Recent Legislation affecting Special Education
SENATE BILL 139
In 2019, The 86th Texas Legislature Passed Senate Bill 139 (SB 139), Which Requires Texas Local Education Agencies (LEAs) To Distribute The Following Notice To Parents:
The contact person on each campus is the principal and campus diagnostician.
Additionally, we provide other opportunities to request information about our child find (referral) process, see below:
- If your child is age 3 to age 6 and is not enrolled in one of our elementary campuses, and you are concerned about his/her development, behavior, emotional, or physical health.
- If your child is school age and attending one of our campuses, and you are concerned about his/her development, behavior, emotional, or physical health.
A parent or guardian has the right to request a special education evaluation at any time.
The LEA has posted to its website documents in English / Spanish from the TEA regarding how parents of students with disabilities can request compensatory services for students who were previously denied an appropriate Full Individual and Initial Evaluation (FIIE) or whose FIIE was delayed.
The LEA has posted the information required for compliance with Senate Bill 139 on the LEA's website.
HOUSE BILL 4545
House Bill 4545 Recently Passed In The 87th Regular Legislative Session.
The new statute is effective, as of June 16, 2021, with accelerated instruction practices required during the 2021-2022 school year for all students, based on results from Spring 2021. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) will be providing support and guidance for local education agencies (LEAs) during the summer in a few venues:
- This TAA provides highlights from the statute and some detail on how to interpret the implementation timeline and requirements.
- Along with this TAA, the TEA is releasing a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document that will be continually updated and will provide more detailed guidance.
- The TEA will be releasing a series of webinars over the summer to share more detailed guidance and provide an opportunity for Q&A.
- The TEA will release best practices resources over the summer to support implementation, including accelerated learning committee, local board policy, high-impact tutoring resources, and parent engagement guidance and tools.
HB 4545 establishes new requirements for accelerated instruction for students who do not pass the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR). At a high level, the legislation includes:
- Elimination of grade retention and retesting requirements in grades 5 and 8
- For any student who does not pass the STAAR test in grade 3, 5, or 8 in math or reading, a new LEA requirement to establish an accelerated learning committee to develop an individual educational plan for the student and monitor progress
- For any student who does not pass the STAAR test in grades 3-8 or STAAR (EOC) end-of-course assessments, clarification of prior accelerated instruction requirements, specifying that it must include either:
- Being assigned a classroom teacher who is a certified master, exemplary, or recognized teacher or
- Receiving supplemental instruction (tutoring) before or after school, or embedded in the school day.
SENATE BILL 89
Senate Bill (SB) 89, Passed During The 87th Regular Texas Legislative Session, Was Signed Into Law On June 7, 2021, By Governor Abbott, And Took Effect Immediately.
Known as the COVID-19 Special Education Recovery Act, SB 89 amended the Texas Education Code by adding §29.0052. The COVID-19 Special Education Recovery Act is intended to help local education agencies (LEAs) identify and address special education and related service interruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic. The act requires that the Individualized Education Program (IEP) of each student enrolled in an LEA’s special education program during the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year include certain documentation.
No later than May 1, 2022, Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) committees must complete a required supplement as a written statement included in the child’s IEP.
The required supplement must include the following information:
- If applicable, whether the written report of the student’s full individual and initial evaluation (FIIE) was completed during the 2019-2020 or the 2020-2021 school year and, if so, whether the report was completed by the required date;
- If applicable, whether the student’s initial IEP was developed during the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year and, if so, whether the program was developed by the required date;
- For all students with an IEP, whether the provision of special education and related services to a student under their IEP during the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year was interrupted, reduced, delayed, suspended, or discontinued; and
- Whether compensatory educational services are appropriate for the student based on the above information, or any other factors. While the required content must be included with the written statement of the IEP, the specific location and format of the information may be determined locally. Documentation of the required elements of SB 89 may be included within the ARD committee deliberations and/or as a supplemental form that is included as part of the ARD committee paperwork.
If the student’s ARD committee documented all required information in the written statement of the IEP during the 2020-2021 school year, then the ARD committee is not required to prepare an additional supplement for this purpose.
For information about required FIIE timelines and the initial provision of special education and related services as required under 19 Texas Administrative Code, §89.1011, see Special Education FIIE timelines and Frequently Asked Questions.
For information about compensatory services, please refer to the Students with Disabilities Planning Supports Guidebook 2020-2021 and Considerations for Extended School Year and Compensatory Services for Students with Disabilities During and After Texas School Closures Due to COVID-19.