|(a) Definitions. For the purposes of this section,
the following definitions apply.
(1) Eligible student--A student who meets all program
eligibility criteria under Texas Education Code (TEC), §29.044,
and this section.
(2) Management system--The online system provided by
the marketplace vendor to allow for account creation, management of
funds, and access to the marketplace.
(3) Marketplace--The virtual platform where parents
and guardians with Supplemental Special Education Services (SSES)
program funds may purchase goods and services.
(4) Marketplace vendor--The vendor chosen by the Texas
Education Agency (TEA) to create an online marketplace for the use
of SSES program funds.
(5) Supplemental special education instructional materials--This
term has the meaning defined in TEC, §29.041, and specifically
excludes materials that are provided as compensatory services or as
a means of providing a student with a free appropriate public education.
(6) Supplemental special education services--This term
has the meaning defined in TEC, §29.041, and specifically excludes
services that are provided as compensatory services or as a means
of providing a student with a free appropriate public education.
(b) Eligibility criteria. All students currently enrolled
in a Texas public school district or open-enrollment charter school
who are served in a special education program during the 2021-2022
or 2022-2023 school year, including, but not limited to, students
in early childhood special education, prekindergarten, Kindergarten-Grade
12, and 18-and-over transition programs, are eligible for the SSES
program with the following exclusions:
(1) students who do not reside in Texas or move out
of the state, not including military-connected students entitled to
enroll or remain enrolled while outside the state; or
(2) students who previously received an SSES grant.
(1) Parents and guardians of eligible students may
receive grants as long as funds are available of up to $1,500 in state
funds and may receive additional federal funds, depending on eligibility
and availability, for use in the purchasing of supplemental special
education instructional materials and supplemental special education
services through the curated marketplace of educational goods and
services. Parents and guardians may receive only one grant for each
eligible student. Students enrolled in a school district or open-enrollment
charter school that is eligible for a compensatory education allotment
under TEC, §48.104, will be prioritized to receive a grant award.
(2) TEA will use Public Education Information Management
System (PEIMS) codes to verify eligibility in order to award accounts
for the SSES program.
(3) TEA will prioritize the awarding of applicant accounts
based on applicants qualifying for the National School Lunch Program
and available funds.
(d) Establishment of the marketplace.
(1) In accordance with TEC, §29.042(d), TEA shall
award an education service center (ESC) with an operational and school
district support grant, which may include, but is not limited to,
the following operational requirements:
(A) writing and administering a contract for a vendor
for the SSES marketplace that curates the content in its marketplace
for educational relevancy. In accordance with the Family Educational
Rights and Privacy Act, the contract must require the vendor for the
marketplace to protect and keep confidential students' personally
identifiable information, which may not be sold or monetized;
(B) providing technical assistance to parents and guardians
throughout the SSES program process;
(C) serving as the main point of contact for the selected
marketplace vendor to ensure eligible student accounts are appropriately
(D) approving or denying all purchases from the SSES
marketplace, including communication with parents and guardians about
purchase order requests;
(E) increasing the number of qualified service providers
in the marketplace; and
(F) approving or denying all potential service providers.
(2) Providers of supplemental special education instructional
materials and services may apply to be listed in the marketplace.
To become an approved marketplace service provider, an applicant must
sign a service provider agreement and comply with licensing, safety,
and employee background checks.
(A) Organization service providers are required to
provide their Texas Tax ID for TEA to verify the validity of the organization.
(B) Individual service providers are required to provide
proof of credentials and licensing in accordance with the individual
service provider categories established by TEA.
(3) TEA shall provide a process for the application
and approval of vendors to the marketplace.
(4) TEA and the marketplace vendor shall provide a
curated list of vendors through which parents and guardians can purchase
educationally relevant supplemental special education instructional
materials. The established marketplace vendor shall be responsible
for ensuring the vendors comply with SSES program parameters as they
relate to the marketplace and be responsible for all communications
with marketplace vendors.
(e) Application process for grant on behalf of a student.
(1) TEA is responsible for the application process
and the determination of which applicants are approved for SSES program
(2) Parents and guardians who would like to apply on
behalf of their eligible students must complete the online application.
(3) Upon approval of the application:
(A) TEA shall send contact information for parents
and guardians of eligible students in a secure manner to the online
marketplace vendor for account creation and distribution;
(B) parents and guardians of eligible students will
receive an email to the same email address provided during application
from the marketplace vendor with information on how to access their
(C) parents and guardians will be awarded an account
of up to $1,500 in state funds and may be awarded in the account additional
federal funds, depending on eligibility and availability, per eligible
student to be used to purchase supplemental special education services
and supplemental special education instructional materials.
(4) Parents and guardians of students who are deemed
not eligible or who are determined to have violated account use restrictions
under subsection (h) of this section will receive notification from
TEA and be provided an opportunity to appeal the denial or account
use determination. TEA shall exercise its discretion to determine
the validity of any such appeal.
(5) If necessary, eligible students will be placed
on a waitlist and parents and guardians will be notified. Should additional
funds become available, priority will be given in the order established
by the waitlist and in accordance with subsection (c) of this section.
(6) TEA shall maintain confidentiality of students'
personally identifiable information in accordance with the Family
Educational Rights and Privacy Act and, to the extent applicable,
the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
(f) Approval of application; assignment of account.
(1) TEA shall set aside funds for a pre-determined
number of accounts of up to $1,500 in state funds with additional
federal funds set aside, depending on eligibility and availability,
per account to be awarded to parents and guardians of eligible students.
(2) Parents and guardians with more than one eligible
student may apply and receive a grant for each eligible student.
(3) Approved parents and guardians will receive an
award notification email from the marketplace vendor and may begin
spending account funds upon completion of account setup.
(4) Parents and guardians who receive an award notification
but whose student no longer qualifies under subsection (b) of this
section shall notify TEA of their student's change in eligibility
(5) Within 30 calendar days from receiving an award
notification email, parents and guardians must:
(A) access or log in to their account or the account
may be subject to reclamation; and
(B) agree to and sign the SSES parental acknowledgement
(g) Use of funds. Use of SSES program funds provided
to parents and guardians are limited as follows.
(1) Only supplemental special education instructional
materials and supplemental special education services available through
the marketplace of approved providers and vendors may be purchased
with SSES program funds.
(2) Supplemental special education instructional materials
and services must directly benefit the eligible student's educational
(3) Supplemental special education instructional materials
shall be used in compliance with TEA purchasing guidelines.
(4) If TEA approves vendors for a category of instructional
material under subsection (d) of this section, supplemental special
education instructional materials must be purchased from the TEA-approved
vendor for that category of supplemental special education instructional
material. If TEA does not establish criteria for a category of supplemental
special education instructional materials, funds in a student's account
may be used to purchase the supplemental special education instructional
materials from any vendor.
(5) The contracted ESC has full authority to reject
or deny any purchase.
(6) Parents and guardians may not use SSES program
funds for reimbursement of goods or services obtained outside of the
marketplace. SSES program funds shall not be paid directly to parents
or guardians of eligible students.
(h) Account use restrictions. TEA may, subject to the
appeal process referenced in subsection (e)(4) of this section, close
or suspend accounts and reclaim a portion or all of the funds from
accounts in the marketplace if:
(1) the supplemental special education materials or
services that parents or guardians attempt to purchase are not educational
in nature or are deemed to be in violation of the purchasing guidelines
set forth by TEA;
(2) it is determined that the supplemental special
education materials or services purchased do not meet the definitions
in subsection (a)(5) and (6) of this section;
(3) the SSES program parental acknowledgement affidavit
is not signed within 30 calendar days of receipt of account email
from the marketplace vendor; or
(4) a student no longer meets the eligibility criteria
set out in subsection (b) of this section.
(i) Requirements to provide information. School districts
and open-enrollment charter schools shall notify families of their
eligibility for the SSES program and shall provide the following at
the student's admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee meeting:
(1) instructions and resources on accessing the online
(2) information about the types of goods and services
that are available through the SSES grant.
(j) Restrictions. A student's ARD committee may not
consider a student's current or anticipated eligibility for any supplemental
special education instructional materials or services that may be
provided under this section when developing or revising a student's
individualized education program, when determining a student's educational
setting, or in the provision of a free appropriate public education.