Legislative Update 2/3

The House Education Committee is scheduled to meet today at 1 pm. On the agenda is a presentation from Amy Williamson from the DE regarding the Online Learning Report, which I assume is actually this Virtual Schools in Iowa Annual Report. This report covers surveys of students enrolled in the Iowa Connections Academy (CAM Community School District) and the Iowa Virtual Academy (Clayton Ridge Community School District). The DE recommends “continued delivery of instruction primarily over the internet be permitted to the extent legislation allows.”

The House Education Committee is also scheduled to consider HF 97 by Jones (R-Clay). This bill would strike the repeal provisions that would end the exception that allows open enrollment into the CAM and Clayton Ridge districts for purposes of enrolling in the virtual school programs, but would maintain the limitations on participation in the programs. This bill is the same as SF 4.

Connections Education, K12 Inc., and the Iowa Association of Christian Schools are registered for this bill. The Rural School Advocates of Iowa, the Urban Education Network of Iowa, the School Administrators of Iowa, the Iowa State Education Association, and the Iowa Association of School Boards are registered against this bill.

There are four new bills in the House Education Committee:

  • HF 126 by Salmon (R-Black Hawk) relating to the time period over which payments are made under the all Iowa opportunity scholarship
  • HF127 by Dolecheck (R-Ringgold) relating to the eligibility of school districts to receive professional development supplement funding. This bill would make schools receiving teacher leadership supplement funding ineligible to also receive funding from the professional development supplement for the same budget year, beginning with the 2016-2017 school year.
  • HF 132 by Steckman (D-Cerro Gordo) relating to school district funding for at-risk pupils and dropout prevention programs.
  • HF 140 by Fisher (R-Tama) and eight co-sponsors relating to student discipline and student conduct policies adopted by school districts. This bill would require school district policies to provide that simulating a firearm or weapon while participating in play with other students, or wearing clothing or accessories depicting a firearm or weapon, or expressing an opinion regarding a right guaranteed by the second amendment to the U.S. Constitution is not grounds for disciplinary action or referral to the criminal justice or juvenile justice system. It includes examples of simulating a firearm or weapon while participating in play and allows for disciplinary actions under certain circumstances.

There are nine new bills in the Senate Education Committee. Four of these bills relate to setting state percent growth and categorical growth at 4% for both FY 16 and FY 17 (2.75 and 1.55% higher than the Governor’s proposals of 1.25% and 2.45%). This falls short of the 6% and 6% proposals some had hoped for. These bills are numbered SSB 1140, SSB 1141, SSB 1143, and SSB 1144. [Subcommittee (for all four bills): Bowman (D-Jackson), Hart (D-Clinton), and Sinclair (R-Wayne).] There are no lobbyist declarations registered on any of these four bills as of yet.

  • SF 116 by Zaun (R-Polk) authorizing a school district to adopt a mandatory uniform policy. The ACLU of Iowa is registered against this bill.
  • SSB 1137 proposed Committee on Education bill establishing a nine-member fine arts standards task force to review and make recommendations relating to the inclusion of fine arts in the statewide academic standards for K-12 students, including music, visual art, drama and theater, and other fine and applied arts. [Subcommittee: Quirmbach (D-Story), Wilhelm (D-Howard), and Johnson (R-Osceola).]
  • SSB 1138 proposed Committee on Education bill raising the maximum compulsory school attendance age to eighteen years of age. [Subcommittee: Quirmbach (D-Story), Dvorsky (D-Johnson), and Schultz (R-Crawford).]
  • SSB 1142 proposed Committee on Education bill relating to school district property tax replacement payments. [Subcommittee: Bowman (D-Jackson), Hart (D-Clinton), and Sinclair (R-Wayne).]
  • SSB 1145 proposed Committee on Education bill relating to school district property tax replacement payments for certain budget years. [Subcommittee: Bowman (D-Jackson), Hart (D-Clinton), and Sinclair (R-Wayne).]