Can we still operate as a Shared Services Arrangement?

The legislature has repealed a statute that authorizes school districts to join forces to form an SSA—a Shared Services Arrangement. Does that mean districts can’t do this anymore?  Must all districts, no matter how small or rural, operate their special education program alone?

No. That’s not what it means.  The statute, T.E.C. 29.007, was one of several listed in S.B. 1376 for repeal. This bill was the culmination of efforts designed to reduce the size of the Education Code. With regard to SSAs the intent of the statute was aimed not at the first sentence of the statute, but rather, the second. 

*First sentence:  “School districts may enter into a written contract to jointly operate their special education programs.”

*Second sentence: “The contract must be approved by the commissioner.”

While the intent was to get T.E.A. out of the process, the statute was repealed in its entirety. So that specific authorization in the Education Code is gone.

However, there are other provisions in the Code that empower districts to continue to work together to provide special education services.  Like this:

The board of trustees of an independent school district may contract with a public or private entity for that entity to provide educational services for the district.  T.E.C. 11.157. 

And this:

The board may enter into contracts as authorized under this code or other law and delegate contractual authority to the superintendent as appropriate.  T.E.C. 11.1151(c)(4). 

While districts are still authorized to come together with an SSA, there may be provisions in your existing agreement that are no longer needed.  Administrative regulations adopted by the Commissioner or the Agency pursuant to the repealed statute are no longer in effect. So this would be a great time to review your existing SSA if you have one, and get some legal counsel as to revisions that might be necessary, or at least helpful. 

We can help with that.  Let us know if you’d like a Walsh Gallegos attorney to help you navigate your way to a new and improved SSA. 


Tomorrow: Toolbox Tuesday!!