Texas Education Code

Sec. § 37.011
Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program


(a)

The juvenile board of a county with a population greater than 125,000 shall develop a juvenile justice alternative education program, subject to the approval of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. The juvenile board of a county with a population of 125,000 or less may develop a juvenile justice alternative education program. For the purposes of this subchapter, only a disciplinary alternative education program operated under the authority of a juvenile board of a county is considered a juvenile justice alternative education program. A juvenile justice alternative education program in a county with a population of 125,000 or less:

(1)

is not required to be approved by the department; and

(2)

is not subject to Subsection (c), (d), (f), or (g).

(a-1)

For purposes of this section and Section 37.010 (Court Involvement)(a), a county with a population greater than 125,000 is considered to be a county with a population of 125,000 or less if:

(1)

the county had a population of 125,000 or less according to the 2000 federal census; and

(2)

the juvenile board of the county enters into, with the approval of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, a memorandum of understanding with each school district within the county that:

(A)

outlines the responsibilities of the board and school districts in minimizing the number of students expelled without receiving alternative educational services; and

(B)

includes the coordination procedures required by Section 37.013 (Coordination Between School Districts and Juvenile Boards).

(a-2)

For purposes of this section and Section 37.010 (Court Involvement)(a), a county with a population greater than 125,000 is considered to be a county with a population of 125,000 or less if the county:

(1)

has a population of 180,000 or less;

(2)

is adjacent to two counties, each of which has a population of more than 1.7 million; and

(3)

has seven or more school districts located wholly within the county’s boundaries.

(a-3)

For purposes of this section and Section 37.010 (Court Involvement)(a), a county with a population greater than 125,000 is considered to be a county with a population of 125,000 or less if the county:

(1)

has a population of more than 200,000 and less than 220,000;

(2)

has five or more school districts located wholly within the county’s boundaries; and

(3)

has located in the county a juvenile justice alternative education program that, on May 1, 2011, served fewer than 15 students.

(a-4)

A school district located in a county considered to be a county with a population of 125,000 or less under Subsection (a-3) shall provide educational services to a student who is expelled from school under this chapter. The district is entitled to count the student in the district’s average daily attendance for purposes of receipt of state funds under the Foundation School Program. An educational placement under this section may include:

(1)

the district’s disciplinary alternative education program; or

(2)

a contracted placement with:

(A)

another school district;

(B)

an open-enrollment charter school;

(C)

an institution of higher education;

(D)

an adult literacy council; or

(E)

a community organization that can provide an educational program that allows the student to complete the credits required for high school graduation.

(a-5)

For purposes of Subsection (a-4), an educational placement other than a school district’s disciplinary alternative education program is subject to the educational and certification requirements applicable to an open-enrollment charter school under Subchapter D (Authorization), Chapter 12 (Charters).

(b)

If a student admitted into the public schools of a school district under Section 25.001 (Admission)(b) is expelled from school for conduct for which expulsion is required under Section 37.007 (Expulsion for Serious Offenses)(a), (d), or (e), or for conduct that contains the elements of the offense of terroristic threat as described by Section 22.07 (Terroristic Threat)(c-1), (d), or (e), Penal Code, the juvenile court, the juvenile board, or the juvenile board’s designee, as appropriate, shall:

(1)

if the student is placed on probation under Section 54.04 (Disposition Hearing), Family Code, order the student to attend the juvenile justice alternative education program in the county in which the student resides from the date of disposition as a condition of probation, unless the child is placed in a post-adjudication treatment facility;

(2)

if the student is placed on deferred prosecution under Section 53.03 (Deferred Prosecution), Family Code, by the court, prosecutor, or probation department, require the student to immediately attend the juvenile justice alternative education program in the county in which the student resides for a period not to exceed six months as a condition of the deferred prosecution;

(3)

in determining the conditions of the deferred prosecution or court-ordered probation, consider the length of the school district’s expulsion order for the student; and

(4)

provide timely educational services to the student in the juvenile justice alternative education program in the county in which the student resides, regardless of the student’s age or whether the juvenile court has jurisdiction over the student.

(b-1)

Subsection (b)(4) does not require that educational services be provided to a student who is not entitled to admission into the public schools of a school district under Section 25.001 (Admission)(b).

(c)

A juvenile justice alternative education program shall adopt a student code of conduct in accordance with Section 37.001 (Student Code of Conduct).

(d)

A juvenile justice alternative education program must focus on English language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and self-discipline. Each school district shall consider course credit earned by a student while in a juvenile justice alternative education program as credit earned in a district school. Each program shall administer assessment instruments under Subchapter B (Essential Skills and Knowledge), Chapter 39 (Public School System Accountability), and shall offer a high school equivalency program. The juvenile board or the board’s designee, with the parent or guardian of each student, shall regularly review the student’s academic progress. In the case of a high school student, the board or the board’s designee, with the student’s parent or guardian, shall review the student’s progress towards meeting high school graduation requirements and shall establish a specific graduation plan for the student. The program is not required to provide a course necessary to fulfill a student’s high school graduation requirements other than a course specified by this subsection.

(e)

A juvenile justice alternative education program may be provided in a facility owned by a school district. A school district may provide personnel and services for a juvenile justice alternative education program under a contract with the juvenile board.

(f)

A juvenile justice alternative education program must operate at least seven hours per day and 180 days per year, except that a program may apply to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department for a waiver of the 180-day requirement. The department may not grant a waiver to a program under this subsection for a number of days that exceeds the highest number of instructional days waived by the commissioner during the same school year for a school district served by the program.

(g)

A juvenile justice alternative education program shall be subject to a written operating policy developed by the local juvenile justice board and submitted to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department for review and comment. A juvenile justice alternative education program is not subject to a requirement imposed by this title, other than a reporting requirement or a requirement imposed by this chapter or by Chapter 39 (Public School System Accountability) or 39A (Accountability Interventions and Sanctions).

(h)

Academically, the mission of juvenile justice alternative education programs shall be to enable students to perform at grade level. For purposes of accountability under Chapters 39 (Public School System Accountability) and 39A (Accountability Interventions and Sanctions), a student enrolled in a juvenile justice alternative education program is reported as if the student were enrolled at the student’s assigned campus in the student’s regularly assigned education program, including a special education program. Annually the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, with the agreement of the commissioner, shall develop and implement a system of accountability consistent with Chapters 39 (Public School System Accountability) and 39A (Accountability Interventions and Sanctions), where appropriate, to assure that students make progress toward grade level while attending a juvenile justice alternative education program. The department shall adopt rules for the distribution of funds appropriated under this section to juvenile boards in counties required to establish juvenile justice alternative education programs. Except as determined by the commissioner, a student served by a juvenile justice alternative education program on the basis of an expulsion required under Section 37.007 (Expulsion for Serious Offenses)(a), (d), or (e) is not eligible for Foundation School Program funding under Chapter 31 (Instructional Materials) or 48 (Foundation School Program) if the juvenile justice alternative education program receives funding from the department under this subchapter.

(i)

A student transferred to a juvenile justice alternative education program must participate in the program for the full period ordered by the juvenile court unless the student’s school district agrees to accept the student before the date ordered by the juvenile court. The juvenile court may not order a period of transfer under this section that exceeds the term of any probation ordered by the juvenile court.

(j)

In relation to the development and operation of a juvenile justice alternative education program, a juvenile board and a county and a commissioners court are immune from liability to the same extent as a school district, and the juvenile board’s or county’s professional employees and volunteers are immune from liability to the same extent as a school district’s professional employees and volunteers.

(k)

Each school district in a county with a population greater than 125,000 and the county juvenile board shall annually enter into a joint memorandum of understanding that:

(1)

outlines the responsibilities of the juvenile board concerning the establishment and operation of a juvenile justice alternative education program under this section;

(2)

defines the amount and conditions on payments from the school district to the juvenile board for students of the school district served in the juvenile justice alternative education program whose placement was not made on the basis of an expulsion required under Section 37.007 (Expulsion for Serious Offenses)(a), (d), or (e);

(3)

establishes that a student may be placed in the juvenile justice alternative education program if the student engages in serious misbehavior, as defined by Section 37.007 (Expulsion for Serious Offenses)(c);

(4)

identifies and requires a timely placement and specifies a term of placement for expelled students for whom the school district has received a notice under Section 52.041 (Referral of Child to Juvenile Court After Expulsion)(d), Family Code;

(5)

establishes services for the transitioning of expelled students to the school district prior to the completion of the student’s placement in the juvenile justice alternative education program;

(6)

establishes a plan that provides transportation services for students placed in the juvenile justice alternative education program;

(7)

establishes the circumstances and conditions under which a juvenile may be allowed to remain in the juvenile justice alternative education program setting once the juvenile is no longer under juvenile court jurisdiction; and

(8)

establishes a plan to address special education services required by law.

(l)

The school district shall be responsible for providing an immediate educational program to students who engage in behavior resulting in expulsion under Section 37.007 (Expulsion for Serious Offenses)(b) and (f) but who are not eligible for admission into the juvenile justice alternative education program in accordance with the memorandum of understanding required under this section. The school district may provide the program or the school district may contract with a county juvenile board, a private provider, or one or more other school districts to provide the program. The memorandum of understanding shall address the circumstances under which such students who continue to engage in serious misbehavior, as defined by Section 37.007 (Expulsion for Serious Offenses)(c), shall be admitted into the juvenile justice alternative education program.

(m)

Each school district in a county with a population greater than 125,000 and the county juvenile board shall adopt a joint memorandum of understanding as required by this section not later than September 1 of each school year.

(n)

If a student who is ordered to attend a juvenile justice alternative education program moves from one county to another, the juvenile court may request the juvenile justice alternative education program in the county to which the student moves to provide educational services to the student in accordance with the local memorandum of understanding between the school district and juvenile board in the receiving county.

(o)

In relation to the development and operation of a juvenile justice alternative education program, a juvenile board and a county and a commissioners court are immune from liability to the same extent as a school district, and the juvenile board’s or county’s employees and volunteers are immune from liability to the same extent as a school district’s employees and volunteers.

(p)

If a district elects to contract with the juvenile board for placement in the juvenile justice alternative education program of students expelled under Section 37.007 (Expulsion for Serious Offenses)(b), (c), and (f) and the juvenile board and district are unable to reach an agreement in the memorandum of understanding, either party may request that the issues of dispute be referred to a binding arbitration process that uses a qualified alternative dispute resolution arbitrator in which each party will pay its pro rata share of the arbitration costs. Each party must submit its final proposal to the arbitrator. If the parties cannot agree on an arbitrator, the juvenile board shall select an arbitrator, the school districts shall select an arbitrator, and those two arbitrators shall select an arbitrator who will decide the issues in dispute. An arbitration decision issued under this subsection is enforceable in a court in the county in which the juvenile justice alternative education program is located. Any decision by an arbitrator concerning the amount of the funding for a student who is expelled and attending a juvenile justice alternative education program must provide an amount sufficient based on operation of the juvenile justice alternative education program in accordance with this chapter. In determining the amount to be paid by a school district for an expelled student enrolled in a juvenile justice alternative education program, the arbitrator shall consider the relevant factors, including evidence of:

(1)

the actual average total per student expenditure in the district’s alternative education setting;

(2)

the expected per student cost in the juvenile justice alternative education program as described and agreed on in the memorandum of understanding and in compliance with this chapter; and

(3)

the costs necessary to achieve the accountability goals under this chapter.

(q)

In accordance with rules adopted by the board of trustees for the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, a certified educator employed by a juvenile board in a juvenile justice alternative education program shall be eligible for membership and participation in the system to the same extent that an employee of a public school district is eligible. The juvenile board shall make any contribution that otherwise would be the responsibility of the school district if the person were employed by the school district, and the state shall make any contribution to the same extent as if the person were employed by a school district.
Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1015, Sec. 9, eff. June 19, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1282, Sec. 1, eff. June 20, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 396, Sec. 2.17, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1225, Sec. 2, eff. June 15, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1055, Sec. 16, eff. June 20, 2003.
Amended by:
Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 376 (H.B. 1425), Sec. 1, eff. June 19, 2009.
Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 235 (H.B. 592), Sec. 1, eff. June 17, 2011.
Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 948 (H.B. 968), Sec. 4, eff. June 17, 2011.
Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., 1st C.S., Ch. 4 (S.B. 1), Sec. 70.01, eff. September 28, 2011.
Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 734 (H.B. 1549), Sec. 33, eff. September 1, 2015.
Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 324 (S.B. 1488), Sec. 21.003(20), eff. September 1, 2017.
Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 943 (H.B. 3), Sec. 3.042, eff. September 1, 2019.
Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1150 (H.B. 3012), Sec. 2, eff. June 14, 2019.
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Jun. 7, 2021