Section 16-36-64

Statewide textbook contracts.

(a) No contract shall be made pursuant to this article for the purchase of textbooks rejected by the State Board of Education. The only contracts entered into by the State Board of Education pursuant to this article shall be for textbooks considered by the State Textbook Committee and adopted by the State Board of Education as provided for in this article.

(b) In addition to all other laws which forbid the use of textbooks in the public schools of the state by authors who are members of the Communist Party or members of communist front organizations, all contracts with publishers for textbooks made pursuant to this article shall stipulate that the author or authors of such book or books is not a member of the Communist Party or known advocate of communism or Marxist socialism and is not a member of a communist front organization.

(c) The maximum price at which the State Board of Education shall contract for local boards of education to pay f.o.b. the local board of education for any books to be used in the public schools of this state, after all discounts have been deducted, shall not exceed the minimum price at which the publisher sells such books in wholesale quantities f.o.b., the publisher's publishing house, after all discounts have been deducted. Any contract made for the purchase of books for use in the public schools of this state at a price higher than such determined maximum shall be void.

(d) Every contract entered into under this article by the State Board of Education on behalf of the local boards of education and any publisher or publishing company shall contain a provision that the publisher covenants and agrees to all of the following:

(1) The publisher is not furnishing under contract executed after the first day of January of the year in which the contract becomes effective, to any state, county, or school district in the United States the textbooks embraced in the contract at a price below the price stipulated in the contract.

(2) If, at any time during the period of the contract, the textbooks named in the contract shall be contracted for at a price to any state, county, or school district in the United States, lower than the price agreed upon in the contract, then that lower price shall become the contract price between the State Board of Education on behalf of the local board of education and the publisher named in the contract.

(3) If, at any time during the period of the contract, any editions of the textbooks named in the contract substantially similar to the official copy on file in the office of the State Superintendent of Education shall be contracted for at a lower price with any state, county, or school district in the United States, the State Board of Education may at its option substitute for the edition contracted for the substantially similar edition at the lower price.

(4) If the publisher offers any free or discounted ancillary items or services, or both, to any local board of education or any public school, the publisher shall offer the same free or discounted ancillary items or services, or both, to all local boards of education or schools under the same or similar circumstances.

(e) If the State Board of Education determines that any book or books contracted for are being sold at a lower contract price in any other state than the price for which the book or books are being sold to Alabama, the contract shall be forfeited. Each contract shall provide that in the event of violation of this pricing agreement, the contractor shall return all money collected for the books and also forfeit the book or books to the respective local boards of education, this being the agreed measure of damages stipulated to have been suffered by the State Board of Education and the local boards of education. Action may be brought in the name of the state on the bond of the contractor for all losses sustained, and any sum recovered shall be deposited to the credit of the Education Trust Fund.

(f) Contracts with textbook publishers shall include all of the following:

(1) A provision that local boards of education shall be permitted to purchase with local funds textbooks for free distribution at the same price at which the local boards of education are permitted to purchase such books with state funds.

(2) The publishers shall replace defective or substandard books without cost to the purchaser.

(3) Provisions for the time of delivery, penalties for delay in delivery, and other provisions as in the judgment of the State Board of Education will insure prompt delivery of all textbooks at the lowest possible price.

(4) The publishers shall be required to use a qualified depository in Alabama for distribution of state or local adopted textbooks if requested to do so by the contracting board of education and shall have a sufficient supply of the adopted textbooks on deposit at a qualified depository for distribution or sufficient ability to provide access to digital textbooks as ordered through a qualified depository. Nothing in this subdivision shall preclude publishers from selling textbooks to the State Board of Education directly or through means other than a qualified depository for textbooks, but a publisher may not refuse to sell through a qualified depository. Regardless of whether a qualified depository is used in a transaction, the prices charged by a publisher shall not exceed the prices prescribed in subsection (c).

(g) In the case of the failure of any contractor to furnish the books as provided in this contract, the bond of the publisher shall be forfeited and the State Board of Education may contract for other books as needed. The State Board of Education may drop any textbook by giving written notice to the publisher at least 90 days in advance and upon the recommendation of the State Textbook Committee to make another adoption instead of the textbook.

(h) The State Board of Education, upon the recommendation of the State Superintendent of Education, may renew or extend contracts for no less than one year nor more than two years. This provision shall be made a part of the publishers contract, and the State Board of Education may exercise the provision by notifying the publisher in advance.

(i) The State Board of Education may include any additional regulations in the contract form that the State Board of Education deems best for the administration of this article, and any regulations included in the contract form and accepted by the publisher shall be construed as a part of this article. Publishers shall be required to comply with additional rules and regulations approved by the State Board of Education as if they were included in this article.

(j) The State Superintendent of Education shall preserve in the offices of the State Department of Education or in another suitable location, one copy of each book which has been made the basis of any contract as the standard specimen of quality and excellence to be maintained in such books during the period of the contract.

(Act 98-320, p. 544, §5; Act 2015-386, §1.)