Vol. 28 Iss. 26 - August 27, 2012

Chapter 170
Final Regulation

Titles of Regulations: 8VAC20-170. Regulations Governing Instructional Materials -- Selection and Utilization by Local School Boards (repealing 8VAC20-170-10).

8VAC20-220. Regulations Governing Textbook Adoption State Level (repealing 8VAC20-220-10 through 8VAC20-220-70).

8VAC20-230. Regulations Governing Textbook Adoption Local Level (repealing 8VAC20-230-10 through 8VAC20-230-40).

8VAC20-270. Regulations Governing Textbook Fund Management and Handling on Local Level (repealing 8VAC20-270-10 through 8VAC20-270-130).

8VAC20-720. Regulations Governing Local School Boards and School Divisions (adding 8VAC20-720-10 through 8VAC20-720-170).

Statutory Authority: § 22.1-16 of the Code of Virginia.

Effective Date: September 26, 2012.

Agency Contact: Melissa L. Luchau, Office of Policy and Communications, Department of Education, P.O. Box 2120, 101 North 14th Street, 25th Floor, Richmond, VA 23219, telephone (804) 225-2540, FAX (804) 225-2524, or email


This regulatory action repeals four existing sets of regulations relating to textbooks and instructional materials that have not been updated since 1980 and consolidates provisions concerning textbooks and instructional materials into the new Regulations Governing Local School Boards and School Divisions (8VAC20-720). The regulations (i) include provisions relating to the approval of textbooks, basal textbooks, contracts with textbook publishers, the distribution of textbooks and consumable materials, and the selection of instructional materials by local school divisions; and (ii) eliminate provisions that are unnecessary, outdated, or no longer required by the Code of Virginia.

Summary of Public Comments and Agency's Response: No public comments were received by the promulgating agency.


8VAC20-720-10. Definitions.

[ The following words or terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise: ]

"Textbooks" means print or electronic media for students use that serve as the primary curriculum basis for grade-level subject or course.

8VAC20-720-20 through 8VAC20-720-150. (Reserved.)

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 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 1232H ], and its implementing regulation, 34 CFR Part 9;

[ 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.

2. The basis upon which a person may seek reconsideration of the local school board's selection of instructional materials, including but not limited to materials that might be considered sensitive or controversial, and the procedures for doing so; and

3. Pursuant to § 22.1-253.13:7 of the Code of Virginia, clear procedures for handling challenged controversial materials. ]

8VAC20-720-170. Textbooks.

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% 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.

[ 4. Contracts and purchase orders with publishers of textbooks approved by the board for use in grades 6-12 shall allow for the purchase of printed textbooks, printed textbooks with electronic files, or electronic textbooks separate and apart from printed versions of the same textbook. Each school board shall have the authority to purchase an assortment of textbooks in any of the three forms listed in this subdivision. ]

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 committees ] by the local school board to review and evaluate textbooks in [ one or more each ] 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 3. Opportunities ] for those reviewing such textbooks to present their comments and observations, if any, to the school board through locally approved procedures.

[ Actions that are necessary to assure 4. Procedures to ensure ] appropriate consideration of citizen comments and observations [ shall be taken and adequate time for such consideration shall be allowed ].

[ 3. Use of selection 5. 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 (§ 2.2-4300 et seq. of the Code of Virginia). The purchase of textbooks other than those approved by the board is not exempt from the Virginia Public Procurement Act. ]

E. [ Distribution of textbooks. Each school board shall provide, free of charge, such textbooks required for courses of instruction for each child attending public schools.

F. ] Certifications.

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.

VA.R. Doc. No. R08-1353; Filed August 3, 2012, 9:50 a.m.