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Unofficial Opinion 96-9

Unofficial Opinion 96-9

May 3, 1996
To: 

Representative
District 175

Re: 

State Board of Education Rules 160-4-4-.10 and 160-4-4-.20 are within the State Board of Education's statutory authority to promulgate rules and are consistent with the statutes regulating textbook adoption.

You have asked whether Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. r. 160-4-4-.10 and 160-4-4-.20 promulgated by the State Board of Education, particularly the portion allowing local school system input, is consistent with O.C.G.A. §§ 20-2-1010 through 1014. It is my opinion that rules 160-4-4-.10 and 106-4-4-.20 are within the State Board of Education's statutory authority to promulgate rules and are consistent with the statutes regulating textbook adoption.

The standard of determining the validity of an agency rule is whether the agency had authority to enact the rule and whether the rule is reasonable. See Baranan v. State Bd. of Nursing Administrators, 143 Ga. App. 605, 606 (1977). Rules 160-4-4-.10 and -.20 meet that test.

The Official Code of Georgia § 20-2-1010 provides as follows:

The State Board of Education is authorized to prescribe, by regulation, the definition of the term "textbook" to include but not be limited to systematically designed material in any medium, print or nonprint, that constitutes the principal source of study for a state funded course and to prescribe the textbooks to be used in the various grades in the public schools of this state,

including the elementary grades and high school grades. The state board may provide, by regulation, for multiple listings of textbooks for use in the various grades and may, in its discretion, authorize the local school superintendents to exercise a choice as between textbooks so listed or adopted for any particular grade.

(Emphasis added.)

The State Board of Education is authorized by O.C.G.A. § 20-2-1012 to select a textbook committee or committees to recommend to them textbooks to be added to the approved list.

Rule 160-4-4-.20 provides for the composition of a state committee as well as the procedure for recommending textbooks to be adopted by the State Board. The rule you have asked about, rule 160-4-4-.10, requires that each local school system have an implementation plan "for the adoption of textbooks which is based upon the most recent state adoption for the given subject area(s)." Reading those two rules together, it is apparent that the State Board has done what O.C.G.A. § 20-2-1010 authorized it to do. It has adopted a rule which authorizes local systems to select textbooks from among those already approved by the State Board of Education. That rule does not go beyond the authority set out in O.C.G.A. §§ 20-2-1010 through 1014 and is a reasonable exercise of the State Board's authority.

Therefore, it is my unofficial opinion that Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. r. 160-4-4-.10 and 160-4-4-.20 are within the State Board of Education's statutory authority to promulgate rules and are consistent with the statutes regulating textbook adoption.

Prepared by:

KATHRYN L. ALLEN
Senior Assistant Attorney General