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TITLE 19EDUCATION
PART 2TEXAS EDUCATION AGENCY
CHAPTER 97PLANNING AND ACCOUNTABILITY
SUBCHAPTER EEACCREDITATION STATUS, STANDARDS, AND SANCTIONS
DIVISION 2CONTRACTING TO PARTNER TO OPERATE A DISTRICT CAMPUS
RULE §97.1075Contracting to Partner to Operate a Campus under Texas Education Code, §11.174

(a) Applicability. This section applies only to an independent school district that intends to contract to partner to operate a campus and receive benefits under Texas Education Code (TEC), §11.174 and §42.2511.

(b) Definitions. For purposes of this division, the following words and terms shall have the following meaning, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

  (1) Operating partner--Either a state-authorized open-enrollment charter school or an eligible entity as defined by TEC, §12.101(a).

  (2) Open-enrollment charter holder--This term has the meaning assigned in TEC, §12.1012(1).

  (3) Governing body of a charter holder--This term has the meaning assigned in TEC, §12.1012(2).

  (4) Governing body of a charter school--This term has the meaning assigned in TEC, §12.1012(3).

  (5) Contract to partner to operate a campus--This term means the partner must operate the campus in accordance with subsection (c) of this section under a performance contract as outlined in subsection (d) of this section.

  (6) Campus--This term has the meaning assigned in §97.1051(3) of this title (relating to Definitions).

(c) Conferred authority. In order to qualify as operating a district campus under TEC, §11.174, the district must confer, at a minimum, the following enhanced authorities to the operating partner.

  (1) Staffing authorities.

    (A) The operating partner must have authority to employ and manage the campus chief operating officer, including initial and final non-delegable authority to hire, supervise, manage, assign, evaluate, develop, advance, compensate, continue employment, and establish any other terms of employment.

    (B) The operating partner must have authority over the employees of the operating partner, including initial and final non-delegable authority for the operating partner to employ and/or manage all of the operating partner's own administrators, educators, contractors, or other staff. Such authority includes the authority to hire, supervise, manage, assign, evaluate, develop, advance, compensate, continue employment, and establish any other terms of employment.

    (C) The operating partner must have authority over the assignment of all district employees to the campus, including initial and final authority to approve the assignment of all district employees or contractors to the campus, as well as initial and final authority to supervise, manage, and rescind the assignment of any district employee or district contractor from the campus.

    (D) The operating partner must directly manage the instructional staff described in subparagraphs (B) and (C) of this paragraph who provide services to at least a majority of the students.

  (2) Other authorities. The operating partner must have:

    (A) initial and final authority to approve all curriculum decisions beyond the minimum requirements outlined in §74.2 of this title (relating to Description of a Required Elementary Curriculum) or §74.3 of this title (relating to Description of a Required Secondary Curriculum), lesson plans, instructional strategies, and instructional materials, as defined in TEC, §31.002(1), to be used at that campus;

    (B) initial and final authority over educational programs for specific, identified student groups, such as gifted and talented students, students of limited English proficiency, students at risk of dropping out of school, special education students, and other statutorily defined populations;

    (C) initial and final authority to set the school calendar and the daily schedule, which may differ from those in other district campuses;

    (D) initial and final authority to approve all assessments that are not required by the state of Texas; and

    (E) initial and final authority to adopt and implement the campus budget. The governing body of the operating partner shall approve the campus budget in a meeting held under the Texas Open Meetings Act, Texas Government Code, Chapter 551. Notwithstanding such budget authority, the operating partner's expenditures must comply with applicable restrictions on the use of state and federal funds.

(d) Performance contract. To contract to partner to operate under TEC, §11.174, the independent school district's board of trustees must grant the operating partner a campus charter under TEC, Chapter 12, Subchapter C. The charter must include performance expectations memorialized in a performance contract, as required by TEC, §12.0531. This performance contract must include, at a minimum, the following provisions:

  (1) a description of enhanced authorities as outlined in subsection (c) of this section;

  (2) academic performance expectations and goals, which shall include, but are not limited to:

    (A) for campuses that are paired for accountability purposes, specific annual targets for improved student academic performance;

    (B) for campuses issued an accountability rating under TEC, §39.054, a specific annual target for the overall campus academic rating and a specific target for student growth based on the School Progress Domain; and

    (C) specific consequences in the event that the operating party does not meet the annual academic performance expectations and goals described in the performance contract;

  (3) annual financial performance expectations and goals, which shall include, but are not limited to:

    (A) the completion of an annual financial report of the operating partner meeting the expectations outlined in §109.23 of this title (relating to School District Independent Audits and Agreed-Upon Procedures);

    (B) receipt of an unqualified audit opinion, in connection with the annual financial report required in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph; and

    (C) specific consequences in the event that the operating partner does not meet the annual financial performance expectations and goals described in the performance contract;

  (4) a description of the campus enrollment and expulsion policies that must comply with TEC, §11.174(i);

  (5) a contract term of up to ten years as required by TEC, §12.0531, with a provision(s) specifying:

    (A) a requirement for a public hearing at least 30 days prior to any district action to terminate the contract for an operating partner that successfully met the performance expectations and goals described in the performance contract; and

    (B) a requirement for a public hearing at least 30 days prior to any district action to extend the contract for an operating partner that failed to meet the performance expectations and goals described in the performance contract;

  (6) a contract term stating that the campus is exempt from laws and rules to the fullest extent allowed by TEC, Chapter 12, Subchapter C, and is exempt from all district policies except for laws, rules, and policies that are specifically identified as applicable to the campus in the performance contract;

  (7) service-level agreements that describe and allocate shared resources and services the district provides to the operating partner, which may include:

    (A) facility use and related matters;

    (B) transportation;

    (C) specific education program services, such as providing special education services; and

    (D) access to other resources and services as agreed between the parties;

  (8) a per pupil allocation from the district to the operator that provides a student-level allocation of local, state, and federal funds received by the district;

  (9) a description of the educational plan for the campus;

  (10) an assurance that the district has consulted with campus personnel regarding the provisions included in the performance contract and that the rights and protections afforded by current employment contracts or agreements shall not be affected by this contract as required by TEC, §11.174(c), unless the district is partnering with an entity described in TEC, §11.174(a)(2); and

  (11) a description of the consequence(s) in the instance that either the district or the operating partner breaches the contract. The contract may not be contingent on any rating issued by the TEA to the campus prior to the operation of the campus by the operating partner.

(e) Contract notification to the TEA. In order to qualify as an eligible partnership under TEC, §11.174, notification of contracts related to TEC, §11.174(a)(1), must meet the deadlines published by the TEA staff.

(f) Contract amendments. Eligible partnerships under TEC, §11.174, must notify the TEA of amendments to performance contracts related to TEC, §11.174(a)(1) and (2).

(g) Monitoring. The commissioner of education shall continue to evaluate and assign overall and domain performance ratings under TEC, §39.054, to the campus. In order to qualify for ongoing benefits, subsequent to initial eligibility validation or approval, the eligible partnership campus must comply with all information requests or monitoring visits deemed necessary by the TEA staff to monitor the ongoing eligibility of the partnership.

(h) Continued eligibility. To receive benefits under TEC, §11.174(f) and (g) and §42.2511, the district must continuously meet the requirements in subsections (c)-(g) of this section.

(i) Decision finality. A decision of the commissioner made under this section is a final administrative decision and is not subject to appeal under TEC, §7.057.


Source Note: The provisions of this §97.1075 adopted to be effective April 4, 2018, 43 TexReg 1993; amended to be effective September 1, 2019, 44 TexReg 4477

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