Science Laboratory Grant Program
(a) In this section, "wealth per student" means a school district's taxable value of property as determined under Subchapter M, Chapter 403, Government Code, or, if applicable, Section 42.2521, divided by the district's average daily attendance as determined under Section 42.005.
The commissioner shall establish a program to provide competitive grants to school districts for the purpose of constructing or renovating high school science laboratories.
Except as otherwise provided by this subsection, if the commissioner certifies that the amount appropriated for a state fiscal year for purposes of Subchapters A and B, Chapter 46, exceeds the amount to which school districts are entitled under those subchapters for that year, the commissioner shall use the excess funds, in an amount not to exceed $20 million in any state fiscal year, for the purpose of making grants under this section. The use of excess funds under this subsection has priority over any provision of Chapter 42 that permits or directs the use of excess foundation school program funds, including Sections 42.2517, 42.2521, 42.2522, and 42.2531. The commissioner is required to use excess funds as provided by this subsection only if the commissioner is not required to reduce the total amount of state funds allocated to school districts under Section 42.253(h).
The commissioner shall adopt rules necessary to implement the program, including rules addressing eligibility, application procedures, and accountability for use of grant funds.
The rules must:
limit the amount of assistance provided through a grant to not more than:
for a construction project, $200 per square foot of the science laboratory to be constructed; or
for a renovation project, $100 per square foot of the science laboratory to be renovated;
require a school district to demonstrate, as a condition of eligibility for a grant, that the existing district science laboratories are insufficient in number to comply with the curriculum requirements imposed for the recommended and advanced high school programs under Section 28.025(b-1)(1); and
provide for ranking school districts that apply for grants on the basis of wealth per student and giving priority in the award of grants to districts with low wealth per student.
Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1058, Sec. 3, eff. June 15, 2007.