Texline 262: State Policy Update

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TEXLINE is an irregular e-newsletter that is sent whenever state library-related policy or legislative action is occurring. To subscribe to Texline, send an email to gloriam@txla.org and specify that you would like to be added to the Texline list. You can follow TLA legislative news during the session on Twitter.


In this issue: posted June 14, 2010

  1. State Telecommunications
  2. State Budget—Agencies asked to submit budget reductions
  3. Texas Education Agency—Commissioner’s Rules Under Review

I. State Telecommunications

The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) oversees the telecommunications discount program for libraries, schools, institutions of higher education, and hospitals that was created in 1995. This discount program specifies that telecommunications companies must provide certain broadband services at discounted rates.   The statutory provisions governing some of these discounts are set to expire on January 1, 2012.
 
The discount program remains an essential component of the state’s information and telecommunications infrastructure. Without the discount program, many eligible institutions would be unable to meet their current level of service.

Telecom Survey
In order to better assess the use of the discounts, we invite all school, public, and academic libraries to complete a survey designed to gather data about the use and savings associated with the discount program.

TAKE THE SURVEY NOW
Texas Telecom Discount Survey
(PDF version): contains instructions and the questions that need to be answered.

II. State Budget—Agencies asked to submit budget reductions

In addition to the recent 5% cut agencies were asked to submit for the current biennium (FY 2010-11), state agencies have now been instructed to submit Legislative Appropriations Requests (i.e., budgets) for the next biennium (FY 2012-13) that reflect a 10% decrease in the base budget. The budgets are to be submitted showing the proposed cuts in 5% increments.

III. Texas Education Agency—Commissioner’s Rules Under Review

TEA  is conducting a review of existing rules (in the Texas Administrative Code) to identify areas of concern and highlight rules that may need to be revised. See Rules Review. The purpose of the review, as stated on the TEA website, is to “seek ideas about how to ensure that Commissioner Rules do not unnecessarily interfere with the ability of school districts to improve student performance or operate efficiently and effectively… The goal is to reduce the number of unnecessary rules and to provide more freedom for districts to operate within the intent of the law.”
 
Rules under review affecting school librarians

School library supporters may want to comment on rules pertaining to school library facilities and reporting requirements (Chapter, 61, School Districts) and educator award programs (Chapter 102, Subchapter FF). Each rule has a comment link.

Talking Points (to be made in appropriate feedback area on the TEA website)

  • School facilities: State rules should ensure that every campus offers students access to an adequately-sized school library that has room for collections, technology, administrative work, and teaching and group work environments.
  • Reporting Requirements: The state should collect information on school libraries and the presence of a certified school librarian. Parents should be made aware as to the status of the school library on their student’s campus.
  • Educator Awards: School librarians are directly involved in student instruction. While librarians are eligible for many areas of existing educator awards, it is important to note that librarians are also teachers and should be eligible for all awards. Additionally, librarians should part of any review committee in designing local awards programs.

To subscribe to Texline, send an email to gloriam@txla.org and specify that you would like to be added to the Texline list.

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Created on Sep 7, 2010 | Last updated September 07, 2010