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CS/SB 864 — Instructional Materials For K-12 Public Education

by Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee; and Senators Hays, Benacquisto, and Negron

This summary is provided for information only and does not represent the opinion of any Senator, Senate Officer, or Senate Office.

Prepared by: Education Committee (ED)

The bill increases local control over public K-12 instructional materials by giving more transparency and accountability for stakeholders. The bill provides that a district school board has the constitutional duty to select and provide adequate instructional materials, and is responsible for the content of all instructional materials used in a classroom. 

A district school board must have instructional materials policies that: 

  • Allow a parent to object to his or her child’s instructional materials, with a description of the process to handle objections and provide for resolution;
  • Allow a parent to contest the district school board’s adoption of instructional materials, with requirements to notice and hold the hearing on the challenge; and
  • Notify a parent of the ability to access his or her child’s instructional materials online. 

A district school board that implements its own instructional materials program must adopt rules that: 

  • Identify the review cycle by subject area;
  • Select reviewers, including parents with children in public schools, and identify reviewer qualifications and responsibilities;
  • Establish a process by which the district school board will hold a public meeting to receive public comment, and a public hearing to adopt instructional materials; and
  • Allow student editions of recommended instructional materials to be viewed by the public online for at least 20 calendar days before the public meeting and public hearing. 

For the state-level instructional materials process, the Department of Education may assess and collect fees from publishers that submit materials for approval to pay stipends to instructional materials reviewers. The fee may not exceed the actual cost of the reviewer process, or $1,000, whichever is less.

If approved by the Governor, these provisions take effect July 1, 2014.

Vote: Senate 31-4; House 84-33