Yesterday, May 11th, Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 149 into law to become effective immediately.
SB 149 requires Texas school districts to form Individual Graduation Committees (“IGCs”) when a student in grades 11 or 12 is expected to meet the state curriculum requirements for graduation, and has failed no more than two end of course (“EOC”) exams. Although the Commissioner will adopt rules in connection with IGCs by the 2015-16 school year, school districts with current students for whom an IGC is required, must take necessary actions before the 2014-15 school year ends. These include:
1. Pass a resolution to authorize the superintendent to implement the requirements of SB 149 immediately and suspend conflicting school district policies regarding commencement exercises for students who have not passed all EOC exams (please follow the ESC 16 link below or contact Underwood for a template resolution to be used for this purpose).
2. Determine which students need an IGC.
3. Determine when the IGC will meet for each eligible student.
4. Send a notice of the IGC meeting to the parents or student via regular mail or email that is understandable.
5. Determine who will be the student’s designated advocate if a parent is unable to serve on the IGC.
6. Provide recommendations to the Board, if necessary, concerning any additional academic information that an IGC needs to consider when making a determination (please contact Underwood or follow the link below for a guide of factors for the IGC must consider). The Board may designate additional academic information that an IGC is to consider.
7. Hold an IGC meeting and send notice of the IGC decision.
8. Modify Board Policy FMH (LOCAL), as needed and as soon as possible, to meet the requirements of SB 149 to participate in graduation.
Texas Association of School Boards Policy Service will likely provide sample policies in its next policy update. Also, Region 16 Educational Service Center has posted other resources, including the full text of SB 149 and a sample resolution prepared by the Underwood Law Firm here: ESC 16’s page regarding SB 149. The Texas Education Agency and the Commissioner of Education have also posted information at: Commissioner Notice regarding SB 149. Finally, you may access Underwood’s guide to meeting the requirements of SB 149 at: ULF Guide regarding implementation of SB 149. If you have any other questions concerning SB 149, you can direct them to any lawyer in our Public Education Section.