Office of House Bill AnalysisC.S.S.B. 955
By: Bivins
Public Education
Committee Report (Substituted)


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.  C.S.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.  This bill also
requires the Texas Workforce Commission to develop and administer a
scholarship program for professional child-care training and further
requires the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to provide student
loan repayment assistance to eligible early childhood child-care workers. 


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking
authority is expressly delegated to the commissioner of education in
SECTION 1 (Section 29.155, Education Code), the Texas Workforce Commission
in SECTION 3 (Section 302.006, Labor Code) and the Texas Higher Education
Coordinating Board in SECTION 4 (Section 61.877, Education Code) of this


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

(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

(f)  Authorizes the commissioner to adopt rules as necessary to administer
this section. 

SECTION 2.  Amends Subtitle B, Title 3, Human Resources Code, by adding
Chapter 72, as follows: 


Sec. 72.001.  DEFINITION.  Defines "Head Start program" for purposes of
this chapter.   

Sec. 72.002.  EDUCATIONAL SERVICES.  Requires a Head Start program
(program) provider to provide educational services to children
participating in the program to achieve certain goals with respect to
reading and communication skills. 

SECTION 3.  Amends Subchapter A, Chapter 302, Labor Code, by adding Section
302.006, as follows: 

WAGE SUPPLEMENTATION.  (a) Requires the Texas Workforce Commission
(commission) to develop and administer a program under which it awards
$1,000 scholarships for professional child-care training to eligible

(b)  Authorizes a recipient to use a scholarship awarded under this section
only to pay expenses associated with obtaining certain credentials or
educational goals. 

(c)  Provides that in order to receive a scholarship awarded under this
section, a person must meet specific criteria. 

(d)  Prohibits a person from receiving more than one scholarship awarded
under this section. 

(e)  Authorizes the commission to additionally provide for payment of a
bonus or wage supplement to a scholarship recipient who, for 18 months
after the date of receiving the scholarship, provides care for children
younger than six years of age while remaining in the employment of the
child-care facility that employed the person when the scholarship was
awarded.  Requires any bonus or wage supplementation provided under this
subsection to be paid in equal shares by the scholarship recipient's
employer and the commission. Requires the commission to determine the
amount of any bonus and the amount and duration of any wage supplementation
provided under this subsection. 

(f)  Requires the commission to fund scholarships and any bonuses or wage
supplementation provided under this section through federal Child Care
Development funds or other funding sources available to the commission.
Prohibits total funding from exceeding $2 million per state biennium. 

(g)  Requires the commission to adopt rules necessary to implement this
section and sets forth some of the provisions the rules must include. 

SECTION 4.  Amends Chapter 61, Education Code, by adding Subchapter T, as


Sec. 61.871.  DEFINITIONS.  Defines "child-care facility" and "early
childhood child-care worker" for purposes of this subchapter. 

Higher Education Coordinating Board (board) to provide, according to this
subchapter and board rules, assistance in the repayment of eligible student
loans for persons applying and qualifying for assistance. 

Sec. 61.873.  ELIGIBILITY FOR ASSISTANCE.  Provides that a person must meet
certain criteria in order to be eligible to receive loan repayment
assistance under this subchapter. 

Sec. 61.874.  ELIGIBLE LOANS.  Authorizes a person to receive loan
repayment assistance under this subchapter for the repayment of any student
loan for education at any public or private institution of higher education
through any lender.  Provides that if the loan is not a state or federal
guaranteed student loan, the note or other writing governing the loan terms
must require the loan proceeds to be used for expenses incurred by a person
attending a public or private institution of higher education.   Prohibits
the board from providing repayment assistance for a student loan that is in
default at the time of the person's application. 

Sec. 61.875.  AGREEMENT; TERMS.  (a)  Provides that a person must enter
into a written agreement with the board to qualify for loan repayment
assistance.  Provides that this agreement must specify the conditions the
person must satisfy to receive repayment assistance. 

(b)  Provides that a person must agree to serve at least two years as an
early childhood child-care worker in this state to be eligible for loan
repayment assistance.  Authorizes the person to receive loan repayment
assistance for additional years of service as specified in the agreement. 

(c)  Provides that the agreement must specify the number of additional
years of service for which the person may receive repayment assistance and
the period within which the person must complete those years of service. 

(d)  Provides that only service as an early childhood child-care worker
after the date the person enters into the agreement may be used to satisfy
the service requirement under the agreement. 

(e)  Provides that the person must complete the initial service obligations
within three years of the agreement date, unless the board grants the
person additional time to begin fulfilling the initial service obligations.
Requires the board to grant the person additional time to complete the
service obligations for good cause. 

(f) Requires the board to cancel a person's service obligation if it is
determined that the person has become permanently disabled so that the
person is unable to work in the required capacity or the person has died. 

(g)  Requires the board to require a person receiving loan repayment
assistance to sign an agreement in the nature of a contract under which the
person agrees to perform the required years of service.  Provides that in
the event the person does not fulfill the terms of the agreement, all loan
repayment assistance becomes a loan and must be repaid by the person.
Provides that the agreement must include a promissory note acknowledging
these conditions and promising to repay the loan repayment amount,
applicable interest, and reasonable collection costs if the person fails to
satisfy the applicable conditions.  Requires the board to determine the
terms of the promissory note. 

a qualified person, for each year the person serves as an early childhood
child-care worker in this state under an agreement under Section 61.875, to
receive loan repayment assistance not to exceed 15 percent of the total
amount of the person's outstanding student loans, including scheduled
interest payments that would become due if the loan is not prepaid, when
the person enters into the agreement.  Prohibits the amount of yearly
repayment assistance from exceeding certain amounts, as provided by a
specified formula under this subsection.   

(b)  Authorizes the board to enter into an agreement to provide loan
repayment assistance under Section 61.875 only to the extent money is
appropriated or otherwise available for that purpose as it becomes payable.
Requires the board, in the event that money will not be sufficient to
provide  repayment assistance to each eligible applicant, to select persons
to receive repayment assistance according to financial need or on another
basis the board considers reasonable to further this subchapter's purpose. 

(c)  Authorizes the board to determine the manner in which the loan
repayment assistance is to be paid and requires the board to include
provisions governing the manner of repayment in the agreement.  Authorizes
the board to provide for the payment of a portion of the repayment
assistance in one or more installments before the person completes a full
year of service as an early childhood child-care worker and for the payment
of the remainder of the repayment assistance for that year after the
completion of the full year of service. 

Sec. 61.877.  ADMINISTRATION; RULES.  Requires the board to adopt rules
necessary for this subchapter's administration and to distribute a copy of
these rules, as well as pertinent information in this subchapter, to each
public and private institution of higher education in this state that
offers a degree program in early childhood development or an equivalent

Sec. 61.878.  FUNDING.  Authorizes the board to solicit and accept gifts,
grants, and donations from any public or private source for purposes of
this subchapter. 

SECTION 5.  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 6.  Provides that Subchapter T, Subchapter 61, Education Code, as
added by this Act, takes effect immediately and applies beginning with the
1999 fall semester, and that Section 29.155, Education Code, and Section
302.006, Labor Code, as added by this Act, takes effect September 1, 1999. 

SECTION 7.  Emergency clause.


C.S.S.B. 955 differs from the original bill by adding new SECTIONS 2-4 in
the substitute.  Please see the Section-by-Section Analysis portion of this

SECTION 5 of the substitute is redesignated from SECTION 2 of the original.

SECTION 6 of the substitute is redesignated from SECTION 3 of the original.
Both of these SECTIONS dealt with effective dates, however, the substitute
further clarifies the effective dates of the additional added SECTIONS,
whereas the original made the Act effective September 1, 1999. 

SECTION 7 (emergency clause) of the substitute is redesignated from SECTION
4 of the original.