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Estimated Two-year Net Impact to General Revenue Related Funds for HB2811, Committee Report 1st House, Substituted: a negative impact of ($8,555,128) through the biennium ending August 31, 2017.
The bill would make funding available earlier in the school year to
school districts and open-enrollment charter schools to purchase
instructional materials and may prevent districts from borrowing from
local funds to pay for these materials.
HB 2811 would require the State Board of Education (SBOE) to conduct a review of the foundation curriculum that would narrow the number and scope of student expectations for each subject and grade level in accordance with the bill's provisions.
HB 2811 would require SBOE to set aside
50 percent of the distribution from the permanent school fund (PSF) to
the available school fund (ASF) to be placed in the instructional
materials fund (IMF) on a biennial basis instead of an annual basis. The
bill would entitle school districts to the instructional materials
allotment (IMA) on a biennial basis instead of an annual basis and
require IMA funding to be available in the first year of each biennium.
The bill would restrict the authority of the SBOE for any state fiscal biennium to issue proclamations requesting the production of instructional materials to only when the total projected cost of instructional materials under the proclamations does not exceed 75 percent of the total amount used to fund the instructional materials allotment for that biennium. If there is an adoption of revised essential knowledge skills for any subject, the board would determine if a proclamation is necesary depending on any changes and if so, issue a proclamation for instructional materials.
The bill would amend Government Code to permit the Texas Education Agency, to the extent authorized by the General Appropriations Act, to make temporary transfers from the foundation school fund for payment of the instructional materials allotment and to authorize a transfer from the general revenue fund to the foundation school fund at least two days before the date an installment to school districts is required.
Note: This bill has many similarities to SB 313.
This bill abridges the principle of limited government by requiring the SBOE to narrow the scope of foundation curriculum for school districts. For that reason, we recommend voting no unless this bill is amended to only contain the provisions concerning the distribution changes to the different school funds, which are the provisions on which we remain neutral.
A note of caution: According to the bill's legislative analysis, the purpose of the bill is "to ensure that the SBOE adopts materials that do not consume the entire amount of the allotment so that districts will have the ability to spend their allotments for purposes other than just the purchase of textbooks." This equates to technological resources, such as electronic textbooks, of which SBOE has little purview. We believe elected representatives should have maximum control over the content of all classroom instructional materials, electronic or otherwise.