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GENERAL ELIGIBILITY

The following conditions apply to local school districts (LEAs) and only to TSBVI where indicated in this policy.  TSBVI will consider these conditions when determining whether a student referred by an LEA is eligible for services from the LEA and thereby eligible for a referral from that LEA to the TSBVI.  Education Code 30.021

ELIGIBILITY FOR ADMISSION

The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) is a state agency established to serve as a special school in the continuum of placements for students who:

  1.  Are 21 years of age or younger, and 5 years of age or older on September 1 of any school year;
  2. Are residents of Texas;
  3. Have been determined by their local school districts to be eligible for educational services as students with a visual impairment or DeafBlindness; and
  4. Require specialized or intensive educational or related services related to the visual impairment.

TSBVI is not intended to serve students whose:

  1. Needs are appropriately addressed in a home or hospital setting or in a residential treatment facility; or
  2. Primary, ongoing needs are related to a severe or profound emotional, behavioral or cognitive deficit; or

Education Code 30.021

  1. Conduct resulted in:
    1. a removal to an alternative education program or expulsion the preceding year;
    2. being declared delinquent or in need of supervision and is on probation or other conditional release for that conduct; or
    3. conviction of a criminal offense and is on probation or other conditional release.

Education Code 25.001(d)

DEFINITIONS

Specialized Services:  Substantial components of the student’s individualized educational program require instruction and related services, such as orientation and mobility, that are specifically designed and related to the unique needs of a student with a visual impairment, including DeafBlindness.  The student’s visual impairment also requires the provision of intensive services and oversight from a certified teacher of students with visual impairment.  Education Code 30.021

Intensive Services:  Substantial components of the student’s individualized education program include direct services related to the visual impairment.  The intensity of services is related to the student’s current or projected needs.  A low level of consultative services from a certified teacher of students with visual impairment does not constitute intensive services.  Education Code 30.021

Home Setting:  The student requires a home living situation due to constant medical or intensive physical needs that cannot safely be met in the TSBVI residential setting, or the student requires services in a homebound instructional arrangement due to medical or physical needs that cannot be safely met in the district’s or TSBVI’s campus-based program.  19 TAC 89.63(c)(2)

Hospital Setting:  The student requires services in a hospital instructional arrangement due to medical or physical needs that cannot be adequately or safely met in TSBVI’s campus based program.  19 TAC

89.63(c)(3)

Residential Treatment Facility:  The student requires services in a facility intended to provide psychiatric, alcohol or drug abuse treatment.  19 TAC 89.63(c)(10); 19 TAC 89.1115 (residential facility); 89.1052 (JJAEP), 89.1055(e)(3)

Primary Disability:  The student’s visual impairment is considered to be the primary disability when it is the most disabling condition.  For students with multiple disabilities it may be difficult to discern the most disabling condition.  For eligibility purposes the primary disability can be inferred from a review of the needs and services identified in the student’s individualized education program.  4 C.F.R. 300.306

Ongoing Needs:  The characteristics of the student’s condition must be evident over time and across situations.  There is reason to believe that the characteristics of the condition are likely to continue.  It is not behavior that is a temporary reaction to a situational trauma.

Severe or Profound Emotional, Behavioral or Cognitive Deficit:  The student’s adaptive functioning deficit(s), singularly or jointly, is significant in degree or extent and is acute, pervasive or intense.  Student safety is of utmost concern in this population of vulnerable students.  Therefore, self-injurious, violent or threatening behavior may disqualify an applicant or make a TSBVI student no longer eligible to attend TSBVI.

TSBVI is not intended to serve students whose needs relate to severe disturbances of behavior, mood, thought processes or interpersonal relationships, require one or more of the following:

  • an ongoing level of intensive supervision or therapeutic support;
  • routine use of restraint;
  • intensive medication management by a physician;
  • routine removal from the classroom; or
  • a locked facility

The student must be able to acquire Expanded Core Curriculum Skills, including:

  • compensatory or functional academic skills, including communication modes
  • orientation and mobility
  • social interaction skills
  • independent living skills
  • recreation and leisure skills
  • career education
  • use of assistive technology
  • sensory efficiency skills
  • self-determination

Adaptive and life skill factors which TSBVI may consider in determining the student’s eligibility for placement include the student’s:

  • developmental history
  • educational history
  • achievement to date
  • motor skills
  • communication ability
  • social emotional maturity

TSBVI is not intended to serve students whose assessed intellectual and adaptive functioning are within the severe or profound range.  This includes students who, even when provided specialized, intensive services for the visually impaired, are anticipated to require life-long, intensive support and supervision for all aspects of personal care, including feeding, toileting, and grooming.

Based on these criteria, the TSBVI Referral Committee will determine whether a student meets eligibility for consideration of placement.  In instances where eligibility is unclear, TSBVI may admit the prospective student on a temporary basis for observation and/or further evaluation.  If TSBVI determines that a student referred to TSBVI, either on a continuing or temporary basis, no longer meets eligibility criteria, the student will be returned to the local school district.  TSBVI will work with the local district on transition activities for the student.

REFERRALS TO TSBVI

A student’s admission, review and dismissal (ARD) committee may refer the student for placement at TSBVI in accordance with the provisions of 34 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 300, the Texas Education Code 30.021 and 19 TAC 89.1085.  Referrals for consideration for admission must originate from the student’s local school district in collaboration with the student’s parent or the adult student.  The local school district must conduct an ARD Committee Meeting to request admission to TSBVI. 

TSBVI is not authorized to accept direct parent or adult student referrals.

When a student’s ARD committee request placement of a student at TSBVI, the student’s resident school district shall comply with the following requirements:

  1. For each student, the resident school district shall list those services in the student's individualized education program (IEP) which the TSBVI can appropriately provide.
  2. For each student, the resident school district shall include in the student's IEP the criteria and estimated time lines for returning the student to the resident school district. 19 TAC 89.1085

After receiving the student application and other documentation requested, the TSBVI Referral Committee will review all information to determine:

  1. if the student is eligible for services at TSBVI; and if so,
  2. whether it appears that the student is receiving a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) from the local district in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) and is therefore not eligible for TSBVI.
  3. whether a homebound student has reintegrated into the local campus based program and can tolerate TSBVI placement.

PLACEMENT DETERMINATION

The TSBVI Referral Committee determines whether the student is admitted, not admitted or whether additional information is needed. An on-site visit to the local school district may be requested to obtain further information.  When the Committee makes a decision, the local district, parent and adult student receive a letter informing them of the decision.

If the student is admitted, a date and time for an initial joint ARD Committee Meeting between TSBVI, the local district and the parents or adult student will be arranged.  The purpose of this ARD will be to develop the student’s individualized education program (IEP), to discuss the student's placement at TSBVI, and to develop criteria and timelines for the student’s return to the local school district. From the time a student is accepted for admission, TSBVI focuses on developing a strong partnership with the staff of the student’s local school district and with the parent and adult student.

TSBVI, the local school district, and the parents or adult student will review the student's educational placement every year at the annual ARD Committee Meeting.  During the student’s enrollment, TSBVI collaborates intensively with the district, other agencies, the adult student and the student’s family to prepare for the student’s return to the district as soon as the district is prepared to provide a FAPE and/or to prepare for the student’s graduation.

If the student is not admitted, the district representative may contact the TSBVI Director of the Center for School Resources to obtain more information regarding the determination of the Referral Committee.  The district representative and parent may provide additional information to be considered by the Referral Committee.

If mutual agreement about a student’s placement at TSBVI is not obtained, the local district or TSBVI may seek resolution through the mediation procedures adopted by the Texas Education Agency or through any due process hearing to which the resident school district or TSBVI is entitled under the IDEA, 20 USC, §1400.

ENROLLMENT REQUIREMENTS

Pre-Enrollment

Prior to the day the student enrolls in TSBVI, the parent or adult student, the referring school district, and/or another person shall furnish to TSBVI all of the following:

  1. The child's birth certificate or another document suitable as proof of the child's identity as defined by the Commissioner of Education in the Student Attendance Accounting Handbook;
  2. A copy of the child's records from the school the child most recently attended if he or she was previously enrolled in a school in Texas or in another state;
  3. A record showing that the child has the immunizations required by Education Code 38.001, proof that the child is not required to be immunized, or proof that the child is entitled to provisional admission. (See FFAB)
  4. Medical and dietary information and documents necessary to ensure appropriate medical management of the student while attending TSBVI, including disclosure of food allergy that, in the judgment of the parent or other person with legal control shall be disclosed to TSBVI to enable TSBVI to take any necessary precautions regarding the child’s safety [see FB and FFAF]; and specify the food to which the child is allergic and the nature of the allergic reaction.

TSBVI shall maintain the confidentiality of the provided information, and may disclose the information to teachers, school counselors, school nurses, and other appropriate school personnel only to the extent consistent with School policy under Education Code 38.009 and permissible under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, 20 U.S.C. Section 1232g.  [See FL]

“Severe food allergy” means a dangerous or life-threatening reaction of the human body to a food-born allergen introduced by inhalation, ingestion, or skin contact that requires immediate medical attention.

Education Code 25.022(a)-(c)

  1. The TSBVI Health Center Director, with consultation from other specialists as needed, shall ensure that each student admitted to TSBVI has complied with requirements for screening of vision and hearing disorders, special senses and communication disorders, abnormal spinal curvature screening and acanthosis nigricans screening for darkening of skin found in body folds or armpit, navel, etc. or has submitted an affidavit of exemption. The student or minor student’s parent, managing conservator or guardian may substitute professional examinations for those screenings.  Health and Safety Code 36.005(a) and (b), 37.002(a), 95.003(c).
  2. If applicable, documentation of legal guardianship or documentation identifying a person with legal responsibility for the welfare of a minor student not residing with a parent.  If a legal document is not available, other documents such as a power of attorney or signed, notarized authorization from the parent or legal guardian designating an adult caregiver to make medical and educational decisions for the child.
  3. For adult students age 18 and over who are under no guardianship, a signed and notarized Power of Attorney for medical care while attending TSBVI.
  4. Parent contact information and signed permission and consents.

Education Code 25.002(a), 19 TAC 129.1(a),(b)

Enrollment

A child must be enrolled by the child’s parent, guardian, or other person with legal control under a court

order or other legal authorization.  The local district and TSBVI shall record the name, address, and date of birth of the person enrolling the child.  Education Code 25.002(f), Texas Family Code Chapter 34

Legal Surname

A student must be identified by the student’s legal surname as it appears on the student’s birth certificate or other document suitable as proof of the student’s identify, or in a court order changing the student’s name.  Education Code 25.0021

Substitute for Parent or Guardian

The term parent means a biological parent; an adoptive parent; a foster parent; a guardian; an individual acting in the place of a biological or adoptive parent, including a grandparent, stepparent or other relative with whom the child lives; or an individual who is legally responsible for the child’s welfare under a power of attorney or adult voluntary caregiver authorization agreement.   Education Code 25.002(f)

A grandparent may enroll a student if the grandparent resides in the referring district and provides a substantial amount of after-school care for the person.

If another person will enroll the student at TSBVI, the local district will be required to provide documentation of the person’s right to take responsibility to enroll the student. 

If the student must be enrolled by a person who is not the child’s parent, guardian, or other person with legal control under a court order, the local district will be required to provide the enrolling person’s legal documentation.

The TSBVI Board authorizes the Superintendent or his/her designee to decide whether to allow a person showing evidence of legal responsibility for a child other than an order of a court to substitute for a guardian or other person having lawful control of the child under court order. Education Code 25.001(j)

TSBVI shall record the name, address, and date of birth of the person enrolling the child.  Education Code 25.002(f)

Authorization Agreement

“Voluntary Adult caregiver” means an adult person whom a parent has authorized to provide temporary care for a child under Family Code Chapter 34. Family Code 34.0015(1)

A parent, as defined in Family Code 101.024, or both parents of a child may enter into an authorization agreement with a voluntary adult caregiver to authorize the adult caregiver to perform acts described in Family Code 34.002 in regard to the child, such as:

  1. Authorizing medical, dental, psychological, or surgical treatment and immunization of the child, including executing any consents or authorizations for the release of information as required by law relating to the treatment or immunization;
  2. Enrolling the child in the district; and
  3. Authorizing the child to participate in age-appropriate extracurricular, civic, social, or recreational activities, including athletic activities.

Family Code 34.002

A parent may enter into an authorization agreement with a voluntary adult caregiver with whom a child is placed under a parental child safety placement agreement approved by the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to allow the person to perform the acts described above with regard to the child during an investigation of abuse or neglect or while the department is providing services to the parent.  Family Code 34.0021

The authorization agreement must conform to the requirements of Family Code Chapter 34 and provide the voluntary adult caregiver’s birthdate.  Education Code 25.002(f)

A child who is the subject of an authorization agreement is not considered to be placed in foster care and the parties to the agreement are not subject to any law or rule governing foster care providers.  Family Code 34.0022(b)

An authorization agreement does not affect the rights of the child’s parent or legal guardian regarding the care, custody, and control of the child, and does not mean that the adult caregiver has legal custody of the child.  Family Code 34.007(b)

Only one authorization agreement may be in effect for a child at any time.  Execution of a subsequent authorization agreement does not by itself supersede, invalidate, or terminate a prior authorization agreement.  Revocation or expiration must be achieved pursuant to Family Code.  An authorization agreement is void if it is executed while a prior authorization agreement remains in effect.  Family Code 34.002(d), .008(f)

An authorization agreement is for a term of six months and renews automatically for six-month terms unless an earlier expiration date is stated in the agreement, the agreement is terminated under Family Code 34.008, or a court authorizes continuation.  Family Code 34.0075

Immunity

A person who is not a party to the authorization agreement who relies in good faith on the authorization agreement, without actual knowledge that the authorization agreement is void, revoked, or invalid, is not subject to civil or criminal liability to any person, and is not subject to professional disciplinary action, for that reliance if the agreement is completed as required by Family Code Chapter 34.  Family Code 34.007(a)

Students in Foster Care

A student placed in foster care by an agency of the state or a political subdivision, and whose foster parents reside in the referring local district, shall be permitted to attend TSBVI free of any charge pending a decision by the referring ARD committee.  No durational residency requirement shall be used to prohibit such a student from fully participating in all activities sponsored by TSBVI.  Education Code 25.001(f)

The local school district of a student in foster care may refer a student in foster care to TSBVI for educational purposes when it is determined that placement at TSBVI is the least restrictive environment in which the student can receive a free, appropriate public education.  The student must have an  identified foster residence in place for the student when the student is not at TSBVI, whether enrolled as a day student or a residential student, participating in the School’s Weekends Home Program, or when School is closed.  TSBVI is not intended or authorized to serve as a foster placement.

Students Under 11

On enrollment of a child under 11 years of age in a local district school for the first time at the school, the local district shall:

  1. Request from the person enrolling the child the name of each previous school attended by the child;
  2. Request from each school identified in item #1, the school records for the child and, if the person enrolling the child provides copies of previous school records, request verification from the school of the child’s name, address, date, and grades and dates attended; and
  3. Notify the person enrolling the student that not later than the 30th day after enrollment, or the ninetieth day if the child was not born in the United States, the person must provide:
    1. A certified copy of the child’s birth certificate; or
    2. Other reliable proof of the child’s identity and age and a signed statement explaining the person’s inability to produce a copy of the child’s birth certificate.

If a person enrolls a child under 11 years of age in school and does not provide the valid prior school information or documentation required, the school shall notify the appropriate law enforcement agency before the thirty-first day after the person fails to comply. 

Code of Criminal Procedures 63.019 

The local district with a student enrolled at TSBVI shall provide the School with copies of the information described in this section.

Inconsistent Documentation

If a child is enrolled under a name other than the name that appears in the identifying documents or records, TSBVI shall notify the missing children and missing person’s information clearinghouse of the child's name as shown on the identifying records and the name under which the child is enrolled.

Missing Documentation

If required documents and other records are not furnished to TSBVI within 30 days after enrollment, TSBVI shall request the local district to notify the police department of the city or the sheriff's department of the county in which the local district is located and request a determination of whether the child has been reported as missing.

Education Code 25.002(b)(c), 38.001

PROOF OF RESIDENCY IN THE LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICT

The local district may require evidence that a person is eligible to attend the public free schools of the district at the time it considers a student’s application for admission. The local school board or its designee shall establish minimum proof of residency acceptable to the local district. When admission is sought, the local school board shall determine whether an applicant qualifies as a resident of the local district and may adopt reasonable guidelines for making that determination as necessary to protect the best interest of students.  Education Code 25.001(c)

For students applying for admission or already admitted to TSBVI, whose residence address is different from the residence address of the student’s parent or guardian, TSBVI shall require from the local school district documentation that the student has met the district’s requirements for minimum proof of residency.

The local district may withdraw any student who ceases to be a resident. Daniels v. Morris, 746 F.2d 271 (5th Cir. 1984).  Continued enrollment at TSBVI requires a referral for admission from the new district of residence in accord with the federal, state, and the School’s process for doing so.

If a parent or other person with legal control of a child under a court order requests that a local district or TSBVI transfer a child’s student records, the school to which the request is made shall notify the parent or other person as soon as practicable that the parent or other person may request and receive an unofficial copy of the records for delivery in person to a school in another district.

Education Code 25.002(a-1)

Categories Meeting Residency Requirements

Student and Parent

  1. The student and either parent reside in the local school district.

Conservator

  1. The student does not reside in the local school district, but one of the parents resides in the district and that parent is a joint managing conservator or the sole managing conservator or possessory conservator of the student.

Resident Grandparent

  1. The student does not reside in the local district but the grandparent of the student:
    1. Resides in the local district; and
    2. Provides a substantial amount of after-school care for the student as determined by the local school district

Education Code 25.001(b)(9)

Guardian or Person Having Lawful Control

  1. The student and his or her guardian or other person having lawful control under an order of a court or a Voluntary Adult Caregiver under an Authorization Agreement reside in the local school district. Education Code 25.001(j), Texas Family Code Chapter 34.0015(1)

Students Over 18

  1. The person resides in the local district and is 18 or older. Education Code 25.001(b)(8)

Students Living Separately and Apart (Emancipated Teens)

  1. The student is under the age of 18 and has established a separate residence in the local district apart from his or her parent, guardian, or other person having lawful control under an order of a court and has established that the person’s presence in the local district is not for the primary purpose of participation in extracurricular activities.

Education Code 25.001(a)-(b),(d)

Homeless Students

  1. The student is a homeless child.
      1. A child is "homeless," under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, if the child lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. This includes:
        1. Children who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals; or are awaiting foster care placement;
        2. Children who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings;
        3. Children who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and
        4. Migratory children living in circumstances described above.
          "Migratory child'' means a child who is, or whose parent, spouse, or guardian is, a migratory agricultural worker, including a migratory dairy worker, or a migratory fisher, and who, in the preceding 36 months, in order to obtain, or accompany such parent, spouse, or guardian in order to obtain, temporary or seasonal employment in agricultural or fishing work:
          1. Has moved from one school district to another; or
          2. Resides in a school district of more than 15,000 square miles, and migrates a distance of 20 miles or more to a temporary residence to engage in a fishing activity.

            20 U.S.C. 6399

      2. A child is homeless, under state law, regardless of the residence of the child, either parent, or the child's guardian or other person having lawful control, if:
        1. The child lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence; or
        2. The child has a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings, including a car, park, abandoned building, bus or train station, airport, or camping ground
        3. The person lives in a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designated to provide temporary living accommodations (including hotels and motels paid for by government programs for low-income individuals or by charitable organizations, congregate shelters, and transitional housing);
        4. The person resided in a shelter or place not meant for human habitation and is exiting an institution where he or she temporarily resided;
        5. The person will imminently lose their housing, has no subsequent residence identified, and lacks the resources or support networks needed to obtain other housing; and
        6. The person is an unaccompanied youth or part of a homeless family with children and youth defined as homeless under other federal statutes who:
          1. Has experienced a long-term period without living independently in permanent housing;
          2. Has experienced persistent instability as measured by frequent moves over such period; and
          3. Can be expected to continue in such status for an extended period of time because of chronic disabilities, chronic physical or mental health conditions, substance addiction, histories of domestic violence or childhood abuse, the presence of a child or youth with a disability, or multiple barriers to employment.

Education Code 25.001(b)(5); 20 U.S.C. 6399; 42 U.S.C. 11434A(2), .11302

Child in DFPS Possession

  1. A local district shall enroll a child without the required documentation if the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) has taken possession of the child. DFPS shall ensure that the required documentation is furnished to the local district not later than the 30th day after the date the child is enrolled. The student’s local district will provide the DFPS documentation to TSBVI immediately upon their receiving it from DFPS. Education Code 25.002(g)

Undocumented Immigrants

  1. Denying enrollment to otherwise eligible children who are not legally admitted into the United States violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Plyler v. Doe  457 U.S. 202 (1982)

Foreign Exchange Students at TSBVI

  1. TSBVI may accept foreign exchange students into its Comprehensive Programs. To be considered for admission, the foreign exchange student must be placed with a host family in Texas by a nationally recognized foreign exchange program.  The exchange student must meet the eligibility requirements for admission to the School except for those requirements related to “least restrictive environment” provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.  The School will not accept a foreign exchange student if:
    1. The student’s admission would impose a financial or staffing hardship on TSBVI;
    2. The admission would diminish the School’s ability to provide high quality education services for the School’s domestic students; or
    3. The admission would require domestic students to compete with foreign exchange students for educational resources.

Education Code 25.001(b)(6), (e)

FALSE INFORMATION PROHIBITED

When referring a child for enrollment, the local district shall inform the parent or other person enrolling the child that presenting false information or false records for identification is a criminal offense under Penal Code 37.10 and that enrolling the child under false documents makes the person liable for tuition or other costs.  Education Code 25.002(d), 25.001(h)(i)

CREDITS AND RECORDS

The local district and TSBVI shall accept all credits earned toward state graduation requirements by students in accredited Texas school districts, including credits earned in accredited summer school programs.  Credits earned in local credit courses may be transferred at the local district’s discretion or TSBVI’s discretion.  19 TAC 74.26(a)(1)

Students who are able to successfully complete only one semester of a two-semester course can be awarded credit proportionally.  19 TAC 74.26(d)

A student who is homeless or in substitute care who successfully completes only one semester of a two-semester course shall be awarded credit proportionally.  19 TAC 74.26(e)

Placement and Transfer Students from Private, Out-of-State and Foreign Schools

Records and transcripts of students from Texas nonpublic schools or from out of state or out of the country (including foreign exchange students) shall be evaluated, and students may be placed promptly in appropriate classes.  TSBVI may use a wide variety of methods to verify the content of courses for which a transfer student has earned credit.  19 TAC 74.26(a)(2)

PEST CONTROL INFORMATION

At the time a student is registered, School personnel shall inform parents, guardians, or managing conservators through the Parent and Student Handbook that the School periodically applies pesticides indoors and that information on the application of pesticides is available on request.  Occupations Code 1951.455.

Adopted:          7/13/79
Amended:         11/14/97, 1/24/02, 11/18/05, 1/25/08, 9/20/13, 1/26/18
Reviewed: