By:  Oliveira                                                     H.B. No. 2184

relating to the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science at The University of Texas at Brownsville. BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS: SECTION 1. Subchapter F, Chapter 78 Education Code, is amended by adding Section 78.10 to read as follows: Sec. 78.10 TEXAS ACADEMY OF MATHEMATICS AND SCIENCE (a) In this section: (1) "Academy" means the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science. (2) "Board" means the board of regents of The University of Texas System (3) "University" means The University of Texas at Brownsville. (b) The Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science Studies is a division of The University of Texas at Brownsville and is under the management and control of the board. The academy serves the following purposes: (1) to provide academically qualified and motivated junior and senior high school students with a challenging university-level curriculum that: (A) allows students to complete high school graduation requirements, including requirements adopted under Section 28.025 for the advanced high school program, while attending for academic credit a public institution of higher education; (B) fosters students' knowledge of real-world mathematics and science issues and applications and teaches students to apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills to those issues and problems; (C) includes the study of English, foreign languages, social studies, mathematics, science and technology; and (D) offers students learning opportunities related to mathematics and science through in-depth research and field-based studies; (2) to provide students with an awareness of mathematics and science careers and professional development opportunities through seminars, workshops, collaboration with postsecondary and university students including opportunities for summer studies, internships in foreign countries, and similar methods; and (3) to provide students with social development activities that enrich the academic curriculum and student life, including, as determined appropriate by the academy, University Interscholastic League activities and other extracurricular activities. (c) The academy is a coeducational institution for selected Texas high school students with an interest in and the potential to excel in mathematics and science studies. The academy shall admit only high school juniors and seniors, except that the academy may admit a student with exceptional abilities who is not yet a high school junior. The board shall set aside adequate space on the campus of The University of Texas at Brownsville to operate the academy and implement the purposes of this section. The academy must operate on the same fall and spring semester basis as the university. Full-time students of the academy must enroll for both the fall and spring semesters. Faculty members of the university shall teach all academic classes at the academy. A student of the academy may attend a college course offered by the university and receive college credit for that course. (d) Except as otherwise provided by this subsection, the university administration has the same powers and duties with respect to the academy that the administration has with respect to the university. The board shall consult with the vice president for Academic Affairs and the dean of the School of Education and other members of the administration as the board considers necessary concerning the academy's administrative design and support, personnel and student issues, and faculty development. The board shall consult with the dean of the College of Science, Mathematics and Technology and other members of the administration as the board considers necessary concerning the academy's curriculum development, program design, and general faculty issues. The board, in consultation with university administration, shall: (1) establish an internal management system for the academy and appoint an academy principal who serves at the will of the board and reports to the vice president for academic affairs; (2) provide for one or more academy counselors; (3) establish for the academy a site-based decision-making process similar to the process required by Subchapter F, Chapter 11, that provides for the participation of academy faculty, parents of academy students, and other members of the community; and (4) establish an admissions process for the academy. (e) The student-teacher ratio in all regular academic classes at the academy may not exceed 30 students for each classroom teacher although academy classes may be combined with university classes with more than thirty students, except that the student-teacher ratio may exceed that limit: (1) in a program provided for the purposes prescribed by Subsection (b)(2) or another special enrichment course or in a physical education course; or (2) if the board determines that a class with a higher student-teacher ratio would contribute to the educational development of the students in the class. (f) The academy shall provide the university-level curriculum in a manner that is appropriate for the social, psychological, emotional, and physical development of high school juniors and seniors. The administrative and counseling personnel of the academy shall provide continuous support to and supervision of students. (g) For each student enrolled in the academy, the academy is entitled to allotments from the foundation school fund under Chapter 42 as if the academy were a school district without a tier one local share for purposes of Section 42.253. If in any academic year the amount of the allotments under this subsection exceeds the amount of state funds paid to the academy in the first fiscal year of the academy's operation, the commissioner of education shall set aside from the total amount of funds to which school districts are entitled under Section 42.253(c) an amount equal to the excess amount and shall distribute that amount to the academy. After deducting the amount set aside and paid to the academy by the commissioner of education under this subsection, the commissioner of education shall reduce the amount to which each district is entitled under Section 42.253(c) in the manner described by Section 42.253(h). A determination of the commissioner of education under this subsection is final and may not be appealed. (h) The board may use any available money, enter into contracts, and accept grants, including matching grants, federal grants, and grants from a corporation or other private contributor, in establishing and operating the academy. Money spent by the academy must further the purposes of the academy prescribed by Subsection (b). (i) The liability of the state under Chapters 101 and 104, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, is limited for the academy and employees assigned to the academy and acting on behalf of the academy to the same extent that the liability of a school district and an employee of the school district is limited under Sections 22.0511, 22.0512, and 22.052 of this code and Section 101.051, Civil Practice and Remedies Code. An employee assigned to the academy is entitled to representation by the attorney general in a civil suit based on an action or omission of the employee in the course of the employee's employment, limits on liability, and indemnity under Chapters 104 and 108, Civil Practice and Remedies Code. (j) Except as otherwise provided by this section, the academy is not subject to the provisions of this code, or to the rules of the Texas Education Agency, regulating public schools. SECTION 2. Section 25.086(a), Education Code, is amended to read as follows: (a) A child is exempt from the requirements of compulsory school attendance if the child: (1) attends a private or parochial school that includes in its course a study of good citizenship; (2) is eligible to participate in a school district's special education program under Section 29.003 and cannot be appropriately served by the resident district; (3) has a physical or mental condition of a temporary and remediable nature that makes the child's attendance infeasible and holds a certificate from a qualified physician specifying the temporary condition, indicating the treatment prescribed to remedy the temporary condition, and covering the anticipated period of the child's absence from school for the purpose of receiving and recuperating from that remedial treatment; (4) is expelled in accordance with the requirements of law in a school district that does not participate in a mandatory juvenile justice alternative education program under Section 37.011; (5) is at least 17 years of age and: (A) is attending a course of instruction to prepare for the high school equivalency examination, and: (i) has the permission of the child's parent or guardian to attend the course; (ii) is required by court order to attend the course; (iii) has established a residence separate and apart from the child's parent, guardian, or other person having lawful control of the child; or (iv) is homeless as defined by 42 U.S.C. Section 11302; or (B) has received a high school diploma or high school equivalency certificate; (6) is at least 16 years of age and is attending a course of instruction to prepare for the high school equivalency examination, if: (A) the child is recommended to take the course of instruction by a public agency that has supervision or custody of the child under a court order; or (B) the child is enrolled in a Job Corps training program under [the Job Training Partnership Act (] 29 U.S.C. Section 2881 [1501] et seq.[), and its subsequent amendments]; (7) is enrolled in the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science; (8) is enrolled in the Texas Academy of Leadership in the Humanities; [or] (9) is enrolled in the Texas Academy of International Studies; or (10) is specifically exempted under another law. SECTION 3. Section 28.024, Education Code, is amended to read as follows: Sec. 28.024. CREDIT FOR ENROLLMENT IN CERTAIN ACADEMIES. A school district shall grant to a student credit toward the academic course requirements for high school graduation, up to a maximum of two years of credit, for courses the student successfully completes at: (1) the Texas Academy of Leadership in the Humanities under Section 96.707 [Subchapter E, Chapter 108]; [or] (2) the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science under Subchapter G [H], Chapter 105; or (3) the Texas Academy of International Studies under Section 87.505. SECTION 4. This Act takes effect immediately if it receives a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this Act takes effect September 1, 2005.