|(a) This section applies only to the special purpose
school districts operated by the University of Texas at Austin and
Texas Tech University.
(b) The special purpose school districts operated by
the University of Texas at Austin and Texas Tech University are public
schools of this state fulfilling the mission of the Texas public education
system to ensure that Texas students receive a quality education that
enables them to achieve their potential and fully participate now
and in the future in the social, economic, and educational opportunities
of our state and nation.
(c) Each special purpose school district shall be governed
by the board of regents of the parent university, which has the authority
and responsibilities of a school district board of trustees with respect
to the operation of the special purpose school district but has no
authority to levy a tax. The board of regents may delegate authority
(d) Each special purpose school district shall have
an advisory board consisting of at least five members that, along
with the superintendent, reports to the board of regents regarding
the operation of the district. The president of the university may
designate a person to report on the management, operations, and accountability
of the special purpose school district to the board of regents. The
following requirements apply to each special purpose school district.
(1) The advisory board shall hold public meetings that
comply with appropriate notice requirements for governmental bodies.
(2) The president of the university shall appoint the
superintendent of the special purpose school district.
(3) The university shall submit nominees for approval
by the State Board of Education (SBOE) to serve as special purpose
school district advisory board members. The superintendent may not
participate in the nomination process for the advisory board.
(4) The superintendent and advisory board shall ensure
information required to be made available to the public is made available
on the special purpose school district's website.
(5) The university shall develop an advisory board
training program that provides the relevant board training required
under Texas Education Code (TEC), §11.159, and shall submit to
the SBOE the training requirements by September 1 of each odd-numbered
(e) Students who are eligible to enroll in a Texas
independent or common school district are eligible to enroll in a
special purpose school district, and each special purpose school district:
(1) shall establish an initial enrollment window for
each academic semester that uses a lottery to fill open spots not
filled by previously enrolled students. After the initial enrollment
window closes, enrollment may be based on a first come first served
(2) shall develop an outreach program targeted at underserved
(3) may admit students at least 21 years of age and
under 26 years of age for the purpose of completing the requirements
for a high school diploma in accordance with TEC, §25.001. For
purposes of TEC, §25.001(b-2), the term "classroom setting" does
not include a virtual classroom that has no physical proximity; and
(4) is neither required nor prohibited from providing
a student with home computer equipment or internet access.
(f) Except as provided elsewhere in this section, each
special purpose school district operates as a public school of Texas,
and the laws applicable to Texas public schools, per TEC, §11.352(c),
(1) providing for equal education opportunity, in accordance
with the TEC and constitutions of Texas and the United States;
(2) charging fees, holding funding in trust for the
education of students, and spending funding to achieve the educational
purposes listed in this section;
(3) complying with student records retention, transmission,
and other related requirements;
(4) having access to other school resources such as
regional education service centers under TEC, Chapter 8 and §11.003;
commissioner of education waiver authority under TEC, §7.056;
school immunity under TEC, Chapter 22, Subchapter B; and relevant
(5) certification requirements under TEC, §§21.003,
21.055, and 21.057, and continuing education requirements under TEC, §21.054,
with employment practices to include provisions substantially similar
to TEC, §21.0031 and §21.058;
(6) complying with the health, safety, and welfare
provisions such as reporting of misconduct under TEC, §§21.006,
21.0061, 21.009, 21.057, 21.058, 21.0581, and 21.062, and background
checks under TEC, Chapter 22, Subchapters C and C-1;
(7) parental and student rights such as those provided
for in TEC, Chapter 26.
(A) The special purpose school district shall establish
a grievance process for complaints.
(B) If the special purpose school district determines
that releasing a copy of an assessment would jeopardize the security
of the assessment because it has not been published and is not publicly
available, in place of releasing a copy of the assessment, the special
purpose school district shall provide information regarding the standards
and concepts for which the student failed to demonstrate proficiency
or, using appropriate security protocols, make the assessment available
for personal review by the student and parent without releasing a
(8) creditable years of service;
(9) curriculum and graduation requirements under TEC,
(10) the instructional materials allotment and the
provisions of TEC, Chapter 31; and
(11) accreditation, assessment of academic skills,
academic accountability, and interventions and sanctions under TEC, §11.001
and Chapters 39 and 39A.
(g) Each special purpose school district shall develop
a policy regarding when a student is deemed absent and has excessive
absences under its program.
(1) If the student has excessive absences under the
policy, the special purpose school district shall notify both the
student and the school district the student would otherwise be entitled
to attend that the student has been disenrolled from the special purpose
(2) By September 1 of each odd-numbered school year,
the special purpose school district shall submit its absence policy
to the SBOE, including any modifications made since the previous submission.
(h) If a special purpose school district seeks a waiver
under commissioner authority for more than three consecutive years,
the special purpose school district shall submit the issue to the
SBOE for consideration as a possible permanent exemption.
(i) As a special purpose school district is designed
to provide education statewide through digital learning methodologies,
the following special requirements and modifications are in effect.
(1) TEC, Chapter 12A, does not apply.
(2) TEC, Chapter 22, Subchapter A, does not apply.
(3) The superintendent shall make personnel decisions
for the special purpose school district.
(A) Employee grievances shall be covered by the parent
university's human resources practices.
(B) The parent university's human resources requirements
and practices shall apply to employees, unless otherwise indicated
by law or rule.
(4) The special purpose school district shall operate
in the time and accounting manner necessary to comply with the funding
model established by the commissioner for access to Foundation School
Program (FSP) funds.
(5) The special purpose school district shall adopt
a student code of conduct that aligns with the provisions of TEC,
Chapter 37, but is not required to include the use of disciplinary
alternative education programs or juvenile justice alternative education
(6) The special purpose school district shall annually
submit to the SBOE a report on disciplinary actions made to the district
and a report on complaints made to the special purpose school district.
(7) TEC, §§11.1542, 11.1543, and 11.155,
do not apply.
(8) The special purpose school district is not required
to have the membership compositions for committees under TEC, §§11.251,
11.252, 11.253, or 11.255, but must develop plans and policies that
comply with those provisions.
(9) Educator contract requirements under TEC, Chapter
21, Subchapters C, D, E, F, and G; appraisal system requirements under
TEC, Chapter 21, Subchapter H; duties and benefits requirements under
TEC, Chapter 21, Subchapter I; and staff development requirements
under TEC, Chapter 21, Subchapter J, do not apply, and the special
purpose school district shall develop an appraisal system that contains
the items in TEC, §21.351(a).
(10) TEC, §§25.08111 and 25.111-25.114, do
(11) The requirements of TEC, §28.004, to have
a school health advisory council do not apply, but the special purpose
school district shall:
(A) comply with the provisions of TEC, §28.004,
with regard to the parameters of health education and curriculum materials;
posting, notice, and grievance provisions; and consideration of related
(B) require that the advisory board solicit community
and parental input and develop recommendations regarding the subject
matter of TEC, §28.004(c)(1), (2)(A) and (D)-(H), and (3)-(6).
(12) Financial accountability and fiscal management
under TEC, Chapters 39 and 44, shall apply as if the special purpose
school district were a university charter school, and the special
purpose school district's public funds must be maintained in a manner
that allows auditing of the public funds separate from other funds.
(j) The provisions of this section apply to each special
purpose school district's operation for educating students eligible
for enrollment in Texas public schools who enroll in the state-funded
special purpose school district. This section does not apply to a
tuition-based program operated in tandem with the state-funded program.
However, the school operations that include Texas students are subject
to subsection (l) of this section.
(1) A parent of a Texas student may voluntarily decide
to enroll a student in the tuition-based program.
(2) The special purpose school district shall biannually
report student attendance in its state-funded school and Texas student
attendance in its tuition-supported school. Information shall be provided
to ensure that student participation does not disadvantage any student
group from access to the state-funded school.
(k) Each special purpose school district shall submit
to the SBOE by September 1 of each odd-numbered year an updated list
by section of the TEC, Title I and Title II, with recommendations
regarding which sections of the code should apply or not apply to
the operations of its schools. The submission must compare the recommendations
to the list last provided to the SBOE.
(l) If the special purpose school district declines
FSP payment, the special purpose school district is authorized to
charge tuition and is subject to:
(1) accreditation, academic assessment, academic and
financial accountability, and interventions under TEC, Chapters 39
and 39A; and
(2) reporting requirements imposed by the Texas Education
(m) The parent university of each special purpose school
district shall submit nominations for and establish an advisory board
as soon as practicable, and the provisions of this section that require
the special purpose school district to develop a policy apply beginning
with the 2021-2022 school year.