Legislative Archives

July 2007

New Textbook Law Took Effect June 18, 2007

On June 18th, 2007 House Bill 188, the law affecting the way school districts acquire new textbooks, became law. The new law mandates some fundamental changes in how the State Board of Education and the Texas Education Agency fulfills the state constitution’s provision to provide free textbooks to the schoolchildren of Texas. House Bill 188, authored by State Rep. Scott Hochberg (D-Houston), is designed to introduce more market competition among textbook publishers and provide the state a vehicle for more predictable budgeting for instructional materials.

Highlights of House Bill 188:

  • Currently, selection committees in school districts select instructional materials solely based on quality and the needs of students in that grade level and subject matter.  Now cost will be a consideration.
  • When the State Board of Education issues a proclamation, they sets a maximum cost of what the state will pay per student (or unit) per subject matter, the upcoming Reading / Language Arts call has traditionally been one of the most expensive because of the copyrights and other factors involved with language arts.  
  • HB 188 mandates a credit system for the purchase of textbooks so that if school districts pick books that come under the maximum cost per student allowed by the state they may keep half the difference in the form of credits that are “banked” at the Texas Education Agency. The state keeps the other half.
  • Credits may only be used to purchase other instructional materials.
  • The State will continue to order the materials so they can get the bulk rates available with statewide purchasing.
  • HB 188 also gives the State Board of Education the option to hold a mid-cycle adoption providing it doesn’t call for materials already under contract in the regular adoption cycle.  The intent is to introduce more flexibility. 
  • Supplemental textbook adoption books will not be required to meet the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), although are required to  contain material covering one or more primary focal points or primary topics of a subject.
  • It is anticipated that districts will use their credits for these supplemental instructional materials.

May 2007

Textbook Bill Passes the Senate and House and is headed to the Governor's desk

House Bill 188 by State Rep. Scott Hochberg (D- Houston) authorizes the State Board of Education (SBOE) to adopt textbooks during mid-cycle and adopt supplemental textbooks. It also provides access to the complete replacement purchasing cycle for those participating in the regular proclamation process and allows small publishers to introduce new books "off-cycle", while providing access to a smaller add-ons market. HB 188 expands the textbook credit pilot program statewide and allows school districts to use textbook credits to order supplemental materials adopted by SBOE. This bill provides school districts with the flexibility to group supplemental materials together to use in place of the regular textbook if the combination of supplemental materials contains the entire TEKS required for all students and is within the maximum cost of the regular textbook or if the school district makes up the cost difference with textbook credits. This bill also allows the state to appropriate additional funds for credits to facilitate the cost savings process. HB 188 requires proclamations to be designated by the school year in which the textbooks are intended to be made available and requires the SBOE to consult with the Legislative Budget Board and the Governor's office to consider cost factors and to limit the cycle to those textbooks that can be purchased with available funds before releasing a proclamation. HB 188 repeals the moratorium on proclamations put in place during the last legislative session. A proposal last month to replace the textbook adoption process with an allotment system (House Bill 3419) died in the Calendars Committee.

March 2007

Click here
to read the Feb. 2007 letter to the Governor Rick Perry introducing Texas Textbooks' briefing book, Helping Children Learn. Each state representative and each senator, along with Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, received an identical letter. March 2007 - The $495 million for new instructional materials for Mathematics is included in the Texas Education Agency's budget item and, as such, is part of the big budget bill for the state. Click here to read testimony submitted by Texas Association of Supervisors of Mathematics, and here to read the past president of Texas Council of Teachers of Mathematics to the Texas House of Reprsentatives Appropriations committee on March 1. State Rep. Scott Hochberg (D-Houston) has introduced a bill (HB 188), that would create a credit system by which school districts receive credits for ordering materials that are priced below the state’s maximum cost allowed for textbooks. The savings would be split between the districts and the state. The concept was tested in a pilot project through the Texas Education Agency (TEA) in selected school districts over the past several years. Click here to see a copy of the bill. Sen. Florence Shapiro (R-Plano) filed legislation to put an end to the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills exit-level exam, proposing to replace the high-stakes test with a dozen end-of-course exams. Click here to read about the Quorum Report article about this legislation.

Textbook Funding - 2007 Texas Legislature

During the 2007 session which convenes in January, the Texas Legislature is charged with funding textbooks for elementary and secondary mathematics - subject matter critical to Texas school children. Without this funding approval, math and other subjects such as reading (originally scheduled for adoption in 2008) could be delayed, leaving kids with outdated books that are not aligned with the testing standards in Texas. Learn more about math funding.

It is important to note that in the final days of the 2006 Special Session, an amendment by Senator Shapiro and cosponsored by Senators West and Van de Putte removed the language in House Bill 1 that would have delayed elementary math books from reaching classrooms around the state. Read the Textbook Coordinators Association of Texas release applauding the Senate on this issue.

May 4, 2006: Senate Finance Committee version of House Bill 1 would delay elementary math books. Learn More...

Background on School Finance Debate
Late last year, the Texas Supreme Court ruled in the school finance case that Texas Legislators must take action by June 1 to reform the way Texas schools are financed. The school finance debate is critically important to all children in Texas, and the Legislature’s solutions will lay a marker for where Texas will stand nationally in the education arena.
Read the Texas Supreme Court's Opinion.

As part of the education reform debate, preserving the Permanent School Fund, a constitutionally set endowment not dependent on taxpayer funds, is critical to ensure that every child in Texas receives instructional materials that arrive on time each year, contain the information needed to succeed in school, and are paid for. Learn more about why the Texas Legislature must protect the Permanent School Fund.