Posts Tagged "funding"

Can a District Project Instructional Materials Funding?

[Source: TEA]

[Source: TEA]

Earlier this year, we published a blog post that described how the funds for instructional materials in Texas flow from their source to local school districts. In that post, we explained that the instructional materials allotment (IMA) begins at the Permanent School Fund (PSF)—a $30 billion endowment created expressly for the benefit of the public schools of Texas—and flows through the State Board of Education, the state legislature, and the Texas Education Agency before making its way to the local education agencies.

Shortly before the beginning of each biennial legislative session, the State Board of Education (SBOE) determines the annual distribution rate (commonly referred to as the payout) from the PSF for each of the subsequent two budget years. The SBOE sets aside half of this distribution for instructional materials. This is the first step in the process that determines the amount of the IMA that each school district will receive for the purchase of instructional materials.

On September 19, 2014, the SBOE voted to set the distribution rate at 3.5%. As a result, the annual payout from the PSF for the IMA for the 2015–2016 and 2016–2017 school years could be as high as $500 million per year. To divide the total payout among all school districts, the commissioner of education has, in previous years, determined each district’s IMA allocation based on the percentage of the total student population served by the district. If the same rationale is used in the coming school years, a district that serves 1% of the total student population of Texas could receive $5 million (1% of $500 million) each year.



Knowing the amount of its IMA allocation for upcoming years can help a district begin planning for its instructional materials purchases. However, in doing so, districts should be aware that the possible amount of the IMA for the 2015–2016 and 2016–2017 school years suggested in this post is, at this point, only a projection. There are still several steps yet to be taken in the process that determines the actual amount of the IMA: the SBOE can decide to change the distribution rate at its November 2014 meeting; from (but not limited to) the payout set aside by the SBOE, the state legislature must appropriate the money for the IMA; and, from the amount appropriated, the commissioner of education must determine the per-student allotment for each district.

The total amount of the IMA available to the commissioner and each district’s individual IMA allocation should be known shortly after the end of the legislative session in 2015.

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5 Strategies to Stretch Your $

Stretch-Your-BudgetHave you ever wondered how your district is going to purchase all the new instructional materials your students need?  With the Association of American Publishers noting a four percent decline of instructional materials purchases in 1Q of 2014, school budgets continue to be under close scrutiny to maximize the ROI for education. Some states, like Texas, Florida and South Carolina, provide discrete funding for instructional materials. Most others expect districts to use general formula funding to purchase instructional materials.  All states expect school districts to use local funds to fill in the gaps.

But, if those funding streams aren’t sufficient to cover the costs of all the new instructional materials your students need, we need to think creatively. Here are five strategies to help you stretch your dollars so that you can afford the instructional materials your students need:

(1)    Get the most from the instructional materials you have purchased:  Make sure your teachers know how to fully implement the materials your district has purchased so that they do not purchase additional materials with redundant functionalities.

(2)    Align the materials you have to new state standards for the same grade and subject and then fill-in-the-gaps with supplemental products or high-quality open-education resources. Learning List can help!

(3)    Align your materials for one subject to the standards for another subject – then fill-in-the-gaps with supplemental or high quality open-education resources.  Learning List can help!

(4)    Buy/Sell surplus.  If districts have physical ownership over instructional materials under your state’s law, sell them if your district is not or will not be using them in the foreseeable future. Check whether your state’s laws prescribe when and how districts in your state may sell surplus instructional materials.

(5)    Use Federal funds.  Federal  funds may be used to purchase instructional materials for select students or for the general student population . Some of those funding sources include:

Title I, which allows funding to ensure “… that high-quality academic assessments, accountability systems, teacher preparation and training, curriculum, and instructional materials are aligned with challenging State academic standards so that students, teachers, parents, and administrators can measure progress against common expectations for student academic achievement….” and

Title II, which provides funds to: “(1) increase student academic achievement through strategies such as improving teacher and principal quality and increasing the number of highly qualified teachers in the classroom and highly qualified principals and assistant principals in schools; and (2) hold local educational agencies and schools accountable for improvements in student academic achievement.”

You can use one or all of the above strategies to stretch your fund$ to optimize the ROI for your instructional materials budget. We welcome you to share other strategies that have worked for your leadership team.

ISTE Update: JOIN Learning List for an ISTE RECEPTION on Sunday, June 29th at 5:30 PM. RSVP Here.

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Where Does Funding for Instructional Materials Come From?

textbooks2Few states make a specific appropriation to districts for the purposes of purchasing instructional materials and/or technology. South Carolina, Florida, and Texas are among the states that do.

In Texas, the funds for the Instructional Materials Allotment (IMA) begin at the Permanent School Fund (PSF), which was created by the legislature in 1854 with a $2 million appropriation for the benefit of Texas public schools. By the end of the 2013 fiscal year, the market value of the PSF exceeded $33 billion.

Shortly before the beginning of each biannual legislative session, the State Board of Education (SBOE) determines the annual distribution (or “payout”) from the PSF to the Available School Fund (ASF) for each of the subsequent two budget years. The SBOE sets aside half of this distribution for the Instructional Materials Fund (IMF). The legislature determines the amount of the distribution that is ultimately appropriated for the IMF.

The money in the IMF is used for several different instructional materials-related expenses, such as the cost of shipping adopted instructional materials to districts. The largest portion of the IMF, though, goes to the Instructional Materials Allotment (IMA). The commissioner determines the amount of the annual, per-student allocation from the IMA based on the amount of money available in the IMF. For the 2014-2015 school year, approximately 96% of the IMF was used for the IMA.

The ability to trace the flow of IM funds from their source to the local education agencies (LEAs) not only makes for an informed electorate, but also allows those who depend on those funds to estimate future IM allotments and plan for upcoming IM purchases.

In estimating forthcoming allotments and planning for future purchases, however, LEAs should be bear in mind that as funds flow from their source, they pass through the capitol building, and, by the power of appropriation, the state legislature has the final word on the funding of instructional materials.

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Funding Update: Financial Literacy Curricula

Discover Financial Services seeks to ensure that all students have the skills needed for a successful financial future. In support of this goal, Discover administers the Pathway to Financial Success (PFS) program which provides grants to U.S. public high schools that implement a financial literacy curriculum.  Per the PFS website, in order to be eligible for grants a high school:

  • Must implement or be looking to implement a financial education curriculum;
  • Use a measurement tool to assess participation in and comprehension of the financial education curriculum; and
  • Agree to share overall results of the measurement tool’s pre and post-curriculum testing with Discover upon the program’s completion, to assess what worked and what didn’t.

Grant awards are determined on a program-by-program basis.  For more information about the grant program and  the complet RFP, click here.

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ING Unsung Heroes Programs Provides Funding for Innovative Teaching

The ING Unsung Heroes Program recognizes K-12 educators who are innovative in the classroom and positively influence students.  The program provides 100 educators statewide with grants of $2,000 grants each year to implement creative projects in schools or school systems. The top three finalists receive awards of $27,000, $12,000, and $7,000.

All K-12 educators working full-time in an accredited public or private school are eligible to apply.  Applications for 2014 grants are due on April 30, 2014, and awards will be announced in the fall. For more information about how to apply click here.



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