Committee: Education PolicySponsor: Collins
Analyst: Dustin JonesDate: 05/15/2019

FISCAL NOTE

REVISED

House Bill 388 as introduced establishes the Alabama Literacy Act which prescribes how funds appropriated for the Alabama Reading Initiative (ARI) shall be allocated among various new and existing programs and activities relating to Kindergarten to third grade (K-3) reading improvement.

If ARI funding is allocated according to the provisions of this bill for Fiscal Year 2020, and the amount of funding is the same as that proposed in the Governor's Recommendation for Fiscal Year 2020, ARI funding will be allocated as follows:

Program/ActivityAllocationAmount
Local Systems for local reading specialists66%$31,547,737
Alabama Summer Achievement Program13%$6,213,948
Regional literacy specialists10%$4,779,960
Preservice & inservice professional learning of elementary reading teachers6%$2,867,976
Purchase of student intervention curriculum3%$1,433,988
State administrator2%$955,992
Total100%$47,799,601

The State Department of Education estimates that the provisions of this bill would cost approximately $90 million annually to implement. Of this amount, the department included the following itemized expenditures:

*$25 million for 308 new teacher units due to reduced teacher-student ratios;

*$15 million for dyslexia-therapist endorsement incentives and teacher mentoring program; and

*remaining expenditures include additional increases for activities currently contemplated in the ARI program.

This bill would increase the obligations of the State Board of Education and State Department of Education (SDE) by an undetermined amount due to the following provisions of the bill; however, this increase in obligations would be offset, at least in part, by future appropriations for the Alabama Reading Initiative, which may be allocated to SDE: 

*convening of the nine-member standing task force, created by this act, which is tasked with providing a list of approved reading assessment systems for use by local school systems;

*providing a list of approved reading intervention programs, with advice from the task force;

*developing an evidence-based ARI accountability reporting system to measure growth towards teacher professional development goals and student performance on state assessments and reporting this status to the Governor, Speaker of the House of Representatives, President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and the chairs of the House Ways and Means Education Committee, and Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee;

*creating the Office of Success within SDE and hiring a director for this office to administer the Alabama Summer Achievement Program and oversee the ARI regional and local specialists;

*establishing a uniform format for local systems to report various information regarding the reading proficiency of the K-3 students within the system, compiling this information into state-level summary information, and reporting this information to the State Board of Education, the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the House of Representatives, President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and the chairs of the House Ways and Means Education Committee, Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee, and the public;

*establishing annual reading growth and proficiency targets;

*authorizing the State Superintendent of Education to establish the Alabama Reading Initiative Incentive Program to distribute monetary incentives to schools;

*developing and approving a dyslexia therapist certification endorsement by December 31, 2019;

*developing and approving a dyslexia therapist endorsement incentive, in conjunction with the Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE); and

*establishing the 24-member Alabama Committee on Grade Level Reading, which shall: (1) revise the 2011 Alabama Action Plan for Literacy Birth Through Grade 12, in consultation with the Campaign for Grade Level Reading, by June 30, 2020, (2) providing recommendations to the Governor and Chairs of the House and Senate Education Policy committees regarding the implementation of this act, (3) providing standing oversight over the quality of professional learning and program quality, (4) providing recommendations to the State Superintendent of Education, the Governor and Chairs of the House and Senate Education Policy committees on adopting innovation strategies and programs to improve the effective of this act; and (5) receiving the same travel expense allowances as state employees.

This bill would also increase the obligations of local boards of education by an undetermined amount due to the following provisions of the bill; however, this increase in obligations would be offset, at least in part, by future appropriations for the Alabama Reading Initiative, which may be allocated to local boards of education: 

*offering of a comprehensive core reading program to all students;

*providing a reading intervention program for each K-3 student exhibiting a reading deficiency;

*providing dyslexia specific intervention to students who have the characteristics of dyslexia;

*notifying parents of K-3 students identified as deficient in reading or exhibiting dyslexia or retained in third grade for not achieving the appropriate reading level;

*providing an individual reading improvement plan to each K-3 student exhibiting a reading deficiency;

*providing summer reading camps to all K-3 students identified with a reading deficiency,

*implementing the Alabama Summer Achievement Program at the lowest performing 5% of elementary schools;

*providing intensified reading interventions to incoming third graders with identified reading deficiencies, as well as reviewing student improvement plans for these students, to include providing a highly effective reading teacher and additional instructional time, and before- or after-school tutoring;

*providing intensive acceleration for any student retained in third grade for not achieving the required reading level, to include being taught by a highly effective reading teacher and with a reduced teacher-student ratio;

*reporting to the State Superintendent of Education various information regarding the reading proficiency of the K-3 students within the system; and

*providing to public universities annually the information required to comply with accreditation standards.

Further, this bill requires teacher preparation programs at public institutions of higher education to: (1) offer dyslexia therapy teacher preparation courses, and (2) seek accreditation of these programs by December 31, 2020, which would increase the obligations of the state’s public higher education institutions by an undetermined amount.

Further, this bill would increase the administrative obligations of the Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE) due to the requirement for ACHE to convene the deans of the teacher education programs at the public higher education institutions to develop the format for the data needed for accreditation compliance. 

Finally, this bill requires third grade students to demonstrate sufficient reading skills in order to be promoted to fourth grade, beginning with the 2021-22 school year, with exceptions for students who qualify for certain good cause exemptions. This could increase the obligations of the Foundation Program, as well as the local boards of education, by an undetermined amount, as a result of the additional continued enrollment of third grade students who would not be promoted to fourth grade due to not achieving the required reading level for promotion. The per pupil amount of the Foundation Program appropriation (state and local funds) for Fiscal Year 2019 is $5,921.


 Terri Collins, Chair
Education Policy