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Legislative Report (Vol XXIV No.6) February 14, 2005 Siegrist Presentation

February 18, 2005

As written in last weeks report Director of AEA Services Brent Siegrist made a presentation to the education subcommittee of the Governors’ governance study group. The purpose of the presentation was to review the Iowa Educational Consortium, review areas where the AEAs are currently providing administrative services to schools and explore ways to possibly expand those services to assist LEAs.

Brent did a great job of taking them through the current services and speaking to additional areas where AEAs could be of assistance. Based on the presentation by Siegrist and other information that has been shared with the subcommittee over the past several weeks it appears that they wish to further explore those services that AEAs can provide through agreements with local schools.

As previously written 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 issues of governance, tax revenues, and school finance. The group is divided into 3 subcommittees; Education Finance, Governance and Taxes and Revenue.

ACT Presentation

Dr. Richard Ferguson, CEO of the Iowa-based college testing firm ACT told the education committees this past week that “Iowa’s high schools are in crisis.” Dr. Ferguson noted that based on the results from ACT’s Educational Planning and Assessment System there is a clear relationship between the rigor of the high school coursework students take and their readiness for college and the workplace.

He also went on to say that the more rigorous and challenging the courses a student takes, the more likely the student will be ready for college and will earn his or her degree.

The consequence he said is that far too many college students are dropping out before they get their degrees. One in four freshmen at four-year institutions, and one in two freshmen at two-year institutions, fails to return for their sophomore year of college.

The way to improve college readiness he said is to have more high school students take core high school curriculum:

  • 4 or more courses in English
  • 3 or more courses in mathematics such as algebra I & II, and geometry
  • 3 or more courses in social studies such as American history, world history, American government, economics, geography, psychology and other history
  • 3 or more science courses such as biology, chemistry, and physics

He maintained that the more courses students take, and the more challenging those courses, the more likely these students will be college ready and will receive a college degree.

Governors Initiatives

As you can see as you view the bills listed below, the Governors educational initiatives are now being filed and appearing in bill form. Initiatives such as early childhood, teacher quality and school sharing incentives. It is far to early to determine at this point what action will be taken on each of these and what form they will take in the end. We will be watching them and reporting on their fates in future reports.

Legislative Update

A Summary of Bills Introduced During the Week of 2-14-2005

House Files:

HF 303 - This bill provides that pupils who attend kindergarten programs which are offered on a half-day basis, and prekindergarten pupils enrolled in special education programs offered on a half-day basis, shall be counted for purposes of the actual enrollment count of a school district as one-half of one pupil. This is a change from their current full inclusion in actual enrollment as one pupil, regardless of whether the program is offered on a half=day or full-day basis. By Wise and Heaton

HF 316 - This bill relates to and provides appropriations for early childhood programs. The bill makes appropriations for early childhood initiatives to the department of education for design and implementation of Iowa early learning standards, additional school ready children grant funding under the community empowerment initiative, and additional at=risk children funding; to the department of human services for implementation of a child care quality rating system and for state child care assistance program eligibility expansion and reimbursement methodology changes; and to the department of management for the community empowerment office. By Mascher

HF 319 - This bill includes school nurses, school social workers, counselors, and media specialists in the student achievement and teacher quality program and eliminates provisions that base licensure beyond the initial license as a beginning teacher on the recommendations of a school district or area education agency.

The program currently includes preschool teachers in the beginning teacher mentoring and induction program, and defines "teacher" to include librarians, media specialists, preschool teachers, and counselors. The bill adds school nurses, media specialists, school social workers, and counselors to the beginning teacher mentoring and induction program. The bill also adds school nurses and school social workers to the definition of "teacher".

The effect of these changes is that school districts and area education agencies (AEAs) are required to include school nurses, media specialists, school social workers, and counselors in beginning teacher mentoring and induction programs and to permit school districts and AEAs to receive state assistance under the program for including school nurses, media specialists, school social workers, and counselors in the two-year sequence of mentoring and induction activities. By adding school nurses and school social workers to the definition of "teacher", those individuals will participate in the standards, performance reviews, career development planning, and career path compensation provided for under the program.

By July 1 annually, each school district and AEA must report to the department the number of preschool teachers, school nurses, school social workers, media specialists, and counselors employed by the district or AEA on the third Friday of September of the previous school year. By Mascher

HF 320 - This bill provides for an individual income tax credit equal to the voluntary contributions made to a school tuition organization that is exempt from federal income tax. By Boal, et. al.

HF 340 - This bill authorizes the sale of Iowa communications network (ICN) capacity under specified circumstances, and provides for other changes relating to the operation of the network. By Tymeson and Lensing

HF 349 - This bill concerns permissible uses of physical plant and equipment levy revenue. The bill provides that in addition to utilizing revenue for the purchase of transportation equipment for transporting students, which is currently authorized in Code section 298.3, revenue may also be expended for contracting for transportation services. By Heddens

HF 356 - This bill requires local school boards to adopt a bus idling policy for school bus drivers in order to minimize the idling of buses on or near school grounds. The department of education is to provide school districts with policy guidelines that outline best practices to be followed in order to limit the idling of buses and the associated exposure of pupils and drivers to diesel exhaust. By Heddens and Shoultz

HF 360 - This bill provides for the establishment of a new category of supplementary weighting relating to shared school operational functions.

The bill provides that supplementary weighting shall be available to increase student opportunities for school districts that share operational functions. The bill provides that a supplementary weighting of .02 per pupil shall be assigned to pupils enrolled in a district that shares one or more operational functions in the areas of business management, human resources, transportation, or operation and maintenance for a minimum of 20 percent of the school year.

The bill provides that the amounts received either as supplementary weighting or any savings realized through the sharing of operational functions shall be utilized by a school district to improve teacher salaries, and offer additional courses to maximize the access of every high school student to four years of mathematics, science, and English or language arts, with the intent that additional course offerings will include advanced content and advanced placement opportunities.

The bill provides that the minimum amount of additional weighting for which a school district shall be eligible is an amount corresponding to 10 additional pupils, and the maximum is an amount corresponding to 20 additional pupils. The bill provides that criteria for determining qualification of operational functions for additional weighting shall be determined by the department of education by rule.

The bill appropriates $1.6 million from the state general fund to the department of education to be allocated on or about November 15, 2005, to school districts which have established shared operational functions, provides for nonreversion of the funds, and provides for allocation among all requesting and approved school districts if the amount appropriated is insufficient to fully fund the amounts requested and approved based on the ratio that each requesting and approved school district's actual enrollment bears to the total actual enrollment of all requesting and approved school districts. Proposed Governors Bill

House Study Bills:

HSB 185 - This bill provides for regulation by the Iowa department of public health of playgrounds operated by public agencies. The term "playground" is defined to mean an improved area that is designed, equipped, and set aside for children's play. Certain types of improved areas such as athletic fields are specifically exempted from the scope of the term. The term "public agency" is defined to mean a state agency, a political subdivision of the state, or a school corporation. By Upmeyer

Senate Files:

SF 148 - This bill allows the county board of supervisors to subject public entities, including school corporations, to property taxation if they are in competition with private commercial business enterprises. By Brunkhorst

SF 150 - This bill expands the current prohibitions on unfair and discriminatory practices in educational programs. The bill expands the protection of Code chapter 19B, governing equal opportunity and affirmative action, to provide that an individual shall not be denied equal access to school district, area education agency, or community college employment opportunities because of real or perceived sexual orientation or marital status. By McCoy, et.al

SF 158 – This bill makes numerous changes to the tax structure of Iowa including; increasing the state portion of the school foundation formula to 95%, and including intent language that a constitutional amendment should be approved requiring that tax increases be approved by a vote of the people. By Miller

SF 177 - This bill establishes an Iowa learning technology commission to administer the Iowa learning technology initiative, to be implemented through local and public= private partnerships, develop and administer an Iowa learning technology pilot program, collect and assess data relating to the current status of technology in Iowa's public school classrooms, and identify and coordinate current revenue sources used for K=12 educational technology; requires the state board of regents to establish a research triangle composed of the three regents universities and clearinghouse for purposes of sharing K=12 education technology initiatives; and expands the purposes for which physical plant and equipment levies may be used to include computer hardware, servers, and preloaded software. By Angelo, et. al.

Senate Study Bills:

SSB 1157 - This bill provides for the establishment of statewide, voluntary standards and professional development to support universal access to high-quality preschool programs for three-year-old and four-year-old children. The bill requires the director of the department of education to develop a request for proposals, and criteria that support the shared vision model, that invites local communities, empowerment boards, and school districts to develop an implementation plan based on the shared visions model. The bill describes the components each plan must include. .Proposed Governors Bill

SSB 1158 – Same as HF 360.

SSB 1159 - This bill makes changes to the student achievement and teacher quality program, establishes an administrator quality program, sets forth Iowa standards for school leaders, and provides for an annual appropriation of $245,000 to the department of education for implementation of a new administrator mentoring and induction program. Proposed Governors Bill

SSB 1160 - This bill relates to harassment and bullying of elementary and secondary school students and establishes a state policy that school employees, volunteers, and students in Iowa schools shall not engage in harassing or bullying behavior. Proposed Governors Bill

SSB 1162 - This bill relates to improvement of the early care, child care services, education, health, and human services systems under the oversight of the department of education, the department of human services, the Iowa empowerment board, and the child development coordinating council; provides for the establishment of statewide voluntary standards and professional development to support universal access to high-quality preschool programs; and creates a children's cabinet. By Connolly

SSB 1164 - 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 Connolly

SSB 1174 – Same as HSB 185. By Seymour

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