TITLE 19. EDUCATION

PART 2. TEXAS EDUCATION AGENCY

CHAPTER 102. EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS

SUBCHAPTER GG. COMMISSIONER'S RULES CONCERNING COLLEGE AND CAREER READINESS SCHOOL MODELS

19 TAC §102.1095

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) proposes new §102.1095, concerning college and career readiness school models. The proposed new rule would establish a grant program and designation process for the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) program established by Senate Bill (SB) 22, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017.

SB 22, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017, established the P-TECH program to provide students with opportunities for work-based education programs and to earn associate degrees and work credentials. SB 22 requires the commissioner to adopt rules as necessary to administer the P-TECH program, including rules to ensure that a student participating in the program is not considered for accountability purposes to have dropped out of high school or failed to complete the curriculum requirements for high school graduation until after the sixth anniversary of the date of the student's first day in high school.

In addition, SB 22 outlines requirements for articulation agreements with institutions of higher education to implement work-based education programs that lead to degrees or certificates and memoranda of understanding with regional industry or business partners to give students who receive work-based training or education from the partner under the P-TECH program priority in interviewing for any jobs for which the student is qualified that are available on the student's completion of the program.

SB 22 also establishes the basic requirements of a P-TECH program, specifies that the program must be provided at no cost to participating students, and creates an advisory council to provide recommendations to the commissioner on the establishment and administration of the P-TECH program and the criteria for a campus's designation as a P-TECH school. Finally, SB 22 specifies that a student in the P-TECH program is entitled to the benefits of the Foundation School Program in proportion to the amount of time spent by the student on high school courses while completing the course of study established by the applicable articulation agreement or memorandum of understanding.

Proposed new §102.1095 would implement the requirements of SB 22 by establishing the basic requirements for designation of a P-TECH and providing for a grant program for school districts wanting to establish one or more P-TECH campuses. The agency anticipates addressing further requirements of SB 22 in future rulemaking.

The proposed new rule would require school districts to submit an annual designation application to TEA for each campus it requests to designate as a P-TECH. Additionally, a proposed P-TECH may be required to submit data to determine if the campus meets the designation requirements.

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

FISCAL NOTE. Lily Laux, executive director for school programs, has determined that for the first five-year period the new section is in effect, there will be no fiscal implications for state government as a result of enforcing or administering the new section. There will be fiscal implications for school districts that choose to participate in the P-TECH program, but not beyond what is required by the authorizing statute. TEC, §29.553, requires the P-TECH program to be provided at no cost to participating students. Participating school districts would incur all startup and ongoing costs.

P-TECHs may receive direct funding if selected for a grant to help offset the cost. Approximately $1.9 million in each year of fiscal year (FY) 2018 and FY 2019 will be available for startup and implementation costs for a limited number of P-TECHs. Costs for the program will vary depending on the program of study the campus elects to offer. Particular programs of study may have significant equipment and materials costs. In addition, TEA will be awarding approximately $1 million in funds to a technical assistance provider to assist campuses interested in opening a P-TECH. Technical assistance will include leadership coaching and support, planning assistance, assistance in establishing a work-based education program, and professional development for teachers and administrators.

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. The proposed new section does not impose a cost on regulated persons and, therefore, is not subject to Texas Government Code, §2001.0045.

PUBLIC BENEFIT/COST NOTE. Ms. Laux 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 clarity regarding the granting and designation process and requirements for a campus to be designated as a P-TECH. 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, MICROBUSINESSES, AND RURAL COMMUNITIES. There is no direct adverse economic impact for small businesses, microbusinesses, and rural communities; 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 November 10, 2017, and ends December 11, 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 November 10, 2017.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY. The new section is proposed under the Texas Education Code (TEC), §29.551, which establishes definitions related to the P-TECH program; TEC, §29.552, which specifies the formation of the P-TECH advisory council, including the members who must compose the council, and the functions of the council; TEC, §29.553, which requires the commissioner to establish and administer the P-TECH program and specifies certain requirements of the program; TEC, §29.556, which requires the commissioner to establish criteria for a campus's designation as a P-TECH school and participation in the P-TECH grant program; and TEC, §29.557, which requires the commissioner to adopt rules as necessary to administer the P-TECH program, including rules to ensure a student participating in the program is not considered for accountability purposes to have dropped out of high school or failed to complete the curriculum requirements for high school graduation until after the sixth anniversary of the date of the student's first day in high school.

CROSS REFERENCE TO STATUTE. The new section implements the Texas Education Code, §§29.551-29.553, 29.556, and 29.557, as added by Senate Bill (SB) 22, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017.

§102.1095.Pathways in Technology Early College High School.

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

(1) Institution of higher education--An institution of higher education has the meaning assigned by the Texas Education Code (TEC), §61.003.

(2) Optional Flexible School Day Program (OFSDP)--A program approved by the commissioner of education to provide flexible hours and days of attendance for eligible students in Grades 9-12, as defined in §129.1027 of this title (relating to Optional Flexible School Day Program).

(3) Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH)--A public school established under the TEC, §29.553, that enables a student in Grade 9, 10, 11, or 12 who is at risk of dropping out, as defined by the TEC, §29.081, or who wishes to accelerate completion of high school to combine high school courses and college-level courses. A P-TECH program must provide for a course of study that, on or before the sixth anniversary of a student's first day of high school, enables a participating student to receive both a high school diploma and a credential and/or an associate degree and must include work-based education programs.

(4) P-TECH Blueprint--The document that outlines the P-TECH requirements, including design elements and outcomes-based measures.

(5) P-TECH program--The program established under the TEC, §29.553.

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

(7) Work-based education program--An instructional strategy that provides students with real-life work experiences to apply academic and technical skills and develop employability. A work-based education program is also known as work-based learning.

(b) Grants. Provisions of this subsection expire December 2019.

(1) The P-TECH grant program encourages school districts and open-enrollment charter schools to open campuses implementing the P-TECH model.

(2) Funds shall be distributed by the commissioner on a competitive grant basis to be used by school districts on behalf of campuses for the implementation of the P-TECH requirements designed to increase the numbers of students graduating high school with postsecondary credentials and work-based education.

(3) Each applicant seeking funding through the P-TECH grant program under the TEC, §29.556, must submit an application in a format prescribed by the commissioner through a request for applications.

(c) Application for designation of a P-TECH school.

(1) Applicant eligibility. A school district must submit a separate application on behalf of each campus it requests to designate as a P-TECH.

(2) Application process. A school district must submit each application in accordance with the procedures determined by the commissioner.

(d) Notification. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) will notify each applicant of its selection or non-selection for designation.

(e) Conditions of P-TECH program operation.

(1) A school district operating a P-TECH program must comply with all assurances and requirements in the grant and/or designation application.

(2) P-TECH designation is valid for a maximum of one year.

(3) A student enrolled in a P-TECH program on a granted or designated P-TECH campus may not be required to pay for tuition, fees, or required textbooks for any coursework or work-based education experience. The school district or charter school in which the student is enrolled shall pay for tuition, fees, and required textbooks, to the extent those charges are not waived by the institution of higher education.

(4) The P-TECH program must be provided at no cost to students enrolled on a granted or designated P-TECH campus.

(f) Incentives available to an approved P-TECH.

(1) Designation as a P-TECH will allow a campus to access programs available to the college and career readiness models programs.

(2) A designated P-TECH campus is eligible to apply to participate in the OFSDP defined in §129.1027 of this title. Each designated P-TECH campus must apply separately in accordance with the TEC, §29.0822, and procedures established by the commissioner.

(3) A student enrolled at a P-TECH campus and participating in the P-TECH program is not considered for accountability purposes to have dropped out of high school or failed to complete the curriculum requirements for high school graduation until after the sixth anniversary of the date of the student's first day in high school.

(g) Evaluation of a designated P-TECH campus.

(1) The commissioner will establish specific evaluation procedures prior to the beginning of each school year.

(2) Beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, the commissioner shall adopt measures, performance standards, and an appeals process. Failure to meet the standards may result in sanctions under the TEC, Chapter 39, including closure of the P-TECH program.

(3) Beginning in the 2018-2019 school year, each designated P-TECH may be required to submit information and required data to the TEA each year in a manner and by a deadline specified by the commissioner. This information must comply with the P-TECH measures and performance standards set by the commissioner.

(h) Renewal or revocation of authority.

(1) In order to renew a P-TECH designation, a school district must submit a separate renewal application on behalf of each of its designated campuses each year.

(2) The commissioner may deny renewal or revoke the authorization of a designated P-TECH program based on the following factors:

(A) noncompliance with application assurances and/or the provisions of this section;

(B) lack of program success as evidenced by progress reports and program data;

(C) failure to meet performance standards specified in the application and/or P-TECH Blueprint; or

(D) failure to provide accurate, timely, and complete information as required by the TEA to evaluate the effectiveness of the P-TECH program.

(3) A decision by the commissioner to deny renewal as or revoke authorization of a P-TECH is final and may not be appealed.

(4) The commissioner may impose sanctions on a school district as authorized by the TEC, Chapters 39 and 39A, for failure to comply with the requirements of this section.

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 October 30, 2017.

TRD-201704386

Cristina De La Fuente-Valadez

Director, Rulemaking

Texas Education Agency

Earliest possible date of adoption: December 10, 2017

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