Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 623
By: Hochberg
Public Education


The Texas Education Agency pays for and distributes most of the textbooks
used in public schools in this state.  Current law is designed to ensure
that textbooks can be ordered with relative ease and arrive at their
intended school districts before the beginning of the school year.  Yet, an
interim study by the Committee on Public Education concluded that current
law may not provide for the most efficient and timely distribution of
textbooks.  House Bill 623 amends provisions regarding the purchase and
distribution of textbooks for public schools. 


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking
authority is expressly delegated to the State Board of Education in SECTION
5 (Section 31.108, Education Code) of this bill. 


House Bill 623 amends the Education Code to require the commissioner of
education (commissioner) to implement a program to study the use of credits
for textbook purchases that will allow a participating school district
(district) or open-enrollment charter school (charter school) to receive
credit for textbooks purchased below the maximum allowable price.  The bill
provides that the credit be computed as the difference between the actual
textbook price and the maximum allowable price for the textbooks,
multiplied by the number of textbooks purchased.  The bill requires the
commissioner to distribute 50 percent of the district's or charter school's
credit to the state textbook fund and the remaining 50 percent to the
participating districts or charter schools for the purchase of additional
textbooks on the conforming and nonconforming lists.  The bill requires the
commissioner to present the findings of the use of the credit system to the
79th Legislature.  The study ends on September 1, 2005. 

H.B. 623 authorizes a district or school to requisition textbooks on the
conforming and nonconforming lists for grades above the grade level in
which a student is enrolled provided that the total quantity requisitioned
is not more than the limit permitted by law.  If sufficient copies of a
textbook the district or school currently uses are not available before the
beginning of the following school year, the bill permits a district or
charter school to be reimbursed from the state textbook fund for the
purchase of used textbooks at a rate provided by State Board of Education
rule or to return currently-used textbooks to the commissioner in exchange
for sufficient copies of other textbooks on the conforming or nonconforming

The bill requires a publisher or manufacturer of textbooks to provide a
district or charter school an accurate shipping date for back-ordered
textbooks at the time the order is acknowledged, and guarantee delivery of
the textbooks at least 10 days before the first day of school. 

H.B. 623 prohibits a school trustee, administrator, or teacher from
accepting gifts, favors, or services which could not be lawfully purchased
with funds from the state textbook fund. 


On passage, or if the Act does not receive the necessary vote, the Act
takes effect September 1, 2001.