (relating to Accountability Rating System).

(2) Either a school district or its participating campus(es) must have received either national, statewide, or regional public acknowledgment [,] from an organization relying on expertise in the field of education [,] for district-wide or campus-wide excellence in academic performance or innovative practices in one of the areas described by the consortium principles in subsection (a)(2) of this section.

(3) In accordance with the TEC, §7.0561(c), an open-enrollment charter school must have been awarded a distinction designation with [an exemplary rating as] its most recent state academic accountability rating under §97.1001 of this title.

(4) A school district and an open-enrollment charter school must be in compliance with the TEA audit requirements determined under §109.41 of this title (relating to Financial Accountability System Resource Guide).

(5) A school district and an open-enrollment charter school must [shall] also meet other criteria determined by the commissioner and specified in the request for application (RFA).

(c) Initial application and participation [Application].

(1) An eligible school district must apply through the RFA process to be considered as a participant in the consortium.

(2) An eligible school district must submit an application fee not to exceed $500 to cover the costs of the application review process.

(3) In the application, a school district must:

(A) identify the individual who will serve as the school district's coordinator for consortium activities and point of contact for participation in the consortium;

(B) designate which campus or campuses will participate in the consortium;

(C) provide a detailed action plan to support improved instruction of and learning by students that includes the following features:

(i) a description of how the school district and its campuses currently are addressing or plan to address the four consortium principles specified in subsection (a)(2) of this section;

(ii) a detailed description of the curricular goals to be addressed in the action plan;

(iii) a description of how resources will be acquired to support teachers in improving student learning;

(iv) an analysis of evidence that demonstrates the accuracy of any assessment(s) used or planned to be used in the school district to measure the quality of learning, including the methodology and metrics employed; and

(v) a description of any waiver(s) for a prohibition, requirement, or restriction for which the school district wishes to apply;

(D) provide evidence that school district stakeholders, including parents, teachers, students, and community members, have participated in the development and/or review and approval of the action plan;

(E) provide evidence that the application and action plan have been considered and approved by the school district's board of trustees;

(F) include assurances that the school district and its board of trustees will conform to the policies and procedures governing the operation of the consortium, as established by the commissioner, addressing such issues as attendance, reporting, financial support, and mentoring; and

(G) meet any additional requirements specified in the RFA.

(4) A school district that has been selected to participate in the consortium is not required to reapply for participation. A school district may discontinue participation by indicating in writing to the commissioner its desire to discontinue participation.

(5) The commissioner may replace a consortium participant at the commissioner's discretion.

(d) Criteria and methodology for selecting participants in the consortium.

(1) Applications will be selected based on quality of the application and the extent to which the district's participation ensures representation in the following categories in compliance with the TEC, §7.0561(c).

(A) Type. Using the most recent available definitions of type as set forth in the TEA's District Type Data [for 2009-10] , the commissioner shall select at least one district in each of the following categories:

(i) urban, as represented by categories titled Major Urban and Other Central City;

(ii) suburban, as represented by categories titled Major Suburban and Other Central City Suburban;

(iii) non-metropolitan, as represented by categories titled Independent Town, Non-Metropolitan: Fast-Growing, Non-Metropolitan: Stable; and

(iv) rural, as represented by the category titled Rural.

(B) Size. Using student enrollment figures reported to the TEA for the previous school year, the commissioner shall select at least one district in each of the following categories:

(i) large district: district with a student population of 10,000 or more students;

(ii) mid-size district: district with a student population between 1,000 and 9,999; and

(iii) small district: district with a student population of 999 or fewer.

(C) Student demographics. Using the most recent available data in the TEA's Texas Student Data System Public Education Information Management System, the commissioner shall select districts whose student demographics, when aggregated with other consortium participants, will result in a diverse student population that is representative of the state's overall public school student population in the following categories:

(i) ethnicity and race;

(ii) economically disadvantaged;

(iii) English language learners;

(iv) students identified to receive special education services; and

(v) students identified as gifted and talented.

(2) In selecting school districts, the commissioner shall ensure, in accordance with the TEC, §7.0561(d), that the aggregate number of students enrolled in campuses participating in the consortium does not exceed 10% [5.0%] of the total number of students enrolled in Texas public schools based on student enrollment figures reported to the TEA for the previous school year. In order to ensure compliance with this statutory requirement:

(A) a school district may designate in its application the entire district or only one or more campus(es) to participate in the consortium; and

(B) the commissioner may require a school district to reduce the number of campuses designated in its [the school district's] application as a condition for participation in the consortium.

(3) The commissioner may select no more than 30 [20] school districts to participate in the consortium.

(e) Notification. The TEA will notify each applicant in writing of its selection or non-selection for participation in the consortium.

(f) Financing of consortium.

(1) For the purpose of implementing this section, the commissioner or a school district participating in the consortium may accept gifts, grants, or donations from any source, including a private entity or governmental entity.

(2) To recover TEA costs, the commissioner may charge a participation fee of at least $2,500 annually and not to exceed $10,000 annually to each school district selected to participate in the consortium. The commissioner may adjust the fee proportionate to the number of campuses the district has designated to participate in the consortium. Each school district's participation fee shall be reduced by the application fee amount paid in accordance with subsection (c)(2) of this section.

(g) Reporting by consortium. The school districts participating in the consortium must submit reports concerning the performance and progress of the consortium not later than December 1 of each even-numbered year to the:

(1) governor;

(2) legislature;

(3) State Board of Education; and

(4) commissioner of education.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency's legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on January 30, 2017.

TRD-201700409

Christina De La Fuente-Valadez

Director, Rulemaking

Texas Education Agency

Earliest possible date of adoption: March 12, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 475-1497