1-1     By:  Bivins                                            S.B. No. 955
 1-2           (In the Senate - Filed March 5, 1999; March 8, 1999, read
 1-3     first time and referred to Committee on Education; April 7, 1999,
 1-4     reported adversely, with favorable Committee Substitute by the
 1-5     following vote:  Yeas 8, Nays 0; April 7, 1999, sent to printer.)
 1-6     COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE FOR S.B. No. 955                   By:  Bivins
 1-7                            A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 1-8                                   AN ACT
 1-9     relating to grants in support of pre-reading instruction.
1-11           SECTION 1.  Subchapter E, Chapter 29, Education Code, is
1-12     amended by adding Section 29.155 to read as follows:
1-13           Sec. 29.155.  READY TO READ GRANTS.  (a)  From funds
1-14     appropriated for the purpose, the commissioner shall make grants as
1-15     provided by this section in support of pre-reading instruction.
1-16           (b)  The commissioner shall establish a competitive grant
1-17     program for distribution of at least 95 percent of the available
1-18     appropriated funds. Grants shall be used to provide scientific,
1-19     research-based pre-reading instruction for the purpose of directly
1-20     improving pre-reading skills and for identifying cost-effective
1-21     models for pre-reading intervention.  The commissioner shall
1-22     distribute the grants in amounts not less than $50,000 or more than
1-23     $150,000 to eligible entities to be used for:
1-24                 (1)  professional staff development in pre-reading
1-25     instruction;
1-26                 (2)  pre-reading curriculum and materials;
1-27                 (3)  pre-reading skills assessment materials; and
1-28                 (4)  employment of pre-reading instructors.
1-29           (c)  A public school operating a prekindergarten program, or
1-30     another eligible entity as defined in Section 12.101(a) that
1-31     provides a preschool instruction program and that meets
1-32     qualifications prescribed by the commissioner, is eligible to apply
1-33     for a grant if at least 75 percent of the children enrolled in the
1-34     program are low-income students, as determined by rule of the
1-35     commissioner.
1-36           (d)  As a condition to receiving a grant, an applicant must
1-37     commit public or private funds matching the grant in a percentage
1-38     set by the commissioner. The commissioner shall determine the
1-39     required percentage of matching funds based on the demonstrated
1-40     economic capacity of the community served by the program to raise
1-41     funds for the purpose of matching the grant, as determined by the
1-42     commissioner.  Matching funds must equal at least 30 percent, but
1-43     not more than 75 percent, of the amount of the grant.
1-44           (e)  The commissioner shall develop and implement performance
1-45     measured for evaluating the effectiveness of grants under this
1-46     section.  Those measures must correlate to other reading diagnostic
1-47     assessments used in public schools in kindergarten through the
1-48     second grade.
1-49           (f)  The commissioner may adopt rules as necessary for the
1-50     administration of this section.
1-51           SECTION 2.  To the extent practical, the commissioner of
1-52     education shall administer the grant program established by Section
1-53     29.155, Education Code, as added by this Act, in a manner
1-54     consistent with other reading programs the commissioner identifies
1-55     as components of the governor's reading initiative.
1-56           SECTION 3.  This Act takes effect September 1, 1999.
1-57           SECTION 4.  The importance of this legislation and the
1-58     crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an
1-59     emergency and an imperative public necessity that the
1-60     constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several
1-61     days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended.
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