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Legislative Report (Vol XXIV No.4) Jan 31, 2005 Governors AEA Budget Recommendations

February 7, 2005

"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. "

The above was written in last weeks' report. I suppose you could say that at the very least something was lost in the translation. After being told at least twice by the Governor that AEA funding was being restored we found instead that his budget included a continuation of the current year budget cuts except for an additional $400,000 for a yet to be described purpose. According to the Governor's aides we were misinterpreting his intent. If so, then many others outside of the AEAs' were also as they also heard what we thought we were hearing.

While we will still be receiving additional funding from the 4% growth, the amount we receive will be offset by the expected cuts in additional Part B federal funding. This all reflects a budget for the coming year of approximately the same as last. However when you factor in additional costs for salaries, health insurance etc., it is in fact a budget less than the past year.

Had we not been under the assumption that the Governor was restoring our funding we would have been lobbying him harder and trying to point out further the impact on the AEA budget. The fact that he does not include it in his budget makes it much more difficult for us to try to get all or any of the funds restored during the budget process, however we will be making all possible efforts to work to increase our budget allocation.

Remainder of Governors Budget

The rest of the governor's budget focuses on trying to meet the following objectives: improved student achievement, transforming the economy by making the Iowa Values Fund permanent, creating greater health care security by improving access and affordability, and improving the safety of Iowa communities and improves the quality of Iowa's natural resources.

The governor's budget is predicated on an $0.80 per pack increase in cigarette taxes which would raise an estimated $123 million, combined corporate reporting, $25 million and increased revenues from traffic tickets $1.7 million. The governor's budget projects an ending balance for FY2006 of $144.8 million.

Among the Governor's education priorities are the following:

  • An increase of $39.1 million in early childhood healthcare and education programs, of which $20 million is for preschool. This amount is included in the governor's supplemental bill request for the current fiscal year, which would use excess revenues in the current budget.
  • An increase of $47 million in state money to expand the teacher quality program. The eventual language is intended to provide that school districts with over 25 percent unspent balance will provide a match of 50 percent of their teacher quality allocation and school districts between 15 percent and 25 percent unspent balance will provide a match of 25 percent of their teacher quality allocation. The teacher quality appropriation also includes per diem for the mandated two days of professional development, an increase in minimum teacher pay to $25,500 for new teachers and $27,500 for career teachers, stipends for teachers achieving Teacher Fellow status through regional staff development academies and an administrator mentoring program.
  • $29.2 million to continue the class size and reading initiative act.
  • An increase of $6.1 million in incentive grants for schools that share resources (whole-grade sharing, sharing high schools, sharing administrators and administrative functions.)
  • An increase of $93.9 million in state aid for the 4 percent allowable growth rate for FY 2006.

Senate Republicans Announce Education Goals

Senate Republicans held a press conference to announce their education plan. They propose four major areas of work:

  • Requiring testing for first-year teachers to ensure competence in the content area they teach
  • Providing additional resources for phonics-based reading interventions for young students, targeted to students at least one year below grade level.
  • Expanding the current state tuition and textbook tax credit from $250 per student to $2,500 per family and allowing expenses for preschool and academic tutoring to supplement classroom instruction. (This would cost the general fund hundreds of millions of revenue.)
  • Allowing schools to pay good teachers more, including signing bonuses and special community support packages for teachers in shortage area, and paying for student achievement performance.

Legislative Update

A Summary of Bills Introduced During the Week of 1-31-2005

House Files:

HF 151 - This bill directs the state board of education, as part of its mandate to adopt rules incorporating accountability for student achievement into the standards and accreditation process, to include in those rules criteria and a procedure for recognizing performance excellence that result from the implementation of outstanding comprehensive school improvement plans. By Ford

HF 178 - This bill provides for the inclusion of foreign exchange students in the actual enrollment of a school district. By Raecker

HF 191 - This bill increases the amount that an Iowa public employees' retirement system (IPERS) member who has a bona fide retirement and is under 65 years of age can earn in public employment covered by IPERS from $30,000 to $45,000 and continue to receive the member's retirement allowance without a reduction. An IPERS member receiving a retirement allowance who is under age 65 will have their IPERS retirement allowance reduced by 50 cents for each dollar the member earns in a calendar year in employment covered by IPERS over this earning limits. By Chambers

HF 194 - This bill provides for the application of the 100 percent budget guarantee, as applicable to school districts for the school budget year beginning July 1, 2003, for the school budget year beginning July 1, 2005, and each budget year thereafter. This enables a school district to maintain 100 percent of the previous year's budget, adjusted to include the amount of the budget adjustment the district received in the previous year. By Swaim, et. al

HF 208 - This bill increases the amount that an Iowa public employees' retirement system (IPERS) member who has a bona fide retirement and is under 65 years of age can earn in public employment covered by IPERS from $30,000 to $45,000 and continue to receive the member's retirement allowance without a reduction. An IPERS member receiving a retirement allowance who is under age 65 will have their IPERS retirement allowance reduced by 50 cents for each dollar the member earns in a calendar year in employment covered by IPERS over the earnings limit established in the bill. By Wendt

HF 212 - This bill directs the board of educational examiners, in consultation with the department of education, to convene an educator licensing review working group to improve Iowa's current teacher and administrator preparation and licensing practices by identifying standards essential for the maintenance of quality preparation and licensure requirements for teachers and administrators, identifying state laws and agency rules that are no longer essential to maintain quality, comparing Iowa's teacher and administrator preparation and licensing practices with those of neighboring states, and identifying potential barriers preventing teacher and administrator candidates from neighboring states from applying for licensure in Iowa. By Mascher

House Study Bills:

HSB 119 - 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 Committee on Education

HSB 120 - 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. By Committee on Education

HSB 121 - This bill changes the composition of the membership of the board of educational examiners by striking language that requires the membership to include the director of the department of education and which requires that the director serve as the chairperson of the board. However, the bill does not adjust the total number of members that comprise the board, which remains at 11 and includes two public members.
The bill does require that the public members shall never have held a practitioner's license. By Committee on Education

HSB 122 - This bill amends numerous Code sections related to the duties and operations of the state board of education, the department of education, and local school boards, including provisions relating to the submission of dropout and dropout prevention plans to the department and the submission of requests for additional allowable growth to the school budget review committee by school boards; the competency requirements persons must meet to receive a high school equivalency diploma, and the fees set for issuance of the diploma; the school start date; evening and part-time schools; open enrollment deadlines, approval authority for superintendents, and denial of a request involving the harassment or health of a student; the health and fitness of school bus drivers; and extended school programs. By Committee on Education

Senate Files:

SF 92 - This bill provides for the application of the 100 percent budget guarantee, as applicable to school districts for the school budget year beginning July 1, 2003, for the school budget year beginning July 1, 2005, and each budget year thereafter. This enables a school district to maintain 100 percent of the previous year's budget, adjusted to include the amount of the budget adjustment the district received in the previous year.
The bill eliminates provisions that were passed during the 2001 legislative session which, starting with the school budget year beginning July 1, 2004, provided that school districts would no longer be eligible for the 100 percent "adjuster" guarantee, but would instead be eligible for a 101 percent guarantee without the adjustment for inclusion of the previous year's guarantee. The bill also eliminates provisions passed during the 2001 legislative session that provided for a 10-year phaseout of the 100 percent adjusted guarantee for school districts that would lose money based on the change to a 101 percent nonadjusted guarantee. The bill takes effect upon enactment. By Kreiman

SF 103 - This bill creates an alternative means for a student who is at least 14 years of age to receive driver education instruction currently offered by public schools to qualify for an intermediate driver's license. The bill allows a parent, guardian, or legal custodian who is providing competent private instruction to a student to teach the student driver education, provided the person has a valid driver's license that permits unaccompanied driving and has a clear driving record for the previous two years. By Brunkhorst, et. al

Senate Study Bills:

SSB 1101 - This bill requires school boards to adopt and annually review a policy prohibiting bullying and harassment of all students. The policy must be developed and annually reviewed with the participation of parents, guardians, school employees, volunteers, students, and other members of the community. By Committee on Education

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