From funds appropriated for the purpose, the commissioner shall make grants as provided by this section in support of pre-reading instruction.
The commissioner shall establish a competitive grant program for distribution of at least 95 percent of the available appropriated funds. Grants shall be used to provide scientific, research-based pre-reading instruction for the purpose of directly improving pre-reading skills and for identifying cost-effective models for pre-reading intervention. The commissioner shall distribute the grants in amounts not less than $50,000 or more than $150,000 to eligible applicants to be used for:
professional staff development in pre-reading instruction;
pre-reading curriculum and materials;
pre-reading skills assessment materials; and
employment of pre-reading instructors.
A public school operating a prekindergarten program, or an eligible entity as defined by Section 12.101 (Authorization)(a) that provides a preschool instruction program and that meets qualifications prescribed by the commissioner, is eligible to apply for a grant if at least 75 percent of the children enrolled in the program are low-income students, as determined by rule of the commissioner.
As a condition to receiving a grant, an applicant must commit public or private funds matching the grant in a percentage set by the commissioner. The commissioner shall determine the required percentage of matching funds based on the demonstrated economic capacity of the community served by the program to raise funds for the purpose of matching the grant, as determined by the commissioner. Matching funds must equal at least 30 percent, but not more than 75 percent, of the amount of the grant.
The commissioner shall develop and implement performance measures for evaluating the effectiveness of grants under this section. Those measures must correlate to other reading diagnostic assessments used in public schools in kindergarten through the second grade.
The commissioner may adopt rules as necessary for the administration of this section.Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 402, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Renumbered from Sec. 29.155 by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 21.001(17), eff. Sept. 1, 2001.