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Proposed Commissioner Rules for Highly Mobile Students, Students facing Homelessness, and Students in Substitute Care

February 20, 2020

By Michelle Aguilar

Under federal and Texas state law, students facing homelessness have a right to a free, appropriate public education (FAPE). The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (federal law) provides assistance to help students facing homelessness ensure their educational rights and protections. This program helps states ensure that students of all ages facing homelessness have equal access to FAPE, including public preschool education, as provided to other children and youth.

The Texas Education Agency has proposed new rules effective as of March 1, 2020 concerning transition assistance for highly mobile students who are facing homelessness or in substitute care. The proposed new rules would assist with the transition of this group of students from one school to another and provide local education agencies (LEAs) with guidance on the requirements of the Texas Education Code (TEC) ), §25.007.

Proposed new 19 TAC Chapter 89, Adaptations for Special Populations, Subchapter FF, Commissioner’s Rules Concerning Transition for Highly Mobile Students Who Are Homeless or in Substitute Care, would address school district and open enrollment charter school responsibilities as follows:

  • Proposed new §89.1601 will provide clarity by defining terms having meanings specific to proposed new Chapter 89, Subchapter FF.
  • Proposed new §89.1603 will address responsibilities for LEAs to request, send, and receive student records and transcripts to ensure a seamless enrollment and transition.
  • Proposed new §89.1605 will address the creation and examination of existing local policies to assist LEAs with the award of credits, including credit by examination, credit recovery plans, course transition plans, and personal graduation plans.
  • Proposed new §89.1609 will address LEA responsibilities relating to course and educational program placement in order to ensure continuity for students.
  • Proposed new §89.1611 will set forth LEA responsibilities related to access and participation in educational and extracurricular programs, including tutoring programs, Communities in Schools or similar programs, and University Interscholastic League (UIL) participation to mitigate transition barriers to participation.
  • Proposed new §89.1613 will address LEA responsibilities to promote postsecondary access and to ensure students are progressing toward graduation and are linked with appropriate higher education financial resources and supports.
  • Proposed new §89.1615 will address LEA responsibilities to provide special education services and accept referrals made by the previous school districts or open-enrollment charter schools for special education evaluation to ensure the appropriate placement of services for students.
  • Proposed new §89.1617 will address the requirement in TEC, §25.007, that LEAs provide notice to the student’s educational decision maker or caseworker of information that significantly influences the education of the student.

For more information on programs for students facing homelessness, please visit the Texas Education for Homeless Children and Youth website or email Michelle Aguilar at miaguilar@txcharterschools.org. For more information on the proposed new 19 TAC Chapter 89 Rules, please visit this TEA webpage

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