Home-Rule School Districts Background Home-rule school districts (HRDs) were authorized by the Texas Legislature in 1995 as a way to allow local voters to free their own district from many state mandates. To date, there have been no attempts to create an HRD in Texas. Some people point to the high voter turnout requirement as the reason. 1 Others point to the wholesale change in district governance under the HRD statute, away from an elected school board, as the reason no HRDs have been created. Creating a Home-Rule School District Step 1: Trigger. A Board of trustees must create a charter commission to frame a home-rule charter if (1) the board receives a petition signed by at least 5 percent of registered voters or (2) at least two-thirds of the board adopts a resolution ordering the appointment of a charter commission. 2 Step 2: Charter Commission. The board must appoint a charter commission composed of 15 district residents within 30 days of the board’s receipt of the petition/board resolution. The commission must reflect the demographic diversity of the district, and a majority of the members must be parents of school-age children in the public schools. At least 25 percent of the membership must be teachers selected by professional district staff. The commission is a governmental body subject to the Open Meetings and Open Records acts. 3 Step 3: Charter Content. The charter commission has one year to draft a charter that describes the educational program to be offered by the HRD; that the continuation of the charter is contingent upon acceptable student performance and compliance with the state’s accountability provisions; the governing structure; the basis for probation or revocation; the district’s health and safety procedures; the budgeting process, including the use of special program funds; and annual financial and programmatic audit procedures, including the manner in which the district will provide Public Education Information Management System data to the Texas Education Agency and any other information the commission considers necessary. 4 Step 4: Charter Review. The charter commission must submit the proposed charter to the secretary of state (SOS) who must determine if the charter contains a change to the governance of the district. If it does, the SOS must notify the school board. The board must then submit the proposed change to the US Department of Justice or the US District Court for Washington, DC, for preclearance under the Voting Rights Act. The commission also must submit the proposed charter to the commissioner of education who, within 30 days, must ensure that the charter complies with any applicable laws and recommend any modifications necessary. 5 1 The current requirement was established to ensure “sufficient” community support for the conversion of the entire district to a HRD, since many communities have only one school district and parents may have no other options. 2 Texas Education Code (TEC) § 12.014. 3 TEC § 12.014. 4 TEC § 12.016. 5 TEC § 12.017–.018. © 2012 Texas Association of School Boards • All rights reserved. Step 5: Election. As soon as practicable after the commissioner approves the charter, the board must order an election to be held on the first uniform election date that occurs at least 45 days after the date the election is ordered. The charter must be approved by majority vote in an election where at least 25 percent of registered voters in the district vote. An amendment to an existing charter must be adopted by majority vote in an election where at least 20 percent of registered voters in the district vote. 6 Step 6: Adoption. Within 10 days of canvassing the election results, the governing body of the HRD must enter an order declaring the charter adopted and, as soon as practicable, shall notify the commissioner of education and the SOS of the outcome of the election. The SOS must file and record the certification. 7 Governance Structure An HRD may adopt and operate under any governing structure. The HRD may create offices, determine the time/method for selecting officers, and prescribe the qualifications and duties of officers. Any officer term (three or four years) is determined through the procedure applicable to all school districts. 8 Legal Status An HRD has the powers and entitlements granted to independent school districts and school boards under the Texas Education Code, including taxing authority. 9 General Waiver of Laws An HRD is subject to federal and state laws and rules governing school districts, except an HRD is only subject to the Education Code where specifically provided (see below). HRDs also are only subject to the rules of the State Board of Education and commissioner of education if the statue authorizing the rule specifically applies to HRDs. An employee of an HRD who qualifies for membership in the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) is covered by TRS to the same extent that school district employees are covered. 10 Education Code Provisions Applicable to HRDs • • • • • • • • • • Criminal offenses PEIMS reporting requirements, as determined applicable to HRDs by the education commissioner Limitations on liability Criminal history background checks Teacher certification, associational rights, and dues checkoff Extracurricular activities (No pass, no play) TRS laws and rules Admissions, compulsory attendance/exemptions, and excused absences Interdistrict and intercounty transfers Health and safety provisions: immunizations, coordinated school health program, administration of prescription drugs, automated external defibrillators, and FitnessGram 6 TEC § 12.019. TEC § 12.021. 8 TEC § 12.025. 9 TEC § 12.013. 10 TEC § 12.012. 7 © 2012 Texas Association of School Boards • All rights reserved. Education Code Provisions NOT Applicable to HRDs • • • • • • • • • • Campus and class assignment and transfer mandates Governance laws (including terms, office, and joint elections) State-minimum salary schedule Counseling program and ratios Teacher contracts (including hearing and notice requirements for terminations and nonrenewals) Appraisal requirements Minimum days of service, planning, and preparation time; duty-free lunch Leaves of absence Professional development requirements Uniform school start date, minimum length of school year (180 instructional days), minimum length of school day (7 hours), and minimum attendance for class credit (90% of class days) • • • • • • • • Elementary class size limits (22:1) (only if any campus in the district is rated academically unacceptable) High school graduation requirements (e.g., 4x4) State laws applicable to Special and bilingual education and prekindergarten Bus safety standards and 15-passenger van requirements (Note: Transportation Code provisions on school buses, including three-point seat belts, also apply) Accountability laws, including: assessment, accreditation, financial accountability, intervention and sanctions, and parent/student reports District and campus distinctions, excellence exemptions, and successful schools awards School finance laws (Foundation School Program, facilities programs, bond guarantee programs, equalized wealth level, and school depositories) Purchasing laws • • • Curriculum requirements, creation of a local school health advisory council (SHAC), health instruction, dual-credit requirements, and district grading policy requirements State compensatory education, career and technical education, gifted and talented programs, Public Education Grant (PEG) Program, driver education, and military education Student discipline (except criminal offenses), multihazard operations plan, and placement of registered sex offenders 83rd Legislative Session HRD proponents claim that HRDs will be more cost efficient and better able than traditional public school districts to implement virtual schooling and other education reforms. Given the state’s budget constraints, it is likely that the 83rd Legislature will consider bills that would make it less onerous to charter an HRD. © 2012 Texas Association of School Boards • All rights reserved.
Link or Click Back
Here will be a configuration form