(a) Application process. In order to participate in the classroom supply reimbursement program authorized by Texas Education Code (TEC), §21.414, a school district must apply to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for these funds by a date set by the commissioner of education. The application must include the following: (1) a standard Teacher Supply Reimbursement Grant Program district application; (2) the number of teachers and campus library media specialists who have received reimbursement for supply purchases in the last two years; (3) the number of teachers and campus library media specialists anticipated to receive reimbursement under this program and the amount each teacher and campus library media specialist will be eligible to receive; and (4) a district procedure that would ensure each teacher and campus library media specialist meets the requirement that an expenditure will benefit students. (b) Eligibility requirements. To be eligible to participate in the classroom supply reimbursement program, a district will be required to: (1) re-apply to participate each year; (2) account for funds in accordance with applicable state and federal requirements; (3) match individual reimbursements from the Teacher Supply Reimbursement Grant Program with an equal amount of local funds. Local matching funds may be donated, or otherwise provided, to the school district by local community groups, parent/teacher organizations, businesses, professional organizations, etc.; (4) ensure that items purchased with grant funds are tangible items, of direct benefit to students; (5) retain ownership of all durable goods purchased under this program. A district may develop a procedure allowing each teacher and campus library media specialist to retain ownership of goods of nominal value purchased with grant money; and (6) return unexpended Teacher Supply Reimbursement Grant Program balances at the end of the state fiscal year for which they were awarded. (c) Evaluation criteria. Applications to the TEA will be evaluated on the following criteria: (1) information about a district's existing supply reimbursement program, if applicable; (2) the balance between the number of teachers and campus library media specialists receiving reimbursements and the size of the reimbursements; (3) the process by which a district would determine whether an expenditure meets the student benefit criteria as required in subsection (a)(4) of this section; and (4) the district's size relative to other applicants. (d) Other provisions. (1) A district found in noncompliance with the provisions specified in this section must reimburse the state for funds unaccounted for or used for purposes not meeting the requirements in TEC, §21.414. (2) A district found to have reduced its local expenditures may be required to refund the entire grant to the state. (3) A district may allow, but not require, teachers and campus library media specialists to pool their respective supply monies for the purchase of an item, as long as the item meets the student benefit criteria established by the district. (4) Funds for each grant period must be expended by the end date of that grant period. (5) Total reimbursement to an individual teacher or campus library media specialist in a single year from the Teacher Supply Reimbursement Grant Program may not exceed $200. Reimbursements from local funds may exceed the matching requirement in subsection (b)(3) of this section. (6) The reimbursement program may be implemented only if funds are specifically appropriated by the legislature for the program or if the commissioner identifies available funds, other than general revenue funds, that may be used for the program. (e) Dispute resolution. (1) A determination by the local school district board of trustees of any dispute involving teacher or campus library media specialist reimbursement is final and may not be appealed to the TEA, except as provided by TEC, §7.057. Nothing in this provision precludes the TEA from recovering funds from a district pursuant to an audit. (2) A determination by the TEA in the administration of this program is final and may not be appealed. (f) Expiration date. This section, issued under TEC, §21.414, expires September 1, 2007.
Source Note: The provisions of this §61.1081 adopted to be effective January 4, 2004, 28 TexReg 11585; amended to be effective August 13, 2006, 31 TexReg 6211