|(a) Definitions. The following words and terms, when used in this section, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. (1) Agency--Texas Education Agency. (2) Commissioner--Commissioner of education. (3) Early College High School (ECHS)--A school established under the Texas Education Code (TEC), §29.908, 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. An ECHS program must provide for a course of study that, on or before the fifth anniversary of a student's first day of high school, enables a participating student to receive both a high school diploma and either an associate degree or at least 60 credit hours toward a baccalaureate degree. (4) 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). (5) School district--For the purposes of this section, the definition of school district includes an open-enrollment charter school. (b) Application for approval of an ECHS. (1) Applicant eligibility. Any school district may submit a separate application on behalf of each campus it requests to designate as an ECHS. (2) Application process. A school district must submit each application in accordance with the procedures determined by the commissioner. (c) Notification. The Agency will notify each applicant of its selection or non-selection for designation. (d) Conditions of ECHS program operation. (1) A school district operating an ECHS program must comply with all assurances in the program application. (2) ECHS approval is valid for a maximum of one year. (3) A student enrolled in an ECHS course for high school graduation credit may not be required to pay for tuition, fees, or required textbooks. The school district or charter 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. (e) Programs available to an approved ECHS. (1) Approval as an ECHS will allow a campus to access programs available to the early college education program. (2) An approved ECHS campus may access the OFSDP defined in §129.1027 of this title. An approved ECHS campus is eligible for OFSDP, but must apply separately in accordance with the TEC, §29.0822, and procedures established by the commissioner. (f) Evaluation of an ECHS program. (1) The commissioner will establish specific evaluation procedures prior to the beginning of each school year. (2) Beginning in 2008-2009, 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 program. (3) Beginning in 2009-2010, each approved ECHS will be required to submit information and required data to the Agency each year in a manner and with a deadline specified by the commissioner. This information must comply with the measures and performance standards set forth by the commissioner. (g) Renewal or revocation of authority. (1) In order to renew ECHS approval, a school district must submit a separate renewal application on behalf of each of its approved campuses each year. (2) The commissioner may deny renewal or revoke the authorization of an ECHS 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; or (D) failure to provide accurate, timely, and complete information as required by the Agency to evaluate the effectiveness of the ECHS program. (3) A decision by the commissioner to deny renewal as or revoke authorization of an ECHS is final and may not be appealed. (4) The commissioner may impose sanctions on a school district as authorized by the TEC, Chapter 39, Subchapter G, for failure to comply with the requirements of this section.