SRC-SLL, SLL, DPW S.B. 955 76(R)BILL ANALYSIS Senate Research CenterS.B. 955 By: Bivins Education 8/16/1999 Enrolled DIGEST 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. This bill 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. PURPOSE As enrolled, S.B. 955 requires the commissioner of education to make grants in support of prereading instruction. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY Rulemaking authority is granted to the commissioner of education in SECTION 1 (Sections 29.155(c) and (f), Chapter 29E, Education Code) of this bill. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Chapter 29E, Education Code, by adding Section 29.155, as follows: Sec. 29.155. READY TO READ GRANTS. Requires the commissioner of education (commissioner) to make grants in support of pre-reading instruction. Requires the commissioner to establish a competitive grant program for the distribution of at least 95 percent of the available appropriated funds. Requires grants to be used to provide prereading instruction for certain purposes. Requires the commissioner to distribute grants to be used for certain purposes in amounts no less than $50,000 and no more than $150,000. Provides that public schools operating prekindergarten programs or other eligible entities as defined in Section 12.101(a), Education Code, that meet qualifications prescribed by the commissioner, and have a student body of which 75 percent of students enrolled are lowincome students as determined by rule of the commissioner, are eligible to apply for a grant. Requires the commissioner to develop and implement performance measures which must correlate with other reading assessments used in public schools for kindergarten through the second grade, for evaluating the effectiveness of grants under this section. Authorizes the commissioner to adopt rules for the administration of this section. SECTION 2. Amends Title 3B, Human Resources Code, by adding Chapter 72, as follows: CHAPTER 72. HEAD START PROGRAMS Sec. 72.001. DEFINITION. Defines "Head Start program." Sec. 72.002. EDUCATIONAL SERVICES. Requires a Head Start program provider (provider) to provide educational services to children participating in the Head Start program (program) so that each child is prepared to enter school and is ready to learn after completing the program. Requires the educational services provided to include components designed to provide a child with certain skills. SECTION 3. Requires the commissioner of education to administer the grant program in a manner consistent with other reading programs identified as components of the governor's reading program. SECTION 4. Effective date for Section 29.155, Education Code, as added by this Act: September 1, 1999. SECTION 5. Emergency clause. Effective date: 90 days after adjournment.