REGULATIONS GOVERNING LOCAL SCHOOL BOARDS AND SCHOOL DIVISIONS
"Textbooks" means print or electronic media for students use that serve as the primary curriculum basis for grade-level subject or course.
8VAC20-720-160. Instructional materials.
A. Local school boards shall be responsible for the selection, approval, and utilization of instructional materials.
B. Local school boards shall adopt policies and criteria for the selection of instructional materials that shall include, at a minimum:
1. Instituting a policy regarding the rights of parents to inspect, upon request, any instructional materials used as part of the educational curriculum for students, and the procedure for granting a request by a parent for such access, in accordance with the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment, 20 USC § 123h, and its implementing regulation, 34 CFR 98;
2. Establishing procedures for the reconsideration of challenged materials;
3. Placing special emphasis on the thorough evaluation of materials related to controversial or sensitive topics such as sex education, moral education, and religion; and
4. Including in the curriculum and scheduling options for students whose parents choose to withdraw them from class for the duration of the treatment of a sensitive or controversial topic. Parents should be required to justify their requests.
A. Textbook approval
1. The Board of Education shall have the authority to approve textbooks for use in the public schools of Virginia.
2. In approving basal textbooks for reading in kindergarten and first grade, the Board shall report to local school boards those textbooks with a minimum decodability standard based on words that students can correctly read by properly attaching speech sounds to each letter to formulate the word at 70 percent or above for such textbooks, in accordance with § 22.1-239 of the Code of Virginia.
3. Any local school board may use textbooks not approved by the Board provided the school board selects such books in accordance with this chapter.
B. Selection of textbooks by local school boards
Local school boards shall adopt procedures for the selection of textbooks. These procedures shall include, at a minimum, the following:
1. Appointment of an evaluation committee by the local school board to review and evaluate textbooks in one or more of the subject areas.
2. Notice to parents that textbooks under consideration for approval will be listed on the school division's website and made available at designated locations for review by any interested citizens. Provisions shall be made for those reviewing such textbooks to present their comments and observations, if any, to the school board through locally approved procedures. Actions which are necessary to assure appropriate consideration of citizen comments and observations shall be taken and adequate time for such consideration shall be allowed.
3. Use of selection criteria that has been approved by the local school board.
C. Purchasing Board of Education approved textbooks
1. Local school divisions shall purchase textbooks approved by the Board of Education directly from the publishers of the textbooks by either entering into written term contracts or issuing purchase orders on an as-needed basis in accordance with § 22.1-241 of the Code of Virginia.
2. Such written comments or purchase orders shall be exempt from the Virginia Public Procurement Act, §§ 2.2-4300 et seq. of the Code of Virginia, and from any local adopted regulations or procedures.
D. Purchasing non-Board of Education approved textbooks
Local school divisions shall purchase non-Board of Education approved textbooks by either entering into written contracts or issuing purchase orders on an as-needed basis in accordance with locally adopted procurement procedures or regulations that contain requirements for competitive purchasing or the Virginia Public Procurement Act.
1. The division superintendent and chairperson of the local school board shall annually certify to the Virginia Department of Education that:
a. All textbooks were selected and purchased in accordance with this chapter; and
b. The price paid for each textbook was not in excess of that charged elsewhere in the United States in accordance with § 22.1-241 of the Code of Virginia.
2. The certification shall include a list of all textbooks adopted by the local school board.