House Bill 6, which makes major changes in the textbook process and restructures the funding of textbooks and technology, was filed on March 8th.Representative Rob Eissler, chairman of the House Public Education Committee, is the author of the bill.
I’ve been told that the bill has support in both the Lt. Governor’s and the Speaker’s office. A companion bill is supposed to be filed in the Senate on Friday, March 11th. Once that happens, I will prepare a chart comparing the two bills.
After reviewing the bill and speaking with several people around the Capitol, I created this chart with frequently asked questions. If you have any questions, please post them in the comment section.
|What happens to the Technology Allotment with the passage of HB 6?||HB 6 eliminates 32.005 in the Texas Education Code but adds much of the same language to describe a new fund that will be called the Instructional Materials Allotment (IMA). The IMA can purchase instructional materials AND technological equipment necessary to support the use of materials included on the list adopted by the commissioner and pay for training of educational personnel directly involved in student learning in the appropriate use of instructional materials and for providing for access to technological equipment for instructional use.|
|Do districts lose the $30 per student that was provided in 32.005?||HB 6 creates a new funding formula that funds the new IMA. Each year the SBOE will set aside an amount equal to 50% of the annual distribution for that year from the permanent school fund to be available for the new IMA. It is not a set amount but fluctuates depending on how well the permanent school fund does in the market.|
|What happens to the Textbook Credits?||Textbook Credits would be eliminated by HB 6.|
|Do districts still have to purchase a class-set of the conforming or non-conforming books?||HB 6 eliminates the language in HB4294 that required districts to purchase a class-set of textbooks.|
|If a district purchases a book off the non-conforming list do they still have to pay 30% of the book from local funds?||No. Under HB 6, districts could purchase non-conforming books with the IMA.|
|What about the word textbook? Is it still used in the Texas Education Code?||HB 6 replaces the word “textbook” with “instructional materials”.|
|What is included in the definition of “instructional materials”?||HB 6 defines “instructional materials” as the following: content that conveys the TEKs of a subject in the public school curriculum through a medium or combination of media. It includes a book, supplementary materials, workbook, software, magnetic media, DVD, CD-ROM, computer courseware, on-line services, and open-source content.|
|When using the IMA to purchase technological equipment, do districts have to choose from an approved list?||No. HB 6 would allow districts to purchase the equipment they need that enables them to teach and students to learn the required curriculum.|
|Who determines the per-student amount paid to the district?||HB 6 gives the commissioner this responsibility. He is to use the formula that is provided in the law.|
|How will school districts report that they are utilizing IMA funds to purchase only what is allowed in the education code?||In HB 6 districts must annually certify to the commissioner that the district has only used the IMA according to the law.|
|Can districts require a publisher to provide a sample copy of a textbook in a digital format?||Yes.|
|Who does the printed instructional materials belong to at the end of the adoption?||HB 6 allows districts to keep the proceeds from the sale of printed instructional materials after the date they are to be discontinued.|
|Can districts charge a student for instructional materials or technological equipment purchased by the district with funds from the IMA?||No. However, districts may charge a student for any damaged or lost instructional materials or technological equipment. It is unclear if districts may charge a usage or insurance fee on equipment that was purchased with IMA funds. This provision in HB 6 does not apply to equipment purchased with local funds.|
|Who owns the electronic instructional materials or equipment?||HB 6 clarifies that these belong to the school district and not the state.|
|If a school district sells the printed materials that were purchased with the IMA after they are out of adoption OR equipment purchased with the IMA, what can the proceeds be used for?||HB 6 stipulates that the proceeds of the sale of instructional materials or equipment that had been purchased by funds from the IMA must be used on items that can be bought with the IMA.|
|Who decides how much of the IMA is spent on instructional materials and how much is spent on technological equipment or training?||HB 6 leaves this decision to the local school board and district.|