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Legislative Report (Vol XXIV No.3) Jan 24th, 2005 House Approves Allowable Growth

January 31, 2005

The House gave final approval on Monday to a 4% increase in allowable growth for the 2006-07 school year for K-12 schools. Senate File 36 is estimated to increase state aid to schools by $99.5 million and property taxes $27.7 million. The school finance formula will generate $2.074 billion in state aid and $1.072 million in property taxes for K-12 schools for the 2006-2007 school year.

Minority democrats offered an amendment during debate that called for a 6.0% increase in allowable growth, which would have provided schools with $50 million more in state aid than the 4.0% alternative. The amendment was defeated on a party line vote. The bill will now go to the Governor who is expected to sign it.

It is anticipated that the Governor will continue his efforts to secure another 2% or $50 million to expand the Student Achievement and Teacher Quality initiative throughout the remainder of the session.

Governance Committee Begins Work

A bi-partisan committee of 12 legislators (3 Republicans and Democrats each from the House and Senate) are working with and at the request of the governor to consider the big issues of governance, tax revenues, and school finance. The group is divided into 3 subcommittees; Education Finance, Governance and Taxes and Revenue. The committee as a whole has set a March 21st deadline to submit their proposals. The Education Subcommittee intends to meet three days per week. It is expected that at some point in the deliberations of the Education subcommittees AEAs will be asked to present information on topics such as management services and the Iowa Educational Cooperative.

Subcommittee assignments include:

  • Education Finance: Senator Joe Bolkcom (D) Iowa City, Senator Doug Shull (R), Indianola, Marcie Frevert (D) Emmetsburg, Scott Raecker (R) Urbandale
  • Governance: Senator Roger Stewart (D) Preston, Senator Jeff Angelo (R) Creston, Representative Bill Schickel (R) Mason City, Representative Geri Huser (D) Altoona
  • Taxes & Revenue: Senator Herman Quirmbach (D) Ames, Senator Mark Zieman (R) Postville, Representative Cecil Dolecheck, (R ) Mount Ayr, Representative Don Shoultz (D) Waterloo

AEA Representatives Meet With Governor

On Thursday representatives of the AEAs met with Governor Vilsack to discuss various topics. In attendance at the meeting were the current officers of the Administrator group; Bob Vittengl, Joe Crozier and Connie Maxson, the state and federal legislative committee chairs; Glenn Pelecky and Ron Fielder, and AEA Director of Services Brent Siegrist and the AEA Government Relations Specialist.

Specifically the intent was to determine what assistance AEAs could provide to assist in some of the Governor’s highest priorities, such as early childhood and high school reform and to talk about budget issues facing the AEAs.

The Governor expressed his appreciation of the work of the AEAs and implied that one of our best proponents was in fact Iowa’s first lady, Christie Vilsack who appreciates very much the assistance we have provided to her on several occasions in terms of her projects as first lady.

While we are not at liberty to discuss the budget aspects of the discussion until the Governor officially submits his budget on Monday, it can be said that we are pleased with his intent regarding AEA funding and will report further in next weeks’ report. Brent Siegrist and Wayne Haddy have been invited to a meeting in the Governors’ office on Monday morning to hear a more complete description of his budget prior to the official announcements.

Legislative Update

A Summary of Bills Introduced During the Week of 1-24-2005

House Files:

HF 118 - This bill provides a process by which a landowner may petition to join a contiguous school district when the person's land is located within the boundaries of a school district that is reorganizing.
Beginning July 1, 2006, a person owning land within the territory described for a proposed reorganized area may file a petition to join a school district that is contiguous to the person's land and if the school district approves the request, the land is excluded from the proposed reorganized area.
Further, the bill allows any other person whose land is contiguous to that of the landowner whose land is contiguous to the school district and who is eligible to file a petition to join the contiguous school district, to file a petition to join the same school district. A petition to join a contiguous school district must be filed by the landowner within 20 days after an area education agency board has held hearings and issued a decision regarding any objections to the reorganization or, if the decision of the board is appealed to the department of education, within 20 days after the decision of the department.
If the petition to join is approved by the school board, the board shall notify the area education agency for the reorganized area and the secretary of state of its approval and the secretary of state shall redraw the boundaries specified for the proposed reorganized area to remove the land area specified in the petition to join and, if the redrawn proposed reorganized area is determined by the area education agency board to comply with the reorganization plans, the administrator is directed to proceed with the reorganization process.
However, the property tax valuation of the land excluded from the proposed reorganized area in accordance with the bill shall not exceed 10 percent of the property tax valuation of the proposed reorganized area. By Granzow

HF 129 - This bill makes a child eligible to participate immediately in extracurricular interscholastic athletic contests or competitions sponsored by bona fide extracurricular interscholastic athletic organizations, as long as the child is otherwise eligible to participate and the contests or competitions are below the varsity level. The bill also makes a ninth grade student who participates in open enrollment eligible to participate immediately in a varsity interscholastic sport if the pupil is entering grade nine for the first time.
The bill defines "varsity" as the highest level of students of one school in competition against the highest level of students of one or more other schools. By Murphy and Raecker

HF 136 - This bill establishes an educational technology grant program for approved school districts and codifies an annual appropriation of state moneys sufficient to provide up to $5 per pupil in grant awards to approved school districts that provide matching local funds. By Wendt

HF 139 - This bill provides for an increase in the regular program foundation base under the state school foundation program. The foundation base is the specified percentage of the state cost per pupil calculation which is paid as state aid to school districts, above and beyond the uniform property tax levy imposed in Code section 257.3. The increase would be gradually phased in over a seven=year period in equal annual increments, from the current foundation base level of 87.5 percent to the level of 100 percent. By Paulsen and Dix

House Study Bills:

HSB 54 - This bill amends provisions relating to the regulation of motor vehicles by the state department of transportation. The bill amends Code sections 299.1B, 321.177, 321.178, 321.180B, 321.191, 321.213B, and 321.215 to eliminate obsolete provisions relating to temporary restricted and restricted driver's licenses for minors.
The amendments reflect that a person under age 18 must be attending public or nonpublic school, competent private instruction, an alternative school, or adult education classes to be eligible for a driver's license. Minors who have been issued a restricted license under current law will retain that license, subject to the conditions and restrictions that currently apply. Proposed Dep’t of Transportation bill

HSB 55 - The bill provides that the lawful custodian of public records shall make reasonable accommodations to facilitate the receipt of public records requests from and providing records to persons desiring to examine or copy public records and shall not require a person to make a request or receive a copy of the record in person. The bill further provides that the lawful custodian shall only charge a fee for the actual costs associated with copying costs and excludes ordinary expenses or costs such as employment benefits, depreciation, maintenance, electricity, or insurance costs associated with the administration of the office of the lawful custodian. Proposed Citizens Aide/Ombudsmen Bill

HSB 56 - This bill makes changes to the Iowa public employees' retirement system (IPERS) relating to contributions made to the system by employers and employees. Code section 97B.11, governing contributions to the retirement fund, is amended. Currently, the employer rate is 5.75 percent and the employee rate is 3.7 percent of a member's covered wages. The bill provides that the employer rate will equal 5.75 percent plus 60 percent of the total additional required percentage and the employee rate will equal 3.7 percent plus 40 percent of the total additional required percentage. The bill provides that the total additional required percentage shall be 1 percentage point for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2005, and this rate shall increase by 1 percentage point a year until reaching 4 percent for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2008. Beginning for each fiscal year on or after July 1, 2009, the total additional required percentage shall equal the total required percentage minus 9.45 percent. Proposed IPERS bill

Senate Files:

SF 53 - This bill establishes an educational technology grant program for approved school districts and codifies an annual appropriation of state moneys sufficient to provide up to $5 per pupil in grant awards to approved school districts that provide matching local funds. By Connolly

SF 56 - This bill provides that it is a criminal violation of the "Iowa Wage Payment Collection Law" for an employer to knowingly fail to make payments to a health benefit plan or to a designee of an employee for the purpose of securing medical, health, or hospital benefits for the employee, when the payments are required, or are authorized by the employee, under an agreement with the employer or under a policy of the employer. By Dotzler

SF 59 - This bill strikes a requirement from the Code chapter governing competent private instruction (i.e., home schooling) which requires that a teacher who provides competent private instruction possess a license that is appropriate to the ages and grade levels of the children to be taught.
The bill also strikes reference to a certificate that the board of educational examiners issued prior to July 1, 1989, which entitled the possessor to be granted a permanent. McKinley and Brunkhorst

SF 84 - This bill requires the department of education to conduct a study concerning the sale of carbonated beverages to students in schools during the 2005-2006 school year. By Bolkom

Senate Study Bills:

SSB 1057 - Same as HSB 54.

SSB 1067 - This bill raises the compulsory school attendance age from 16 to 18 years of age. The bill includes a technical amendment to eliminate reference to the compulsory attendance age for purposes of dual enrollment. By Connolly

SSB 1068 - This bill amends the education standards to require school districts to establish, by July 1, 2006, a media center at each attendance center supervised by a licensed media specialist and provide an articulated sequential guidance program for grades K-12 with a licensed guidance counselor.
The bill also eliminates a provision that requires the division of libraries and information services to develop and adopt long-range plans for the continued improvement of library services and to establish a long-range planning committee to annually review and evaluate progress and report its findings and recommendations to the division and to the library service area trustees. By Connolly

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