The Texas legislature appropriated $838.7 million for instructional materials and technology for the 2014-15 biennium. This means that Texas school districts and open-enrollment charter schools can expect $175 per student in instructional materials allotment (IMA) funding over the next two school years.
Of the almost 940 education-related bills filed during the 83rd legislative session, several passed that will affect the selection and purchasing of instructional materials. House Bill 5 was the education bill that received the most attention. That legislation changed the state’s high school graduation requirements, reduced the number and impact of high school end-of-course assessments, and restructured the school and district accountability ratings system. The bill also contained several less publicized provisions affecting instructional materials purchasing:
- Beginning with the 2014-15 school year, school districts and open-enrollment charter schools may use state instructional materials allotment (IMA) funds to purchase college preparatory courses and instructional materials for those courses; and
- Effective immediately:
- The commissioner of education is required to notify each school district and open-enrollment charter school as early as practicable during each fiscal year of the estimated amount of IMA funds to which the district/charter school will be entitled during the next fiscal year;
- The commissioner of education may allow school districts/charter schools to order instructional materials before the beginning of the fiscal year (i.e., before the appropriation for those materials becomes available) and to receive the materials before payment. Districts may not use more than 80 percent of their IMA funds for such orders. The commissioner must prioritize payment for such orders as soon as the appropriated funds become available and must inform publishers of potential delays in payment. Publishers may decline to accept such orders.
- Though effective immediately, the commissioner may adopt rules to implement these provisions.
Stay tuned for future Learning List blog posts summarizing state legislation affecting the selection and purchasing of instructional materials.