Bill Text: TX HB52 | 2017 | 85th Legislature 1st Special Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Relating to the establishment of an individualized education plan account program for certain children with disabilities.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 9-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2017-07-20 - Referred to Public Education [HB52 Detail]

Download: Texas-2017-HB52-Introduced.html
  85S10296 KJE-F
 
  By: Simmons H.B. No. 52
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to the establishment of an individualized education plan
  account program for certain children with disabilities.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Chapter 29, Education Code, is amended by adding
  Subchapter J to read as follows:
  SUBCHAPTER J.  INDIVIDUALIZED EDUCATION PLAN ACCOUNT PROGRAM
         Sec. 29.351.  DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:
               (1)  "Account" means an individualized education plan
  account established under the program.
               (2)  "Child with a disability" means a child who is:
                     (A)  eligible to participate in a school
  district's special education program under Section 29.003; or
                     (B)  protected by Section 504, Rehabilitation Act
  of 1973 (29 U.S.C. Section 794).
               (3)  "Curriculum" means a complete course of study for
  a particular content area or grade level.
               (4)  "Financial institution" means a bank, credit
  union, savings bank, or savings and loan association organized
  under the laws of this state, the laws of another state, or federal
  law that has its main office or a branch office in this state. The
  term does not include any institution the deposits of which are not
  insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or the
  National Credit Union Administration.
               (5)  "Parent" means a resident of this state who is a
  natural or adoptive parent, managing or possessory conservator,
  legal guardian, custodian, or other person with legal authority to
  act on behalf of a child.
               (6)  "Postsecondary educational institution" means:
                     (A)  an institution of higher education or a
  private or independent institution of higher education as defined
  by Section 61.003; or
                     (B)  a career school or college as defined by
  Section 132.001.
               (7)  "Program" means the individualized education plan
  account program established under this subchapter.
               (8)  "Program participant" means a child and a parent
  of a child enrolled in the program.
         Sec. 29.352.  PURPOSES.  The purposes of the individualized
  education plan account program are to:
               (1)  improve public schools and overall academic
  performance;
               (2)  promote efficiency;
               (3)  promote and preserve the liberties and rights of
  the people; and
               (4)  increase parental options.
         Sec. 29.353.  ESTABLISHMENT OF PROGRAM. (a) The
  comptroller shall establish and administer an individualized
  education plan account program to provide funding for certain
  education-related expenses of eligible children.
         (b)  The comptroller, with cooperation from the agency,
  shall ensure that information about the program is readily
  available to the public through various sources, including the
  comptroller's Internet website.
         Sec. 29.354.  ELIGIBLE CHILD. (a)  A child is eligible to
  participate in the program if the child is:
               (1)  eligible to attend a public school under Section
  25.001; and
               (2)  a child with a disability.
         (b)  A child who establishes eligibility under this section
  may participate in the program until the earliest of the following
  dates:
               (1)  the date on which the child no longer meets the
  eligibility requirements under Subsection (a);
               (2)  the date that is three months after the date on
  which the child:
                     (A)  graduates from high school; or
                     (B)  receives a high school equivalency
  certificate under Section 7.111;
               (3)  the date on which the child enrolls in a public
  school, including an open-enrollment charter school; or
               (4)  the date on which the child is declared ineligible
  for the program by the comptroller under this subchapter.
         (c)  Notwithstanding Subsection (b), the comptroller shall
  establish guidelines for, in the least disruptive manner possible:
               (1)  a child participating in the program to cease
  participation and enroll in a public school, including an
  open-enrollment charter school; and
               (2)  a child who previously participated in the program
  and subsequently enrolled in a public school, including an
  open-enrollment charter school, to resume participation in the
  program.
         Sec. 29.355.  ENROLLMENT IN PROGRAM. (a) A parent of an
  eligible child may enroll the child in the program for the following
  school year.
         (b)  The comptroller, in consultation with the agency, shall
  by rule create an enrollment form for the program and make the
  enrollment form readily available to interested parents through
  various sources, including the comptroller's Internet website.  The
  enrollment form must include spaces to provide the following
  information:
               (1)  the name of the school district the child would
  otherwise have attended;
               (2)  the name of the last public school in which the
  child was enrolled, if any; and
               (3)  any other information necessary to determine
  whether the child is eligible to participate in the program or the
  amount of the payment the child, if eligible, would be entitled to
  receive under the program.
         (c)  The comptroller shall provide to each parent who submits
  an enrollment form a publication that describes the operation of
  the program, including:
               (1)  expenses allowed under the program under Section
  29.357;
               (2)  expense reporting requirements; and
               (3)  a description of the responsibilities of program
  participants and the duties of the comptroller under this
  subchapter.
         (d)  For each submitted enrollment form, the agency shall
  determine whether the child is eligible to participate in the
  program and report that determination to the comptroller.
         Sec. 29.356.  PARTICIPATION IN PROGRAM. (a) To receive
  funding under the program, a parent of an eligible child must agree
  to:
               (1)  spend funds received through the program only for
  expenses allowed under Section 29.357;
               (2)  notify the comptroller if the child enrolls in a
  public school, including an open-enrollment charter school, not
  later than the 30th day after the date of enrollment; and
               (3)  inform the comptroller if the child graduates from
  high school or receives a high school equivalency certificate under
  Section 7.111.
         (b)  The parent of a child participating in the program is
  the trustee of the child's account.
         (c)  The comptroller shall provide annually to each program
  participant the publication provided under Section 29.355(c).
         Sec. 29.357.  APPROVED EDUCATION-RELATED EXPENSES. (a)  
  Funds received under the program may be used only for the following
  expenses incurred by a program participant:
               (1)  tuition and fees:
                     (A)  at a private school accredited by an
  organization that is recognized by the Texas Private School
  Accreditation Commission;
                     (B)  at a postsecondary educational institution
  for a course described by Section 28.009 for which the child may
  receive high school credit based on an agreement between the
  institution and the school in which the child is enrolled; or
                     (C)  for an online educational course or program
  offered through the state virtual school network under Chapter 30A
  or otherwise approved by the agency for public school students;
               (2)  the purchase of textbooks or other instructional
  materials;
               (3)  payments for the purchase of a curriculum;
               (4)  fees for classes or other educational services
  provided by a public school, if the classes or services do not
  qualify the child to be included in the school's average daily
  attendance;
               (5)  fees for services provided by a private tutor or
  teaching service;
               (6)  fees for educational therapies or services
  provided by a practitioner or provider, other than fees covered by
  any federal, state, or local government benefit program, including
  Medicaid or the children's health insurance program, or any
  applicable private insurance;
               (7)  costs of computer hardware and software and other
  technological devices that clearly may be used for educational
  purposes, not to exceed in any year 10 percent of the total amount
  paid to the program participant's account that year;
               (8)  fees for a nationally norm-referenced achievement
  test or examination, an assessment instrument adopted by the agency
  under Section 39.023, an advanced placement test or similar
  examination, or any examination related to college or university
  admission; and
               (9)  contributions to a qualified tuition program
  established for the child that meets the requirements of Section
  529 or 530, Internal Revenue Code of 1986, not to exceed in any year
  25 percent of the total amount paid to the program participant's
  account that year.
         (b)  Expenses allowed under Subsection (a) do not include
  expenses for:
               (1)  consumable supplies, including paper, pens,
  pencils, folders, and notebooks;
               (2)  food; or
               (3)  before-school or after-school child care and child
  care during school holidays and vacations.
         (c)  An education service provider or vendor of educational
  products must provide a program participant with a receipt for each
  expense allowed under Subsection (a) charged by the provider or
  vendor to the participant.
         (d)  The content or religious nature of a product or service
  may not be considered in determining whether a payment for the
  product or service is an expense allowed under Subsection (a).
         (e)  A finding that a program participant used funds
  distributed under the program to pay for an expense not allowed
  under Subsection (a) does not affect the validity of any payment
  made by the participant for an expense that is allowed under that
  subsection.
         Sec. 29.358.  AMOUNT OF PAYMENT; FINANCING. (a)  A parent of
  an eligible child shall receive each year that the child
  participates in the program a payment from the Foundation School
  Program to the child's account in an amount that is equal to 90
  percent of the state and local maintenance and operations revenue
  to which the school district the child would otherwise attend would
  be entitled for the child if the child enrolled in the district,
  excluding any revenue under Subchapter C, Chapter 42, other than
  revenue to which the district would be entitled as a result of the
  special allotments under Sections 42.151, 42.152, and 42.160.  The
  comptroller shall base the calculation on a 100 percent attendance
  rate.
         (b)  For purposes of Subsection (a), in calculating the
  amount of any special allotments to which the school district would
  be entitled for the child under Section 42.151 or 42.152, the
  comptroller shall use the following weights or amounts that result
  in the greatest amount of revenue:
               (1)  the weights for which the child qualifies under
  the applicable section, including, if applicable, a weight for the
  child's instructional arrangement if the child's instructional
  arrangement can be determined; or
               (2)  the average amount per student received by the
  district for the preceding school year for each special allotment
  for which the child qualifies, regardless of the applicable
  instructional arrangement, if any.
         (c)  In administering the program, the comptroller may use
  funds from any public or private source that are available for that
  purpose.
         (d)  Any funds remaining in a child's account at the end of a
  fiscal year are carried forward to the next fiscal year unless
  another provision of this subchapter mandates the closure of the
  account.
         (e)  The parent of a child participating in the program may
  make payments for the expenses of educational programs, services,
  and products not covered by funds in the child's account.
         (f)  A payment under the program may not be financed using
  federal funds or money appropriated from the available school fund.
         Sec. 29.359.  ADMINISTRATION OF ACCOUNTS. (a) The
  comptroller may contract with one or more financial institutions to
  establish and manage an account for each child participating in the
  program. A program participant must be able to access the
  participant's account by using an online or electronic transfer
  payment service.
         (b)  The comptroller shall make quarterly payments to each
  program participant's account in equal amounts on or before the
  15th days of August, November, February, and May.
         (c)  The comptroller may deduct an amount from each quarterly
  payment to a program participant's account to cover the
  comptroller's cost of administering the program. The amount
  deducted may not exceed three percent of the payment.
         (d)  Within the first month following the end of each fiscal
  year, the comptroller shall reconcile payments made to and from all
  accounts under the program.
         (e)  The comptroller shall coordinate as necessary to
  calculate annually the savings to the state from the implementation
  of the program.
         (f)  On the date on which a child ceases to participate in the
  program for any reason, the child's account is closed and any
  remaining funds are returned to the state for deposit in the
  foundation school fund. This subsection does not affect a child's
  eligibility to resume participation in the program.
         (g)  The comptroller may contract with a private entity to
  administer all or any part of the program.
         Sec. 29.360.  RANDOM AUDITING. (a) The comptroller shall
  randomly audit or contract with a private entity to randomly audit:
               (1)  accounts as necessary to ensure compliance with
  applicable law and the requirements of the program; and
               (2)  education service providers and vendors of
  educational products that accept funds distributed under the
  program as necessary to ensure compliance with this subchapter.
         (b)  In auditing an account, provider, or vendor, the
  comptroller or private entity may require that a program
  participant, provider, or vendor provide further information and
  documentation regarding any payment from the participant's
  account.
         (c)  The private entity shall report to the comptroller any
  violation of this subchapter or other relevant law found by the
  entity during an audit conducted under this section.
         Sec. 29.361.  SUSPENSION OF ACCOUNT. (a) The comptroller
  shall suspend the account of a program participant who fails to
  comply with applicable law or a requirement of the program,
  including a requirement under Section 29.356(a), or who
  substantially misuses funds received under the program.
         (b)  On suspension of an account under Subsection (a), the
  comptroller shall notify the participant in writing that the
  account has been suspended and that no further payments may be made
  from the account. The notification must specify the grounds for the
  suspension and state that the participant has 10 business days to
  respond and take any corrective action required by the comptroller.
         (c)  On the expiration of the 10-day period under Subsection
  (b), the comptroller shall:
               (1)  order permanent closure of the suspended account
  and declare the participant ineligible for the program;
               (2)  order temporary reinstatement of the account,
  conditioned on the performance of a specified action by the
  participant; or
               (3)  order full reinstatement of the account.
         (d)  If a program participant's account is suspended or
  closed under this section, the comptroller may recover funds that
  were used for expenses not allowed under Section 29.357(a) from the
  participant or the entity that received the funds.
         Sec. 29.362.  TUITION AND FEES; REFUND PROHIBITED. (a) An
  education service provider may not charge a child participating in
  the program an amount greater than the standard amount charged for
  that service by the provider.
         (b)  An education service provider or a vendor of educational
  products receiving funds distributed under the program may not in
  any manner rebate, refund, or credit to or share with a program
  participant, or any person on behalf of a participant, any program
  funds paid or owed by the participant to the provider or vendor.
         Sec. 29.363.  REFERRAL TO ATTORNEY GENERAL. (a) If the
  comptroller obtains evidence of fraudulent use of an account, the
  comptroller may refer the case to the attorney general for
  investigation.
         (b)  With the consent of the appropriate local county or
  district attorney, the attorney general has concurrent
  jurisdiction with the consenting local prosecutor to prosecute an
  offense referred to the attorney general under Subsection (a).
         Sec. 29.364.  PROVIDER ACCOUNTABILITY. (a) A private
  school must be accredited by an organization that is recognized by
  the Texas Private School Accreditation Commission to receive funds
  distributed under the program.
         (b)  A private tutor or teaching service and a practitioner
  or provider who provides educational therapies or services must be
  licensed or accredited by a regional or national accrediting
  organization to receive funds distributed under the program.
         Sec. 29.365.  PROGRAM PARTICIPANT, PROVIDER, AND VENDOR
  AUTONOMY. (a) An education service provider or vendor of
  educational products that receives funds distributed under the
  program is not an agent of the state or federal government.
         (b)  Except as provided by this subchapter, the comptroller,
  the agency, the State Board of Education, any other state agency, or
  any school district may not:
               (1)  regulate the educational program of an education
  service provider or vendor of educational products that receives
  funds distributed under the program; or
               (2)  exercise control or supervision over a program
  participant or an education service provider or vendor of
  educational products that receives funds distributed under the
  program.
         (c)  The program does not expand the regulatory authority of
  the state or any school district to impose any additional
  regulation on an education service provider or vendor of
  educational products except those reasonably necessary to enforce
  the program as provided by this subchapter.
         (d)  A private school may not be required to modify the
  school's creed, practices, admissions policies, curriculum,
  performance standards, or assessments to receive funds distributed
  under the program.
         (e)  A private school voluntarily selected by a parent for
  the parent's child to attend or a parent who homeschools the
  parent's child, with or without governmental assistance, may not be
  required to comply with any state law or rule governing the
  applicable educational program that was not in effect on January 1,
  2017.
         (f)  In any proceeding challenging a rule adopted by a state
  agency or officer under this subchapter, the agency or officer has
  the burden of proof to establish that the rule:
               (1)  is necessary to implement or enforce the program
  as provided by this subchapter; and
               (2)  does not impose an undue burden on a program
  participant or an education service provider or vendor of
  educational products that receives or seeks to receive funds
  distributed under the program.
         Sec. 29.366.  STUDENT RECORDS. On request by the parent of a
  child participating in the program, the school district or
  open-enrollment charter school that the child would otherwise
  attend shall provide a copy of the child's school records possessed
  by the district or school, if any, to the child's parent or, if
  applicable, the private school the child attends.
         Sec. 29.367.  REPORTING NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS. (a) Not
  later than October 1 of each year, the commissioner shall notify the
  comptroller and the Legislative Budget Board of the number of
  eligible children likely to participate in the program,
  disaggregated by the school district or open-enrollment charter
  school the eligible children would otherwise attend.
         (b)  Not later than March 1 of each year, the commissioner
  shall provide final information to the comptroller and the
  Legislative Budget Board regarding the number of children
  participating in the program, disaggregated in the same manner as
  the initial information under Subsection (a).
         Sec. 29.368.  ANNUAL SURVEY. The comptroller may conduct an
  annual parental satisfaction survey that asks each parent of a
  child participating in the program to express:
               (1)  the parent's overall level of satisfaction with
  the program; and
               (2)  the parent's opinion on specified topics and
  issues relevant to the effectiveness of the program.
         Sec. 29.369.  DISTRICTS WITH HIGH PARTICIPATION RATE.
  Notwithstanding any other law, a school district in which at least
  one percent of resident children eligible to attend public school
  under Section 25.001 are participating in the program shall receive
  the following benefits:
               (1)  the district may elect to administer assessment
  instruments only as necessary to comply with the Every Student
  Succeeds Act (20 U.S.C. Section 6301 et seq.) and may be evaluated
  for accountability purposes related to assessment only based on the
  results of those assessment instruments;
               (2)  the district may create a local innovation plan
  and be designated as a district of innovation under Chapter 12A
  without complying with the requirements under Section 12A.001 or
  12A.002;
               (3)  teachers employed by the district are entitled to
  receive a stipend for attending a mathematics achievement academy
  under Section 21.4553 or a reading-to-learn academy under Section
  21.4554 in an amount equal to twice the amount established by the
  commissioner for the applicable stipend;
               (4)  the agency shall award the district an additional
  five percentage points toward the district's overall performance
  rating under Section 39.054;
               (5)  the district is entitled to reimbursement from the
  state for the cost of locating, identifying, and evaluating
  children with disabilities who are enrolled in private schools in
  the district in compliance with 20 U.S.C. Section 1412; and
               (6)  in addition to any funding the district receives
  under Chapter 42, for each resident child participating in the
  program, the district is entitled to receive for the first year in
  which the child participates in the program an amount equal to the
  difference between:
                     (A)  the state and local maintenance and
  operations revenue to which the district would be entitled for the
  child if the child enrolled in the district, excluding any revenue
  under Subchapter C, Chapter 42, other than revenue to which the
  district would be entitled as a result of the special allotments
  under Sections 42.151, 42.152, and 42.160, calculated in accordance
  with Sections 29.358(a) and (b); and
                     (B)  the amount the child's parent receives under
  Section 29.358(a) for the year.
         Sec. 29.370.  GIFTS, GRANTS, AND DONATIONS. The comptroller
  may solicit and accept gifts, grants, and donations from any public
  or private source for any expenses related to the initial
  implementation or administration of the program.
         Sec. 29.371.  RULES. The comptroller shall adopt rules as
  necessary to implement this subchapter, including:
               (1)  rules regarding expense reporting requirements
  for program participants; and
               (2)  rules for implementing this subchapter in a manner
  that ensures compliance with federal law regarding confidentiality
  of student educational information, including the Family
  Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (20 U.S.C. Section
  1232g).
         SECTION 2.  Section 42.253, Education Code, is amended by
  adding Subsection (b-1) to read as follows:
         (b-1)  Notwithstanding Subsection (b), the commissioner
  shall adjust enrollment estimates and entitlement for each school
  district for each school year based on information collected in
  accordance with Section 29.367. This subsection expires September
  1, 2020.
         SECTION 3.  This Act applies beginning with the 2017-2018
  school year.
         SECTION 4.  Not later than 45 days after the effective date
  of this Act, the comptroller of public accounts shall adopt rules
  necessary to implement the individualized education plan account
  program under Subchapter J, Chapter 29, Education Code, as added by
  this Act.
         SECTION 5.  Notwithstanding Section 29.367(a), Education
  Code, as added by this Act, the commissioner of education shall
  provide the information described by that subsection as soon as
  practicable after the effective date of this Act.
         SECTION 6.  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 on the 91st day after the last day of the
  legislative session.
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