The new House Bill 6 (HB 6) was voted on and approved in the June Special Session of the 2011 Legislative Session. This bill made monumental changes to textbooks, textbook funding and adoption. This bill enacts an Instructional Materials Fund (IMF), 50% funded by the Permanent School Fund (PSF). The SBOE is responsible for setting this amount aside, except for the 2012-2013 school year where the IMF is made up of only 40%. In previous years, there was an allotment for both textbooks and technology. This new IMF encompasses both areas. The technology allotment as a budget line item is no longer available. Also, the IMF is based on a per-student allotment, for which the commissioner is responsible.
With this new bill comes new wording/references to textbooks. Instead of textbooks, the language now reads instructional materials. This is because districts no longer need to purchase a new set of classroom books each year; instead they can focus their funds on additional/updated assessment and accountability materials. Instructional materials cover items such as textbooks, supplemental material, open-source content, on-line resources, digital media (DVDs, CDs, and magnetic media), workbooks, computer software, and digital course work. The IMF money can be used to purchase instructional materials both on the SBOE list and the commissioner’s lists; however these items do not need to be on the SBOE list. Districts can also purchase consumable materials, supplemental materials and state-developed open-source materials. The money in the IMF can be used for salaries of employees providing technology support, training for staff that work with these new instructional materials or technology, and for technology equipment. Any unspent funds can be carried over to the following year.
TCEA provided a great blog discussing frequently asked questions concerning this bill. To read more about this bill, visit its blog at http://tceaadvocacy.wordpress.com/2011/03/11/hb-6-goodbye-technology-allotment-hello-instructional-material-allotment/.
You can also read the HB6 at http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=821&Bill=HB6.
Please feel free to respond to the questions below:
1. What types of instructional materials are (were) top on your list to purchase?
2. Besides textbook purchases, how much will this change what you purchase this year?