By Hochberg                                            H.B. No. 756
         Line and page numbers may not match official copy.
         Bill not drafted by TLC or Senate E&E.
                                A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 1-1                                   AN ACT
 1-2     relating to a pilot project to study electronic courses for public
 1-3     school students.
 1-5           SECTION 1.  Chapter 28, Education Code, is amended by adding
 1-6     Section 28.027 to read as follows:
 1-7           Sec. 28.027.  PILOT PROJECT ON ELECTRONIC COURSES. (a)  In
 1-8     this section, "electronic course" means a course:
 1-9                 (1)  made available to students through the Internet or
1-10     through electronic media; and
1-11                 (2)  in which a student is not physically present in
1-12     the classroom for all or part of the course.
1-13           (b)  The commissioner shall create a pilot project to study
1-14     issues related to the security, viability, costs, and benefits of
1-15     state funding of electronic courses offered by school districts to
1-16     Texas public school students who are voluntarily enrolled in the
1-17     courses.
1-18           (c)  A school district may apply to the commissioner to be
1-19     accepted in the pilot project by a deadline, set by the
1-20     commissioner, which shall be no later than January 1, 2002.  In its
1-21     application, the district:
1-22                 (1)  may request a waiver of a requirement,
 2-1     restriction, or prohibition imposed by this code or rule of the
 2-2     board or commissioner; and
 2-3                 (2)  shall provide a detailed plan, including a budget,
 2-4     student attendance verification methodology, accountability plan,
 2-5     descriptions of populations of Texas public school students to be
 2-6     served, length of time of the effectiveness of the waiver, and
 2-7     descriptions of the course or courses to be offered.
 2-8           (d)  The commissioner shall implement the pilot project no
 2-9     later than May 1, 2002.  To allow maximum flexibility in funding
2-10     attendance, the commissioner may waive a requirement, restriction,
2-11     or prohibition relating to the calculation of daily attendance that
2-12     would prevent the implementation of the pilot.
2-13           (e)  The commissioner may limit the number of districts
2-14     participating in the pilot, but shall include rural and urban
2-15     school districts with disproportionate numbers of at-risk youths or
2-16     with high dropout rates.
2-17           (f)  The commissioner may consult the comptroller, Department
2-18     of Information Resources, or other state agency, board, or
2-19     commission for assistance regarding technical standards for
2-20     auditing and verifying attendance in the electronic courses.
2-21           (g)  The commissioner shall report to the Legislature, no
2-22     later than December 1, 2002, on issues including:
2-23                 (1)  methods for funding electronic courses and the
2-24     fiscal costs or benefits of such methods;
2-25                 (2)  the laws or rules waived for districts
2-26     participating in the electronic courses pilot project and the laws
 3-1     and rules requested to be waived by any district applying;
 3-2                 (3)  methods for verifying electronic attendance, such
 3-3     as biometric attendance;
 3-4                 (4)  security of providing electronic courses and any
 3-5     privacy issues encountered; and
 3-6                 (5)  educational benefits of the electronic courses.
 3-7           (h)  Subsection (g) shall expire December 31, 2002.
 3-8           SECTION 2.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
 3-9     a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
3-10     provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this
3-11     Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
3-12     Act takes effect September 1, 2001.