HBA-MPM S.B. 955 76(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisS.B. 955 By: Bivins Public Education 4/19/1999 Engrossed BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Last session, Governor George W. Bush launched the Texas Reading Initiative. The Ready to Read Initiative complements the Texas Reading Initiative by targeting low-income preschool children and equipping them with pre-reading skills needed for long-term academic success. S.B. 955 establishes a competitive grant program designed to allow a public or private preschool to provide scientific, research-based pre-reading instruction designed to improve a student's pre-reading skills and also to identify cost-effective models for pre-reading instruction. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Subchapter E, Chapter 29, Education Code, by adding Section 29.155, as follows: Sec. 29.155. READY TO READ GRANTS. (a) Requires the commissioner of education (commissioner) to make grants as provided by this section in support of pre-reading instruction from funds appropriated for that purpose. (b) Requires the commissioner to establish a competitive grant program for distribution of at least 95 percent of the available funds. Requires grants to be used to provide scientific, research-based, pre-reading instruction to improve pre-reading skills and to identify cost-effective models for pre-reading intervention. Requires the commissioner to distribute grants to eligible entities in amounts between $50,000 and $150,000 to be used for professional staff development in pre-reading instruction; pre-reading curriculum, materials, and skills assessment materials; and employment of pre-reading instructors. (c) Provides that a public school operating a prekindergarten program, or an eligible entity defined in Section 12.101(a) (Authorization), Education Code, that provides preschool instruction and which meets the commissioner's qualifications, is eligible to apply for a grant, provided at least 75 percent of the children enrolled in the program are low-income students, as determined by the commissioner's rule. Section 12.101(a), Education Code, defines "eligible entity" as one of the following: an institution of higher education, including a private or independent institution of higher education, as defined under Section 61.003, (Definitions), Education Code; an organization exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) (Exemption From Tax On Corporations, Certain Trusts, Etc.), 26 U.S.C. (Internal Revenue Code); or a governmental entity. (d) Provides that an applicant must commit public or private funds matching the grant in a percentage set by the commissioner in order to receive a grant. Requires the commissioner to determine the required percentage of matching funds based on the demonstrated economic capability of the community served by the program to raise funds to match the grants, as determined by the commissioner. Stipulates that matching funds must equal between 30 and 75 percent of the grant amount. (e) Requires the commissioner to develop and implement performance measures for evaluating the effectiveness of grants under this section. Provides that those measures must correlate to other reading diagnostic assessments used in public schools in kindergarten through the second grade. (f) Authorizes the commissioner to adopt rules as necessary to administer this section. SECTION 2. Requires the commissioner, to the extent practicable, to administer the grant program as established by this Act in a way that is consistent with other reading programs the commissioner identifies as components of the governor's reading initiative. SECTION 3. Effective date: September 1, 1999. SECTION 4. Emergency clause.