Bill Text: TX HB23 | 2017 | 85th Legislature 1st Special Session | Comm Sub

Bill Title: Relating to a grant program to fund innovative programs for public school students with autism.

Spectrum: Moderate Partisan Bill (Republican 12-2)

Status: (Engrossed - Dead) 2017-08-08 - Received from the House [HB23 Detail]

Download: Texas-2017-HB23-Comm_Sub.html
  85S10578 MK-F
  By: Huberty, et al. H.B. No. 23
  relating to a grant program to fund innovative programs for public
  school students with autism.
         SECTION 1.  Subchapter A, Chapter 29, Education Code, is
  amended by adding Section 29.026 to read as follows:
  WITH AUTISM. (a)  The commissioner shall establish a program to
  award grants to school districts and open-enrollment charter
  schools that provide innovative services to students with autism.
         (b)  A school district, including a school district acting
  through a district charter issued under Subchapter C, Chapter 12,
  and an open-enrollment charter school, including a charter school
  that primarily serves students with disabilities, as provided under
  Section 12.1014, may apply for a grant under this section.
         (c)  A program is eligible for a grant under this section if:
               (1)  the program operates as an independent campus or a
  separate program from the campus in which the program is located,
  with a separate budget;
               (2)  the program incorporates:
                     (A)  evidence-based and research-based design;
                     (B)  the use of empirical data on student
  achievement and improvement;
                     (C)  parental support and collaboration;
                     (D)  the use of technology;
                     (E)  meaningful inclusion; and
                     (F)  the ability to replicate the program for
  students statewide;
               (3)  the program gives priority for enrollment to
  students with autism;
               (4)  the program limits enrollment and services to
  students who are:
                     (A)  at least three years of age; and
                     (B)  younger than nine years of age or are
  enrolled in the third grade or a lower grade level; and
               (5)  the program allows a student who turns nine years
  of age or older during a school year to remain in the program until
  the end of that school year.
         (d)  A school district or open-enrollment charter school may
               (1)  charge a fee for the program, other than those
  authorized by law for students in public schools;
               (2)  require a parent to enroll a child in the program;
               (3)  allow an admission, review, and dismissal
  committee to place a student in the program without the written
  consent of the student's parent or guardian; or
               (4)  continue the placement of a student in the program
  after the student's parent or guardian revokes consent, in writing,
  to the student's placement in the program.
         (e)  A program under this section may:
               (1)  alter the length of the school day or school year
  or the number of minutes of instruction received by students;
               (2)  coordinate services with private or
  community-based providers;
               (3)  allow the enrollment of students without
  disabilities or with other disabilities, if approved by the
  commissioner; and
               (4)  adopt staff qualifications and staff to student
  ratios that differ from the applicable requirements of this title.
         (f)  The commissioner shall adopt rules creating an
  application and selection process for grants awarded under this
         (g)  The commissioner shall create an external panel of
  stakeholders, including parents of students with disabilities, to
  provide assistance in the selection of applications for the award
  of grants under this section.
         (h)  The commissioner shall award grants to fund not more
  than 10 programs that meet the eligibility criteria under
  Subsection (c).  In selecting programs, the commissioner shall
  prioritize programs that are collaborations between multiple
  school districts, multiple charter schools, or school districts and
  charter schools.  The selected programs must reflect the diversity
  of this state. 
         (i)  The commissioner shall select programs and award grant
  funds to those programs beginning in the 2018-2019 school year.  The
  selected programs are to be funded for five years.
         (j)  A grant awarded to a school district or open-enrollment
  charter school under this section is in addition to the Foundation
  School Program funds that the district or charter school is
  otherwise entitled to receive.
         (k)  The commissioner shall set aside an amount not to exceed
  $20 million from the total amount of funds appropriated to the
  Foundation School Program for the 2018-2019 fiscal biennium to fund
  grants under this section.  The commissioner shall use $10 million
  for the purposes of this section for each school year in the state
  fiscal biennium.  A grant recipient may not receive more than $1
  million for the 2018-2019 fiscal biennium.  The commissioner shall
  reduce each district's and charter school's allotment
  proportionally to account for funds allocated under this section.
         (l)  The commissioner and any program selected under this
  section may accept gifts, grants, and donations from any public or
  private source, person, or group to implement and administer the
  program. The commissioner and any program selected under this
  section may not require any financial contribution from parents to
  implement and administer the program.
         (m)  The commissioner may consider a student with autism who
  is enrolled in a program funded under this section as funded in a
  mainstream placement, regardless of the amount of time the student
  receives services in a regular classroom setting.
         (n)  Not later than December 31, 2021, the commissioner shall
  publish a report on the grant program established under this
  section.  The report must include:
               (1)  recommendations for statutory or funding changes
  necessary to implement successful innovations in the education of
  students with autism; and
               (2)  data on the academic and functional achievements
  of students enrolled in a program that received a grant under this
         (o)  This section expires September 1, 2024.
         SECTION 2.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
  a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
  provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this
  Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
  Act takes effect December 1, 2017.