By: Simmons H.B. No. 4193
  relating to the establishment of a credit account program for
  students with disabilities.
         SECTION 1.  Chapter 29, Education Code, is amended by adding
  Subchapter J to read as follows:
         Sec. 29.351.  DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:
               (1)  "Account" means a credit account established under
  the program.
               (2)  "Financial institution" means a bank, credit
  union, savings bank, or savings and loan association organized
  under the laws of this state, the laws of another state, or federal
  law that has its main office or a branch office in this state. The
  term does not include any institution the deposits of which are not
  insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or the
  National Credit Union Administration.
               (3)  "Parent" means a resident of this state who is a
  natural or adoptive parent, managing or possessory conservator,
  legal guardian, custodian, or other person with legal authority to
  act on behalf of a child.
               (4)  "Program" means the credit account program
  established under this subchapter.
               (5)  "Program participant" means a student and a parent
  of a student who has been accepted into the program.
         Sec. 29.352.  ESTABLISHMENT OF PROGRAM. (a) The
  commissioner shall establish and administer a credit account
  program to provide funding for eligible students to obtain
  educational support services and other resources that:
               (1)  supplement the student's public education; and
               (2)  exceed the level of services that the student's
  admission, review, and dismissal committee or the student's team
  established under Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29
  U.S.C. Section 794), as applicable, has determined to be necessary
  for the student to receive a free appropriate public education.
         (b)  The agency shall make information about the program
  readily available to the public through various sources, including
  the agency's Internet website.
         Sec. 29.353.  ELIGIBLE STUDENT. A student is eligible to
  participate in the program if the student is enrolled in a school
  district and:
               (1)  an individualized education program has been
  developed for the student under Section 29.005; or
               (2)  the student is covered by Section 504,
  Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. Section 794).
         Sec. 29.354.  APPLICATION PROCESS. (a) On or before the
  date established by commissioner rule, each school district or
  open-enrollment charter school annually shall submit to the
  commissioner a list of each student enrolled in the district or
  school who may be eligible to participate in the program and any
  information necessary to determine the student's eligibility.
         (b)  As soon as practicable after receipt of the information
  submitted under Subsection (a), the agency shall provide to the
  parent of each student who is eligible to participate in the
  program, or the student if parental rights have transferred to the
  student under Section 29.017:
               (1)  notice of the student's eligibility; and
               (2)  a publication that describes the operation of the
  program, including:
                     (A)  expenses allowed under the program under
  Section 29.356;
                     (B)  expense reporting requirements under Section
  29.359; and
                     (C)  a description of the responsibilities of
  program participants and the duties of the agency under this
         (c)  On or before the date established by commissioner rule,
  a parent of an eligible student may apply on behalf of the student,
  or the eligible student may apply if parental rights have
  transferred to the student under Section 29.017, for participation
  in the program for the school year in which the application is made.
         Sec. 29.355.  AGREEMENT REQUIRED. To receive funding under
  the program, a parent of an eligible student, or the eligible
  student if parental rights have transferred to the student under
  Section 29.017, must agree in writing to spend funds received
  through the program only for expenses allowed under Section 29.356.
         Sec. 29.356.  QUALIFIED EXPENSES. (a) Funds received under
  the program may be used only for the following expenses incurred by
  a program participant:
               (1)  tuition and fees for an educational course,
  including a service, course, or educational program offered by an
  institution defined by Education Code Sec. 2000.001(2), or an
  online course;
               (2)  the purchase of instructional materials, as
  defined by Section 31.002;
               (3)  costs of transportation for the student to receive
  educational support services;
               (4)  fees for services provided by a private tutor or
  teaching service;
               (5)  fees for educational therapies or support services
  provided by a practitioner or provider;
               (6)  costs of computer hardware and software and other
  assistive technological devices intended to facilitate the
  student's learning;
               (7)  fees for a nationally norm-referenced achievement
  test or examination, an advanced placement test or similar
  examination, or any examination related to college or university
  admission; and
               (8)  any other expenses not described by Subsection (b)
  that are approved by the commissioner.
         (b)  Expenses allowed under Subsection (a) do not include
  expenses for:
               (1)  consumable supplies, including paper, pens,
  pencils, folders, and notebooks;
               (2)  food; or
               (3)  before-school or after-school child care and child
  care during school holidays and vacations.
         (c)  An education service provider or vendor of educational
  products must provide a program participant with a receipt for each
  expense allowed under Subsection (a) charged by the provider or
  vendor to the participant.
         Sec. 29.357.  AMOUNT OF PAYMENT. (a) A parent of an
  eligible student, or the eligible student if parental rights have
  transferred to the student under Section 29.017, is entitled to
  receive each year that the student participates in the program a
  payment from the state to the student's account in an amount equal
  to the quotient of the total amount of funds available to the
  program for that year divided by the total number of students
  participating in the program that year.
         (a-1)  In making expenditures for this purpose, the
  Commissioner may also draw from the funding available for special
  education grants as provided at Education Code Section 29.018.
         (a-2)  Should a new funding source or sources be made
  available for this purpose by the Legislature, the agency, the
  federal government, or any other public or private source, then the
  Commissioner may also make use of such funding to fund the payments
  under subsection (a).
         (b)  Any funds remaining in a student's account at the end of
  a fiscal year are carried forward to the next fiscal year unless
  another provision of this subchapter mandates the closure of the
         (c)  A program participant may make payments with personal
  money for the expenses of educational programs, services, and
  products not covered by funds in the student's account or allowed
  under Section 29.356.
         Sec. 29.358.  ADMINISTRATION OF ACCOUNTS. (a) The agency
  shall contract with a financial institution to establish and manage
  an account for each student participating in the program. A program
  participant must be able to access the participant's account by
  using a debit card or online payment service.
         (b)  Not later than September 1 of each year, the
  commissioner shall make a payment to each program participant's
  account in the amount provided under Section 29.357.
         (c)  The commissioner may deduct an amount from each payment
  to a program participant's account to cover the agency's cost of
  administering the program and any fees for the management of the
  account charged by a financial institution. The amount deducted
  may not exceed five percent of the payment.
         (d)  On the first anniversary of the date on which a student
  who participated in the program is no longer eligible to
  participate in the program under Section 29.353, the student's
  account is closed and any remaining funds are returned to the state
  to be used only for purposes of the program.
         Sec. 29.359.  EXPENSE REPORTING; APPROVAL BY AGENCY. (a) On
  or before deadlines established by commissioner rule, a program
  participant shall submit to the agency an expense report detailing
  all payments made from the participant's account during the
  reporting period.
         (b)  An expense report must include:
               (1)  receipts and invoices documenting all payments
  made from the account;
               (2)  a statement of the account provided to the
  participant by the financial institution that manages the account;
               (3)  any other information required by the
         (c)  The agency shall approve each expense made by a program
  participant that is allowed under Section 29.356 and reject any
  expense that is not allowed under that section or for which
  documentation is incomplete.
         (d)  For each rejected expense, the program participant
  shall repay the agency for the cost of the expense. Additional funds
  may not be transferred to the participant's account until the
  participant repays all rejected expenses. If repayment is not made
  on or before the date established by commissioner rule, the
  commissioner shall close the account.
         Sec. 29.360.  AUDITING OF ACCOUNT. (a) The agency shall
  audit accounts as necessary to ensure compliance with applicable
  law and the requirements of the program.
         (b)  In auditing an account, the agency may require that a
  program participant provide further information and documentation
  regarding any payment from the participant's account.
         Sec. 29.361.  SUSPENSION OF ACCOUNT. (a) The commissioner
  may suspend the account of a program participant who fails to comply
  with applicable law or a requirement of the program or who misuses
  funds received under the program.
         (b)  On suspension of an account under Subsection (a), the
  commissioner shall notify the program participant in writing that
  the account has been suspended and that no further payments may be
  made from the account. The notification must specify the grounds
  for the suspension and state the date by which the participant must
  respond and take any corrective action required by the
         (c)  On the expiration of the period specified under
  Subsection (b), the commissioner shall:
               (1)  order permanent closure of the suspended account
  and declare the program participant ineligible for the program;
               (2)  order temporary reinstatement of the account,
  conditioned on the performance of a specified action by the
  participant; or
               (3)  order full reinstatement of the account.
         (d)  The commissioner may reinstate a program participant's
  account if the participant provides adequate assurances of future
  compliance with applicable law and all requirements of the program.
  In reinstating the account, the commissioner may impose additional
  safeguards, including revoking the participant's debit card for the
  account and requiring the participant to submit expenses for
  reimbursement only.
         Sec. 29.362.  APPEAL. A determination by the agency to
  reject an expense under Section 29.359 or by the commissioner to
  close or reinstate an account under Section 29.361 is final and not
  subject to appeal except as otherwise provided by commissioner
         Sec. 29.363.  REFUND PROHIBITED. An education service
  provider or a vendor of educational products receiving funds
  distributed under the program may not in any manner rebate, refund,
  or credit to or share with a program participant, or any person on
  behalf of a participant, any program funds paid or owed by the
  participant to the provider or vendor.
         Sec. 29.364.  REFERRAL TO ATTORNEY GENERAL. (a) If the
  agency obtains evidence of fraudulent use of an account, the
  commissioner may refer the case to the attorney general for
         (b)  With the consent of the appropriate local county or
  district attorney, the attorney general has concurrent
  jurisdiction with the consenting local prosecutor to prosecute an
  offense referred to the attorney general under Subsection (a).
  private tutor or teaching service and a practitioner or provider
  who provides educational therapies or support services must be
  licensed or accredited by a regional or national accrediting
  organization recognized by the commissioner to receive funds
  distributed under the program.
         Sec. 29.366.  ANNUAL SURVEY. The agency shall conduct an
  annual parental satisfaction survey that asks each parent of a
  student participating in the program, or the student if parental
  rights have transferred to the student under Section 29.017, to
  express, as applicable:
               (1)  the parent's or student's overall level of
  satisfaction with the program; and
               (2)  the parent's or student's opinion on specified
  topics and issues relevant to the effectiveness of the program.
         Sec. 29.367.  RULES. The commissioner may adopt rules as
  necessary to implement this subchapter, including rules for
  implementing this subchapter in a manner that ensures compliance
  with federal law regarding confidentiality of student educational
  information, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy
  Act of 1974 (20 U.S.C. Section 1232g).
         SECTION 2.  Amend Education Code Section 29.018 by amending
  subsection (a) to read as follows:
         Sec. 29.018.  SPECIAL EDUCATION GRANT. (a-1) From funds
  appropriated for the purposes of this section, federal funds, or
  any other funds available, the commissioner shall make grants
  available to school districts to assist districts in covering the
  cost of educating students with disabilities and for students
  described as eligible to participate in the credit account program
  by Education Code Sec. 29.353.
         SECTION 3.  This Act applies beginning with the 2017-2018
  school year.
         SECTION 4.  As soon as practicable after the effective date
  of this Act, the commissioner of education shall adopt rules
  necessary to implement the credit account program under Subchapter
  J, Chapter 29, Education Code, as added by this Act.
         SECTION 5.  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, 2017.