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  1. 1. Public School Law Overview of Education Law, Texas Schools, & Parent Rights William Allan Kritsonis, PhD
  2. 2. Sources of Law <ul><li>Constitutional: Federal and State </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Supreme law of the land </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Statutory </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Law enacted by a legislative body </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Texas Education Code (applies to the daily operation of school) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>State Board of Education (SBOE) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Texas Education Agency (TEA) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>School Boards, Charter Schools, School personnel </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Administrative </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Implements the state and federal statutory laws </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Judicial </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Composed of state and federal court decisions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Final say over disputes between constitutional statute and administrative laws </li></ul></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Constitutional Law <ul><li>Sources </li></ul><ul><li>Tenth Amendment to U.S. Constitution </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Bill of Rights & 14 th Amendment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Protects certain civil liberties of employees and students in the public schools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Texas Constitution of 1876 & Bill of Rights </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Authorizes the state legislature to support and maintain an efficient system of public free schools and provides fro individual civil liberties </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Statutory Law <ul><li>Acts of Congress </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Guarantee various civil rights and establish the conditions which states and political subdivisions receive federal funds. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Acts of Texas Legislature (Texas Education Code) </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sets up the SBOE and TEA to carry out limited educational functions. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Actual operation of schools left to school districts </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>School districts and personnel are part of the state </li></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Administrative Law <ul><li>Federal administrative regulations </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>TEA and local school districts must comply with the regulations set forth by federal educational agencies implementing federal statutes </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Policies and rulings by school boards, Texas Commissioner of Education, and SBOE </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Policies, rules, and appeal decisions are classified as administrative law </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Judicial Law <ul><li>Decisions of state courts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Any aggrieved person can appeal an adverse administrative ruling from the commissioner into state courts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Decisions of federal courts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lowest federal court is the district court </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>13 Appellate federal courts (TX: 5 th Circuit) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The U.S. Constitution provides that any state action, law, or constitutional provision that conflicts with the Constitution or a federal law is null and void. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Overall Structure of Texas Administrative Law (Fig. 1, pg. 7) State Board of Education State Commissioner of Education Local School District Local School Board State Commissioner Of Education RULES POLICIES AND REGULATIONS COMPLAINTS APPEALS State Court Administrator, Teachers, Students, Parents Administrator, Teachers, Students, Parents
  8. 8. Structure and Governance of the Texas School System <ul><li>Texas Legislature </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Responsible for the structure and operation of TX public school system </li></ul></ul><ul><li>State Board of Education and the Texas Education Agency </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1995 SBOE separated from TEA by TX legislature </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Elected body of 15 members </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>TEA composed of TX Commissioner of Education </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Local School Districts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Governed by the local board of trustees </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Charter Schools </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Operates relatively free of state regulation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Home-Rule District Charter, Campus Charter, Open-Enrollment Charter </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Private Schools </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925): all students are not required to attend public schools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Protects parent right to choose </li></ul></ul><ul><li>School Administrators </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Superintendent: Chief Operating Officer of public school district, responsible for implementing policies of the board </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Principal: Frontline administrator; statutory responsibility; under the direction of superintendent to administer the day-to-day operations of the school </li></ul></ul><ul><li>District and Campus Level Decision-Making </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Campus Improvement Plan (CIP) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS): identifies how campus goals will be met </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. How the U.S. Constitution and Federal Government Affect TX Schools <ul><li>Federal Statutes that directly affect the day-to-day operations of Texas Public Schools, some also apply to private schools </li></ul><ul><li>42 U.S.C §1981: Right to make and enforce contracts free of racial discrimination in both the public and private sectors. </li></ul><ul><li>42 U.S.C §1983: Allows suits for injunctive relief and compensatory damages against public school districts that through policy or practice deprive person of US constitutional and federal statutory rights. </li></ul><ul><li>Civil Rights Act of the 1964 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Title VI-Prohibits intentional discrimination in federal assisted programs. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Title VII- prohibits discrimination in public and private employment </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967: Prohibits discrimination of persons forty or over unless age is a bona fide qualification necessary to carry out job responsibilities. </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990: accords persons with disabilities meaningful access to the programs and facilities of public and private schools as well as most businesses in the country. Also prohibits discrimination in public and private employment, and requires employers to make reasonable accommodation for disabled persons to enable them to perform the job. </li></ul><ul><li>Individuals with Disabilities Education Act: requires schools to identify children with disabilities and provide them a free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. Works in conjunction with §504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act. </li></ul><ul><li>Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments: prohibits discrimination against persons on the basis of sex in any federally assisted education program. </li></ul><ul><li>No Child Left Behind Act: attempts to raise student achievement levels by holding states and school districts to strict accountability standards. All students must make adequate yearly progress and all students will be on performing at grade-level by 2013-2014. </li></ul><ul><li>Equal Access Act: Provides the exclusive means fro students to engage in religious expression on school. </li></ul><ul><li>Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act aka FERPA (Buckley Amendment): regulates student record-keeping activities by giving parents and students access to student records, the right to challenge material contained therein, and the right to restrict disclosure of personally identifiable information. </li></ul>
  11. 11. School Finance <ul><li>Shared arrangement between state and local school districts. </li></ul><ul><li>1876: Texas Legislature established the Available School Fund with funding provided on a per capita basis. </li></ul><ul><li>1949: Gilmer-Aikin Bill established Minimum Foundation Program (MFP), through which state funds were distributed by a complicated economic index. </li></ul><ul><li>1973: San Antonio I.S.D. v. Rodriguez argued that MFP violated 14 th amendment. U.S. Supreme Court ruled it constitutional, urges TX to develop a more equitable system. </li></ul><ul><li>1993: TX determines state and local funding levels for public education through a system of formulas known as Foundation School Program (FSP). This was a response to judicial mandates of the Edgewood school finance lawsuit. </li></ul><ul><li>1997: TX added a new instructional facility allotment to the state system of school finance </li></ul><ul><li>1999: TX legislature adjusted program to help school districts pay for old debt as well as debt for new instructional facilities. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Edgewood ISD Cases <ul><li>1989 (Edgewood I) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Texas Supreme Court ruled finance system unconstitutional. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Edgewood ISD v. Kirby </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>1991 (Edgewood II) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Texas Supreme Court ruled new finance system established in 1990 unconstitutional because it did not correct deficiencies noted in Edgewood I. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Edgewood IIF1/2—TSC refuses to overrule 1931 decision prohibiting use of local property taxes outside the district. Suggest tax base consolidation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>1992 (Edgewood III) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>TSC declares CED unconstitutional </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD v. Edgewood ISD </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>1995 (Edgewood IV) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>TSC declares Robin Hood plan constitutional </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Edgewood ISD v. Meno </li></ul></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Basic Elements of Texas Public Finance System May offer homestead exemption up to 20% Local funding almost exclusively from property taxes 5% from co-curricular revenue, interest income, and misc. local funds Base funding level for all students at a local rate of $0.86 per $100 of property value Guaranteed yield mechanism State guarantees school districts a yield of $21 per student for every $0.01 of tax above $0.86 Yield rose to $24.70 in 1999
  14. 14. Tax & Spending Limits <ul><li>School district property tax rates have two components </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Maintenance and operations tax rate (M&O) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Funds administrative and operational costs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Limited to $1.50 per $100 assessed valuation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interest and sinking rate (I&S) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Aka—debt service rate which is used for facilities construction and renovation. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Districts permitted to adopt up to $0.50 of I&S taxes at the time bonds are issued. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Source: Clark, pg. 3 http://nces.ed.gov/edfin/pdf/StFinance/Texas.pdf </li></ul></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Additional Finance Information <ul><li>General Revenue Fund (GRF) </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Finances state’s share of education budget </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>55% provided by sales tax </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>45% comes from other tax sources </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Corporate franchise, motor fuels, natural gas & oil, “sin” taxes, insurance & utility, lottery. (1999 sources) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Categories for fund appropriation </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Foundation School Fund—largest fund (~ $14.8 billion) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Available School Fund (comprised of Permanent School fund and 25% of motor fuels tax) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>State Textbook Fund </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Technology allotment (purchase computers, other technology, teacher training—distributed at a rate of $30 per pupil </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Remainder of fund distributed according to student population; in 1999 $277 per student. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Source: Clark, pg. 6 http://nces.ed.gov/edfin/pdf/StFinance/Texas.pdf </li></ul></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Foundation School Program <ul><li>Foundation School Program (FSP): State and local funds for public education in Texas are allocated through a system of formulas known collectively as the FSP. Consists of two Tiers. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tier 1—foundation program that includes adjustments and weights designed to distribute funding according to the characteristics of the school district and its students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tier 2—a guaranteed yield program that guarantees school districts the equivalent of $210K in taxable property wealth per weighted student </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Source: Clark, pg. 6 http://nces.ed.gov/edfin/pdf/StFinance/Texas.pdf </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>Students in average daily attendance (ADA) </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Many components of school funding and finance are expressed on a per “weighted ADA” (WADA) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>WADA is determined by taking the total Foundation School Program (FSP) allotment, subtracting the transportation allotment and ½ the adjustment attributable to the Cost of Education Index (CEI) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>In 1998-1999 school year Basic Allotment (BA) was $2,396 per student. </li></ul><ul><li>Source: Clark, pg. 6 http://nces.ed.gov/edfin/pdf/StFinance/Texas.pdf </li></ul>
  18. 18. House Bill 3646 (2009) <ul><li>“ CSHB 3646 would amend the calculation of the basic allotment, guaranteed yield allotment, and equalized wealth level, tying them to the statewide average property value. All formula calculations would use a school district’s current year taxable property value. All midsize school districts, regardless of property wealth, would be eligible for the small and midsize school district adjustment within the formula.” </li></ul><ul><li>Sources: http://www.hro.house.state.tx.us/PDF/ba81r/HB3646.PDF </li></ul>
  19. 19. Parent Rights <ul><li>1923—USC ruled that parents have a constitutionally protected right to control their children’s upbringing </li></ul><ul><li>Constitutional law does not generally support parents rights, however, Texas statutory law provides significant support. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>TEC §4.001) states, “Parents will be full partners with educators in the education of their children.” </li></ul></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Texas Education Code Chapter 26 Parental Rights and Responsibilities (1995) <ul><li>Term “parent” includes a person standing in a parental relationship. Does not include a person whose parental rights have been terminated by a court order. </li></ul><ul><li>Purpose of Ch. 26: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Parents are partners with educators, administrators, and school district boards of trustees in their children’s education. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rights in Ch. 26 are not exclusive, does not limit parent rights under other law. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Parental rights may not be limited, unless otherwise provided by law. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Board of trustees will provides for procedures to consider complaints that a parent’s rights have been denied. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Board of trustees will aid in establishing at least one parent-teacher organization at each school in the district to promote parental involvement in school activities. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/statutes/docs/ED/content/pdf/ed.002.00.000026.00.pdf </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Rights Concerning Academic Programs (TEC §26.003) <ul><li>Parent is entitled to: </li></ul><ul><li>Petition the board to have their child placed at a particular school or to contest the school assignment </li></ul><ul><li>Request a designated school administrator to have their child reassigned from a particular class or teacher </li></ul><ul><li>Request addition of a specific academic class; student to be permitted to attend a class for credit above student grade level (whether at home school or not), </li></ul><ul><li>Student to graduate early an participate in graduation ceremonies if all credit requirements have been met. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Rights Concerning State Virtual School Network TEC §26.031 <ul><li>Parent entitled to be notified by district of the option to enroll in an electronic course offered through the state virtual school network </li></ul><ul><li>School district may not unreasonably deny request of a parent to enroll student in an electronic course </li></ul>
  23. 23. Access to Student Records (TEC §26.004) <ul><li>A parent is entitled access to all written records of a school district concerning the parent’s child. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Attendance records </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Test scores (TEC §26.005 also gives parents access to a copy of the state assessment instrument administered to their child) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Grades </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Disciplinary records </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Counseling records </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Psychological records </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Applications for admission </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Health and immunization information </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Teacher and counselor evaluations </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Reports of behavioral patterns </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  24. 24. Access to Teaching Materials (TEC §26.006) <ul><li>Parents entitled to: </li></ul><ul><li>Review all teaching materials, textbooks, and teaching aids used in the classroom </li></ul><ul><li>Review each test administered to the student, after the test is administered </li></ul><ul><li>Request the district/ school to allow the student to take home any textbook used by the student (subject to availability) </li></ul>
  25. 25. Access to Board Meetings and Right to Full Information Concerning Student (TEC §26.007 & 26.008) <ul><li>Parent is entitled to complete access to any meeting of the board of trustees and the board must hold public meetings in the boundaries of the district </li></ul><ul><li>Parent is entitled to full information regarding school activities of a parent’s child </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>An attempt by any school district employee to encourage a coerce a child to withhold information from the child’s parent is grounds for discipline </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  26. 26. Other Rights Guaranteed under TEC Chapter 26 <ul><li>Right to information concerning special education and education of students with learning difficulties. (TEC §26.0081) </li></ul><ul><li>Requests for public information. (TEC §26.0085) </li></ul><ul><li>Consent required for certain activities. (TEC §26.009) </li></ul><ul><li>Refusal of psychiatric or psychological treatment of child as basis of report of neglect. (TEC §26.0091) </li></ul><ul><li>Exemption from instruction (TEC §26.010) </li></ul><ul><li>Complaints (Grievance process established by the board) (TEC §26.011) </li></ul><ul><li>Fee for Copies (TEC §26.012) </li></ul><ul><li>Student Directory Information (TEC §26.013) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Written explanation of the provisions of FERPA of 1974 </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. Choosing Private Schools <ul><li>State cannot require all children to attend public school. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Court unanimous decision ruled that such a law, “unreasonably interferes with the liberty of parents and guardians to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control.” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Texas compulsory education law provides an exemption if the child “attends a private or parochial school that includes in its course a study of good citizenship.” (TEC §25.086) </li></ul>
  28. 28. Educating Children at Home <ul><li>The word “school” is not defined in the Texas compulsory education statute. </li></ul><ul><li>Home school curriculum must meet basic educational goals of reading, mathematics, spelling, grammar, and good citizenship. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Attendance officers are permitted to make reasonable inquiry of parents to determine whether a child is in attendance in a home school that meets the requirements approved by the court. They can request information about the students, curriculum, and test scores if they exist. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Home schooled and students who attend unaccredited private schools can be required to take placement tests upon transferring to a public school. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  29. 29. References <ul><li>Clark, Catherine (n.d.). Texas Center for Education Research. Retrieved June 20, 2009, from Texas Web site: http://nces.ed.gov/edfin/pdf/StFinance/Texas.pdf </li></ul><ul><li>Hochberg, et al., (2001, May 11). HB 3646. Retrieved June 20, 2009, from House Research Organization Bill Analysis Web site: http://www.hro.house.state.tx.us/PDF/ba81r/HB3646.PDF </li></ul><ul><li>Texas 74th Legislature, (1995, May 30). Texas Constitution and Statutes. Retrieved June 20, 2009, from Education Code Web site: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/SOTWDocs/ED/pdf/ED.26.pdf </li></ul><ul><li>Walsh, J, F. Kemerer, & L. Maniotis (2007). The educator's guide to texas school law: 6th edition . Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. </li></ul>
  30. 30. Acknowledgements <ul><li>Wisconsin v. Yoder </li></ul><ul><li>Swanson v. Guthrie ISD </li></ul><ul><li>Rebecca Bechtold </li></ul><ul><li>Hubbard v. Buffalo ISD </li></ul><ul><li>Barrow v. Greenville ISD </li></ul><ul><li>Michele Bickham </li></ul><ul><li>Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510( 1925) </li></ul><ul><li>Power point and additional research </li></ul><ul><li>Soul Singh </li></ul>