Land Commissioner, George Prescott Bush, made the unprecedented decision to withhold cash from the Permanent School Fund earlier this year. ISDs will receive *possibly* enough funding to cover the Language Arts & Reading Instructional Materials purchase in 2019 & 2020 - however - there will NOT be funding for student technology.
Sunset Hearing: Click to view
Note Senator Watson’s exchange (at minute 4:35) with Commissioner Bush - $55 million has been left on the table (for this biennium). According to statements made in the Sunset Hearing, the SLB has increased their gains by 100% in 2 years, $2B to $4B. However, these gains have not benefited the students of Texas. 39% of these gains are held in CASH at the Reserve for Capital Calls which Commissioner Bush states 100% of the cash in reserve dollars are needed.
Quorum Report: Please see the 2017 annual report pages for the PSF showing both the SBOE and SLB asset classes and earnings on all assets. The QR article reported SLB-PSF earnings that did not include the cash retained by the SLB (39% of SLB-PSF total value, $3.4 billion on pg 4).
I have sent letters to several House Representatives and Senators in the Texas Legislature, requesting their intervention to transfer the $655M from the SLB to the PSF so we may pass-it-through to our ISDs as they prepare to purchase Instructional Materials and Technology for Reading and Language Arts (English and Spanish) for the 2019-2020 academic year - the largest purchase in more than a decade.
It should be noted that the books in classrooms now are old, possibly/probably damaged due to normal wear and tear, and do not reflect the Language Arts TEKS adopted in 2017.
Update, 20 Nov 2018: In a meeting on Monday, 19 Nov, the Land Commissioner maintains the $600M in Reserves, which has been the issue all along, but will send $55M to the Permanent School Fund (the Texas State Board of Education). This will add approximately $1 (one dollar), to each student's fund which ISD's will pool to purchase the new Language Arts & Reading instructional materials and technology. The funds will NOT be enough to cover the 2019 purchase, as stated previously.
$600M remain in the Land Commissioner's cash reserves. I never received a response to my letters nor a response from his office as to why this unprecedented action was taken.
Take a look at the Commissioner's YouTube video,
where he discusses turning Texas oil into textbooks for all students
Georgina C. Pérez