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News from TEA: EMAT to close April 3

TO THE ADMINISTRATOR ADDRESSED:

SUBJECT:       Instructional Materials Ordering for the 2015−2016 School Year

The educational materials ordering system known as EMAT will close on April 3, 2015. School districts and open-enrollment charter schools should place any orders for instructional materials needed for the 2014−2015 school year on or before April 3, 2015. EMAT will reopen for districts to order materials for the 2015−2016 school year on April 13, 2015.

Districts and open-enrollment charter schools are required to certify annually to the State Board of Education and the commissioner that, for each subject in the required curriculum other than physical education, students have access to instructional materials that cover all of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Districts and open-enrollment charter schools will be unable to order 2015−2016 instructional materials through EMAT until the certification has been received by the Texas Education Agency (TEA).

The required Instructional Materials Allotment and TEKS Certification is available in EMAT. Step by step instructions to access and process the form are available on the EMAT system start page.

The certification form must be presented to the district’s or open-enrollment charter’s local board of trustees or governing body. The superintendent, local board president, and board secretary are required to sign the form before it is submitted to TEA. The certification form can be scanned and emailed to the TEA instructional materials mailbox at instructional.materials@tea.texas.gov.

The 2015−2016 instructional materials allotment (IMA) will be calculated and placed into each district and open-enrollment charter school’s EMAT account when appropriations have been made by the 84th Texas Legislature. The following options will be available to purchase instructional materials for the 2015−2016 school year prior to that time:

Although the amount of each district’s IMA will be reflected in EMAT during the summer (as early as possible), the funds will not actually be available until after September 1, 2015. A delayed payment option, authorized by the Texas Education Code, §31.0215, allows districts to requisition and receive state-adopted instructional materials before the IMA funds for those materials are available if the publisher agrees to participate in the option. Information regarding which publishers participate in the delayed payment option is available in the EMAT system. The delayed payment option can be used for up to 80 percent of a district’s IMA in any given fiscal year. Once the 2015−2016 funds become available, TEA will prioritize delayed payment requisitions over any reimbursement or disbursement purchases made directly by a school district or an open-enrollment charter school.

Districts may order accessible instructional materials (AIM) for students with print disabilities through the EMAT system at any time after successful submission of their Instructional Materials Allotment and TEKS Certification. Braille, large type, and audio instructional materials remain the property of the State and are not paid for through a district’s IMA.

If you have any questions, please contact the Instructional Materials and Educational Technology Division at (512) 463-9601 or via email at instructional.materials@tea.texas.gov

Sincerely,

Monica G. Martinez
Associate Commissioner
Standards and Programs


On the legislative front:

IMCAT leaders testified before the House Public Education Committee March 24, supporting a bill that would "frontload" distribution of Instructional Mateials Allotment funds in the first year of the biennium. They also opposed two bills – HB2810 and HB2811 – that, as written, would require the State Board of Education to limit requests for instructional materials ("Proclamations") to 75 percent of the total with

House Bill 1474 by Rep. Gary VanDeaver would distribute 100 percent of the biennial IMA distributions by March 1 of the first year of the biennium. Susan Lenox of Plano ISD, immediate past president of IMCAT, testified the bill would give public schools flexibility to plan their purchases over the two-year budget cycle.

IMCAT leaders praised Rep. Ken King, author of HB2810 and HB2811, for trying to find a solution to the funding-cost disconnect in the IMA system. IMCAT Pres.-Elect Abel Villarreal warned, though,that the 75 percent bullseye that the SBOE would have to aim for may get pasted on the back of local schools.

"Before the SBOE even knows which publishers will be responding with what kind of products, it has do the market forecasting for hundreds of products that the publishers haven't developed," Villarreal's statement read, "Because this is an impossible task, it seems – to our association – that the only way that the SBOE and TEA can conceivably make sure that they don’t crash through that 75-percent ceiling is to limit school districts on how much they can spend on SBOE-approved materials."

"School districts are already limited by the amount of IMA we receive; we don’t need another artificial limit imposed by this bill," the statement read.

IMCAT pledged to work with Rep. King, the Public Education Committee and other interested stakeholders to fine-tune the bills.


About the 2015 Instructional Materials Allotment

We won't know officially about the allotments until after the Legislature passes a budget. They're supposed to do it before they adjourn June 1, but it's happened before: the Legislature had to go into special sessions in the summer to pass a budget.

The really rough way for a school district to estimate its allotment for Sept. 1, 2015 is this: There are 5.1 million school children in Texas. Take your total enrollment and calculate what percentage that is of 5.1 million. (If you have 5,100 children in your district, that's 0.1 percent of the children in Texas schools.)

The State Board of Education has authorized a disbursement equal to about $1.05 billion from the Permanent School Fund to the (eventually) Instructional Materials Fund over the state's next two fiscal years. Both the first House and Senate drafts of the budget call for about $500 million for instructional materials each year of the biennium. (We'll come back to that.)

So you can take your district's percentage of the total state enrollment and multiply that by $500 million to see what you may expect in the fiscal year beginning Sept. 1. It could be lower, because T.E.A. will deduct some for shipping costs under the current scheme of things.

That, we hope, is worst case. IMCAT is trying to persuade the Legislature to put the entire $1.05 billion in the first year of the biennium, because Proclamation 2015 will be so large. We think we have a pretty good chance, but we won't know until the Governor signs the Appropriations Bill.