Texas Register Preamble
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) proposes an amendment to §109.1001, concerning financial accountability ratings. The proposed amendment would update financial accountability rating information and rating worksheets for school districts and open-enrollment charter schools, including adjustments required under Texas Education Code (TEC), §39.087, as added by House Bill (HB) 1525, 87th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2021.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND JUSTIFICATION: Section 109.1001 includes the financial accountability rating system and rating worksheets that explain the indicators that TEA will analyze to assign financial accountability ratings for school districts and open-enrollment charter schools. The rule also specifies the minimum financial accountability rating information that a school district or an open-enrollment charter school is to report to parents and taxpayers in the district.
The proposed amendment would clarify the financial accountability rating indicators terminology used to determine each school district's and charter school's rating for the 2020-2021 rating year and subsequent years by revising the ratings worksheet calculations in §109.1001(e)(5) and (f)(5). The proposed amendment would also include terminology clarifications to the rating worksheets in §109.1001(e)(5) and (f)(5). The proposed worksheets, dated October 2021, would differ from the current worksheets, dated April 2020, as follows.
Figure: 19 TAC §109.1001(e)(5)
A statement would be added that indicator 5 will not be utilized for the 2020-2021 rating year.
Indicator 15 would be revised to clarify terminology that aligns with the calculation used to score the indicator when the average daily attendance of the school district is greater than the allotted range. The "Determination of Points" chart in the worksheet would be revised to add the arithmetic symbol for "less than or equal to" to each of the ratios disclosed in the allotted range table of indicator 15.
The "Determination of rating based on meeting ceiling criteria" description section would be revised to remove the word "on" from the description of ceiling indicator 5 to provide greater clarity of the indicator's description.
Figure: 19 TAC §109.1001(f)(5)
Indicator 13 would be revised to remove the use of unrestricted net assets in the calculation and insert the use of total net assets in the calculation.
A statement would be added that indicator 21 will not be utilized for the 2020-2021 rating year.
FISCAL IMPACT: Leo Lopez, associate commissioner for school finance, has determined that for the first five-year period the proposal is in effect there are no additional costs to state or local government, including school districts and open-enrollment charter schools, required to comply with the proposal.
LOCAL EMPLOYMENT IMPACT: The proposal has no effect on local economy; therefore, no local employment impact statement is required under Texas Government Code, §2001.022.
SMALL BUSINESS, MICROBUSINESS, AND RURAL COMMUNITY IMPACT: The proposal has no direct adverse economic impact for small businesses, microbusinesses, or rural communities; therefore, no regulatory flexibility analysis, specified in Texas Government Code, §2006.002, is required.
COST INCREASE TO REGULATED PERSONS: The proposal does not impose a cost on regulated persons, another state agency, a special district, or a local government and, therefore, is not subject to Texas Government Code, §2001.0045.
TAKINGS IMPACT ASSESSMENT: The proposal does not impose a burden on private real property and, therefore, does not constitute a taking under Texas Government Code, §2007.043.
GOVERNMENT GROWTH IMPACT: TEA staff prepared a Government Growth Impact Statement assessment for this proposed rulemaking. During the first five years the proposed rulemaking would be in effect, it would expand an existing regulation by clarifying terminology used to define FIRST indicators.
The proposed rulemaking would not create or eliminate a government program; would not require the creation of new employee positions or elimination of existing employee positions; would not require an increase or decrease in future legislative appropriations to the agency; would not require an increase or decrease in fees paid to the agency; would not create a new regulation; would not limit or repeal an existing regulation; would not increase or decrease the number of individuals subject to its applicability; and would not positively or adversely affect the state's economy.
PUBLIC BENEFIT AND COST TO PERSONS: Mr. Lopez has determined that for each year of the first five years the proposal is in effect, the public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing the proposal would be ensuring that the provisions of the financial accountability rating system align to make the indicators uniform for all school districts and charter schools and providing a fair and equitable rating for all school districts and charter schools. There is no anticipated economic cost to persons who are required to comply with the proposal.
DATA AND REPORTING IMPACT: The proposal would have no data and reporting impact.
PRINCIPAL AND CLASSROOM TEACHER PAPERWORK REQUIREMENTS: TEA has determined that the proposal would not require a written report or other paperwork to be completed by a principal or classroom teacher.
PUBLIC COMMENTS: The public comment period on the proposal begins September 3, 2021, and ends October 4, 2021. A request for a public hearing on the proposal submitted under the Administrative Procedure Act must be received by the commissioner of education not more than 14 calendar days after notice of the proposal has been published in the Texas Register on September 3, 2021. A form for submitting public comments is available on the TEA website at https://tea.texas.gov/About_TEA/Laws_and_Rules/Commissioner_Rules_(TAC)/Proposed_Commissioner_of_Education_Rules/.
STATUTORY AUTHORITY. The amendment is proposed under Texas Education Code (TEC), §12.104, as amended by Senate Bill (SB) 1365, 87th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2021, subjects open-enrollment charter schools to the prohibitions, restrictions, or requirements relating to public school accountability and special investigations under TEC, Chapter 39, Subchapters A, B, C, D, F, G, and J, and TEC, Chapter 39A; TEC, §39.082, which requires the commissioner to develop and implement a financial accountability rating system for public schools and establishes certain minimum requirements for the system, including an appeals process; TEC, §39.083, which requires the commissioner to include in the financial accountability system procedures for public schools to report and receive public comment on an annual financial management report; TEC, §39.085, which requires the commissioner to adopt rules to implement TEC, Chapter 39, Subchapter D, which addresses financial accountability for public schools; TEC, §39.087, as added by House Bill 1525, 87th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2021, which requires the commissioner to adjust the financial accountability rating system under TEC, §39.082, to account for the impact of financial practices necessary as a response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, including adjustments required to account for federal funding and funding adjustments under TEC, Chapter 48, Subchapter F; and TEC, §39.151, as amended by SB 1365, 87th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2021, which requires the commissioner to provide a process by which a district or charter school can challenge an agency decision related to academic or financial accountability under TEC, Chapter 39, including a determination of consecutive school years of unacceptable performance ratings. This process must include a committee to make recommendations to the commissioner. These provisions collectively authorize and require the commissioner to adopt the financial accountability system rules, which implement each requirement of statute applicable to districts and open-enrollment charter schools.
CROSS REFERENCE TO STATUTE. The amendment implements Texas Education Code, §§12.104, as amended by Senate Bill (SB) 1365, 87th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2021; 39.082; 39.083; 39.085; 39.087, as added by House Bill 1525, 87th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2021; and 39.151, as amended by SB 1365, 87th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2021.
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