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Summary: Federal law requires schools to provide certain employment transition services for special needs students. This legislation adds to the federal requirement by requiring schools and/or shared services arrangements to designate an employee who will operate as a liaison between the school and special needs students as and their parents to help explain all the post-secondary options available for the student. Also, HB 617 requires the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to create an employment guide to be published on their website as a resource for parents and their special needs students. The bill requires the school districts to also post the employment guide on their websites and help parents find the information.
Analysis: HB 617 addresses the need to assist students with special needs and help them transition into the workforce after completing high school. HB 617 may benefit the state in the long run by reducing the potential cost of caring for special needs students who are not prepared to find work. Furthermore, the bill allows schools to give the liaison responsibilities to an existing employee and does not require schools to hire new employees specifically to fill this role. This legislation does not fall within the categories of any of our liberty principles, nor does it offend them; therefore we do not object the bill.