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  88R18651 CXP-D
 
  By: Lozano, Raymond H.B. No. 2209
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to establishing the Rural Pathway Excellence Partnership
  (R-PEP) program and creating an allotment and outcomes bonus under
  the Foundation School Program to support the program.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Subchapter Z, Chapter 29, Education Code, is
  amended by adding Section 29.912 to read as follows:
         Sec. 29.912.  RURAL PATHWAY EXCELLENCE PARTNERSHIP (R-PEP)
  PROGRAM. (a) In this section, "program" means the Rural Pathway
  Excellence Partnership (R-PEP) program established under this
  section.
         (b)  The commissioner shall establish and administer the
  Rural Pathway Excellence Partnership (R-PEP) program to
  incentivize and support multidistrict, cross-sector, rural college
  and career pathway partnerships that expand opportunities for
  underserved students to succeed in school and life while promoting
  economic development in rural areas.
         (c)  The program must enable an eligible school district that
  lacks an economy of scale, as determined by commissioner rule, to
  partner with at least one other school district to offer a broader
  array of robust college and career pathways. Each partnership must:
               (1)  offer college and career pathways that align with
  regional labor market projections for high-wage, high-demand
  careers; and
               (2)  be managed by a coordinating entity that:
                     (A)  has or will have at the time students are
  served under the partnership the capacity to effectively coordinate
  the partnership;
                     (B)  has entered into a performance agreement
  approved by the board of trustees of each partnering school
  district that confers to the coordinating entity the same authority
  with respect to the pathways offered under the partnership as
  provided to an entity that contracts to operate a district campus
  under Section 11.174;
                     (C)  is an eligible entity as defined by Section
  12.101(a); and
                     (D)  has on the entity's governing board as either
  voting or ex officio members representatives of each partnering
  school district and members of regional higher education and
  workforce organizations.
         (d)  The performance agreement described by Subsection
  (c)(2)(B) must:
               (1)  include ambitious and measurable performance
  goals and progress measures tied to current college, career, and
  military readiness outcomes and longitudinal postsecondary
  completion and employment-related outcomes;
               (2)  allocate responsibilities for accessing and
  managing progress and outcome information and annually publishing
  that information on the Internet website of each partnering
  district and the coordinating entity;
               (3)  authorize the coordinating entity to optimize the
  value of each college and career pathway offered through the
  partnership by:
                     (A)  determining scheduling;
                     (B)  adding or removing a pathway;
                     (C)  hiring pathway-specific personnel;
                     (D)  developing and exercising final approval of
  pathway budgets, which must include at least 80 percent of the state
  and local funding to which each partnering school district is
  entitled under Chapter 48 and that is attributable to students'
  participation in the program, including an allotment under Section
  48.106 or 48.118 and an outcome bonus under Section 48.110 or
  48.118; and
                     (E)  determining other matters critical to the
  efficacy of the pathways; and
               (4)  provide that any eligible student residing in a
  partnering school district may participate in a college or career
  pathway offered through the partnership.
         (e)  An employee of a coordinating entity that manages a
  partnership under the program is eligible for membership in and
  benefits from the Teacher Retirement System of Texas if the
  employee would be eligible for membership and benefits by holding
  the same position at a partnering school district.
         (f)  A student enrolled in a college or career pathway
  offered through a partnership under the program is not considered
  for accountability purposes under Chapter 39 to have dropped out of
  high school or failed to complete the curriculum requirements for
  high school graduation until the sixth anniversary of the student's
  first day in high school.
         (g)  A school district proposing to enter into a performance
  agreement under this section shall notify the commissioner of the
  district's intent to enter into the agreement. The commissioner
  shall establish procedures for a district to notify the
  commissioner, including the period within which notification is
  required before the school year in which the proposed agreement
  would take effect, and to provide any additional information
  required by the commissioner. The commissioner shall notify the
  district whether the proposed agreement is approved or denied not
  later than the 60th day after the date the commissioner receives
  notification of the proposed agreement and all other information
  required by the commissioner. If the commissioner fails to notify
  the district that the proposed agreement has been approved or
  denied within the period prescribed by this subsection, the
  proposed agreement is considered approved.
         (h)  From money appropriated for that purpose, the
  commissioner shall establish a grant program to assist in the
  planning and implementation of a partnership under the program.
  The commissioner may award a grant only to a coordinating entity
  that has entered into a performance agreement approved under
  Subsection (g). The commissioner may use not more than 15 percent
  of the money appropriated for the grant program to cover the cost of
  administering the grant program and to provide technical assistance
  and support to partnerships under the program.
         (i)  The commissioner shall adopt rules as necessary to
  implement this section, including rules establishing:
               (1)  requirements for a coordinating entity and a
  performance agreement with the entity;
               (2)  the period for which a partnership under the
  program may operate after commissioner approval before renewal of
  commissioner approval is required; and
               (3)  standards for renewal of commissioner approval for
  a partnership under the program.
         (j)  This section does not prohibit an agreement between a
  school district and another entity for the provision of services at
  a district campus.
         (k)  The commissioner may accept gifts, grants, and
  donations from any source, including private and nonprofit
  organizations, for the program. A private or nonprofit
  organization that contributes to the program may receive an award
  under Section 7.113.
         SECTION 2.  Subchapter C, Chapter 48, Education Code, is
  amended by adding Section 48.118 to read as follows:
         Sec. 48.118.  RURAL PATHWAY EXCELLENCE PARTNERSHIP (R-PEP)
  ALLOTMENT AND OUTCOME BONUS. (a) For each full-time equivalent
  student in average daily attendance in grades 9 through 12 in a
  college or career pathway offered through a partnership under the
  Rural Pathway Excellence Partnership (R-PEP) program under Section
  29.912, a school district is entitled to an allotment equal to the
  basic allotment or, if applicable, the sum of the basic allotment
  and the allotment under Section 48.101 to which the district is
  entitled, multiplied by:
               (1)  1.15, if the student is educationally
  disadvantaged; or
               (2)  1.11, if the student is not educationally
  disadvantaged.
         (b)  Each year, the commissioner shall determine for each
  school district the minimum number of annual graduates of a college
  or career pathway described by Subsection (a) in each cohort
  described by Section 48.110(b) who would have to obtain not later
  than five years after high school graduation a postsecondary
  credential of value, including a degree, certificate, or other
  credential that prepares students for continued learning and
  greater earnings in the state economy, in order for the district to
  qualify for an outcomes bonus under Subsection (c). 
         (c)  In addition to the allotment under Subsection (a), for
  each annual graduate in a cohort described by Subsection (b) who
  earns a postsecondary credential of value described by that
  subsection during the preceding school year in excess of the
  minimum number of students determined for the applicable district
  cohort for that school year, a school district is entitled to an
  annual outcomes bonus of:
               (1)  if the annual graduate is educationally
  disadvantaged, $2,000;
               (2)  if the annual graduate is not educationally
  disadvantaged, $1,000; and
               (3)  if the annual graduate is enrolled in a special
  education program under Subchapter A, Chapter 29, $2,000,
  regardless of whether the annual graduate is educationally
  disadvantaged.
         (d)  A school district is entitled to an outcomes bonus under
  each subdivision of Subsection (c) for which an annual graduate
  qualifies.
         (e)  A school district may receive funding for a student
  under this section and any other section for which the student
  qualifies.
         SECTION 3.  Section 29.912, Education Code, as added by this
  Act, applies beginning with the 2023-2024 school year.
         SECTION 4.  (a) Except as provided by Subsection (b) of this
  section, 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, 2023.
         (b)  Section 48.118, Education Code, as added by this Act,
  takes effect September 1, 2023.