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In recent years, the amount of federal funding for specialized materials from the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) has been decreasing. Each student who is legally blind now generates only $298.45. Meanwhile, popular materials from APH have gotten more expensive such as the VisioBook (costs $3000.00 plus shipping) and the calculator Orion TI84 (costs $599.00 plus shipping). As a result, Texas ran out of APH Quota Funds by the middle of this school year. This meant some districts got an array of materials, ordered early in the year, while others got partial orders or none ordered in the second semester. The timing of the distribution of materials has not always been able to correspond to student need.

Beginning May 1, 2015, we will be allowed to access 50% of anticipated quota funding for the 2016-17 school year. That 50% funding is available from May 1 until October 1, 2015, at which time the remainder of the 2015-16 funding will be added to our account. These funds are available to us through September 30, 2016.

How can we use APH Quota funds more efficiently?

Order only what you need for the students you teach, and share if necessary. If you don't know whether material is appropriate for the student, borrow the item from another district, from the warehouse if we have it, or from the ESC. This is especially important if it is an expensive item.

Many of the technology materials can be tried out using the TSBVI tech loan program. You can borrow a piece of technology to see how it works before you purchase it.

There are other funds that can be used to purchase APH materials, including district instructional materials funds, IDEA-B funds, and local funds. Local service organizations are also often a great resource. Keep in mind that APH accepts cash. Fundraising by clubs, families, etc. works.

We encourage each district to appoint one person to submit materials requests from the district. We believe this will result in better oversight for inventory. APH materials are not free. They can be purchased with APH quota funds or other funds as listed above.

As always, teachers of students with visual impairments will have to be creative and cooperative to ensure that students get the specialized materials they need.

Ordering high cost items?

Materials requests for technology items will require justification. We will ask you about the proposed use of this item, what evaluations indicate that this is the needed item, alternative equipment options considered, and whether the item can be shared. An Outreach APH team will review these requests promptly.

The following items require justification for purchase and will only be available for students who are legally blind:

  • Visiobook
  • Orion TI84 Plus Talking Graphing Calculator
  • Book Port DT
  • Book Port
  • Braille Plus 18
  • Refreshabraille 18

The APH Materials Request Documentation form can be downloaded.

How can we share materials across the state?

Return APH materials that are in good condition but not being used to the TSBVI Materials Center to be catalogued and used for other students. Directions for this are available at: That generates the materials we need at no additional expense to our Quota funding. This spring we have sent out more than 167 APH instructional materials to districts! That's a lot of great support for students without spending any of the state's current Quota funding.

Working together we can better manage our limited APH Quota funds, while still supporting students with the things they need. We have programmed our system to be sure we know our status on a daily basis. We will help you make a decision about how you might get what you need. And we know that you may have great ideas of ways to help. Please share any suggestions you may have.

If you need assistance, or to share an idea, please contact:

Sue Enoch
TSBVI Materials Resource Center

Thank you!