On January 15, 2016, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) opened the comment period for several proposed rules that impact open-enrollment charter schools. For each of the listed proposals, the comment period ends February 16, 2016. In addition to submitting written comments, a request for public hearing on a proposal must be received by the Commissioner no later than Friday, January 29, 2016. If you have questions, concerns or a comment you would like the Texas Charter Schools Association (TCSA) to express regarding these proposed rules, please contact Christine Nishimura, TCSA Legal Director at 512-584-8272 ext. 306 or email@example.com.
House Bill 2610 included changes to the Optional Flexible School Year Program. The proposed rules apply to open-enrollment charter schools. The proposed rules will establish definitions for the Optional Flexible Year Program (OFYP), revise program criteria, including the addition to require proposed OFYP instructional time to be scheduled before the last approved student assessment testing window of the school year, and the rules update the approval process, including the requirement that a school submit its instructional calendar that indicates the days and minutes scheduled as OFYP instructional days.
Texas Education Code §21.451 now requires educators to receive suicide prevention training. The proposed rules would establish when new employees must be trained. Additionally, the proposed rules set September 30, 2016 as the deadline to provide suicide prevention training to all existing staff. Open-enrollment charter schools are being encouraged to keep a record of the names of each educator that participates.
Amendments to § 157.1123 will allow open-enrollment charter schools to participate in the TEA’s informal review and investigation of alleged misconduct by a charter. During the informal review of a non-renewal, a decision to revoke, or a reconstituting of the governing board, at the request of a charter school, TEA will meet with representatives of the charter school. Additionally, the final decision too non-renew, revoke, or reconstitute the governing board must include a written response to any information the charter holder submits during the review process.
The proposed revisions will remove options related to Recommended and Distinguished Achievement Programs to reflect changes implemented under HB 5. Additionally, the proposed rules will reflect new performance indicators.
The Commissioner can adopt rules to provide a method other than participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) for schools to count their educationally disadvantaged students in order to qualify for compensatory education program funding.