By:  Bivins                                            S.B. No. 955
                                A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
                                       AN ACT
 1-1     relating to grants in support of pre-reading instruction.
 1-3           SECTION 1.  Subchapter E, Chapter 29, Education Code, is
 1-4     amended by adding Section 29.155 to read as follows:
 1-5           Sec. 29.155.  READY TO READ GRANTS.  (a)  From funds
 1-6     appropriated for the purpose, the commissioner shall make grants as
 1-7     provided by this section in support of pre-reading instruction.
 1-8           (b)  The commissioner shall establish a competitive grant
 1-9     program for distribution of at least 95 percent of the available
1-10     appropriated funds.  Grants shall be used to provide scientific,
1-11     research-based pre-reading instruction for the purpose of directly
1-12     improving pre-reading skills and for identifying cost-effective
1-13     models for pre-reading intervention.  The commissioner shall
1-14     distribute the grants in amounts not less than $50,000 or more than
1-15     $150,000 to eligible entities to be used for:
1-16                 (1)  professional staff development in pre-reading
1-17     instruction;
1-18                 (2)  pre-reading curriculum and materials;
1-19                 (3)  pre-reading skills assessment materials; and
1-20                 (4)  employment of pre-reading instructors.
1-21           (c)  A public school operating a prekindergarten program, or
1-22     another eligible entity as defined in Section 12.101(a) that
1-23     provides a preschool instruction program and that meets
1-24     qualifications prescribed by the commissioner, is eligible to apply
 2-1     for a grant if at least 75 percent of the children enrolled in the
 2-2     program are low-income students, as determined by rule of the
 2-3     commissioner.
 2-4           (d)  As a condition to receiving a grant, an applicant must
 2-5     commit public or private funds matching the grant in a percentage
 2-6     set by the commissioner. The commissioner shall determine the
 2-7     required percentage of matching funds based on the demonstrated
 2-8     economic capacity of the community served by the program to raise
 2-9     funds for the purpose of matching the grant, as determined by the
2-10     commissioner.  Matching funds must equal at least 30 percent, but
2-11     not more than 75 percent, of the amount of the grant.
2-12           (e)  The commissioner shall develop and implement performance
2-13     measures for evaluating the effectiveness of grants under this
2-14     section.  Those measures must correlate to other reading diagnostic
2-15     assessments used in public schools in kindergarten through the
2-16     second grade.
2-17           (f)  The commissioner may adopt rules as necessary for the
2-18     administration of this section.
2-19           SECTION 2.  To the extent practical, the commissioner of
2-20     education shall administer the grant program established by Section
2-21     29.155, Education Code, as added by this Act, in a manner
2-22     consistent with other reading programs the commissioner identifies
2-23     as components of the governor's reading initiative.
2-24           SECTION 3.  This Act takes effect September 1, 1999.
2-25           SECTION 4.  The importance of this legislation and the
2-26     crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an
 3-1     emergency and an imperative public necessity that the
 3-2     constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several
 3-3     days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended.