The Conference Report for SB 6 passed the House (142-1) and the Senate (30-0) on Monday, June 27th. The final step in the process is for the Governor to sign the bill. SB 6 stipulated that if the bill took effect immediately, the $184 million that is set aside for instructional materials in HB 4 would be added to the $608 million that is appropriated for the Instructional Materials Allotment (IMA) for a total of $792 million. Because more than two-thirds of the membership voted for SB 6, it will take effect as soon as the Governor signs the bill.
The conference committee agreed upon the following in the final report:
- The committee kept the Technology Lending Grant but changed the amount to $10 million (instead of 5% of the IMA). They require TEA to conduct an evaluation of the Technology Lending Grant and stipulate that the program will end in four years.
- All the HB 500 provisions were removed from the bill.
- The committee kept the funding for the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Texas School for the Deaf, and the Texas Youth Commission. They exempted these entities from requiring them to use these funds only for instructional materials.
- The committee also tightened the language on what type of personnel can be funded by the IMA. In order to use the IMA to fund technical staff, they must support equipment that is directly involved in student learning.
- The House language regarding the SBOE involvement for open-source materials remains in the bill. The SBOE cannot take open-source materials off the adoption list but they can provide comments. These comments must be posted and distributed to school districts if they are made within 90 days.