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Legislative Report (Vol XXIV No.8) February 28, 2005 House Education Appropriations

March 4, 2005

House republicans unveiled their education appropriations bill for the 2005-05 fiscal year. Their budget figures are based on no increases in the cigarette tax, as proposed by the Governor. Since the Governor’s education initiatives were dependent upon additional funding generated by this tax the republican proposal creates an approximate $125 million shortfall in the budget proposed by the Governor. Thus the proposal makes the following changes in the initiatives called for by the Governor in his state of the state address:

An increase of $14.5 million for teacher quality. This amount is $32.9 million less than the governor's recommendation for two days of professional development and increasing teacher salary minimums. This was the "plus two" in the "four plus two" Allowable Growth referred to earlier in the session.

An increase of $11.7 million for empowerment preschool and childcare. The Governor proposed dedicating an additional $39.1 million to a variety of early childhood initiatives.

The third major change in the House republican budget are sharing incentives for school districts. The Governor proposed $6.1 million for that purpose, and the House Republican budget provides nothing.

However it is important to point out that this is just the opening bid in the budget process. There is much negotiations and changes to come before an agreed upon budget finds its way to the Governors desk.

AEA Budget Issue

As reported in great detail earlier in the session the Governor did not restore the AEA funding reductions in his budget. Since that time we have working hard to see if we can make a case for the restoration of funds. While slow but steady progress is being made to make some legislators aware of the implications of continuing these reductions it will not matter what we do unless there is an eventual increase in the cigarette tax. An increase significant enough for some additional funding to be made available for such issues as ours.

Public Hearing on Early Childhood

On Monday, March 7, at 8:00 a.m. there will be a public hearing on HF 385 relating to early childhood education and childcare. The hearing will be in the Old Supreme Court Chamber, Room 103, in the State Capitol Building. Persons interested in speaking at the public hearing can signup at the Legislative Information Office or by calling (515) 281-5129.

First Funnel Date

Friday, March 11th will mark the first funnel date of this current session. By rule all bills must pass out the committee of origin prior to adjournment on that date to remain eligible. Failure to meet the funnel requirements usually indicates a bill is dead for the session, however as mentioned in the past, the funnel deadlines do not pertain to budget and tax bills and since other bills can be repackaged as amendments to other bills or as leadership bills nothing is truly dead until the session adjourns.

Legislative Update

A Summary of Bills Introduced During the Week of 2-28-2005

House Files:

HF 487 - This bill provides for the gradual incorporation of the instructional support program into the school finance formula. By Wise

HF 492 - This bill relates to the purposes for which the physical plant and equipment levy revenue may be utilized. By Frevert

HF 497 - This bill provides for an increase in the foundation property tax imposed under the state school foundation program pursuant to Code section 257.3, from the current level of $5.40 to $6.90 per $1,000 of assessed valuation on all taxable property in a school district.

The bill also provides for an increase in the regular program foundation base and the special education support services foundation base under the state school foundation program from the current foundation base level of 87.5 percent and 79 percent, respectively, to the level of 92.4 percent. By Wendt

HF 526 – Formerly HF 212 - This bill requires the executive director of the board of educational examiners to annually review the administrative rules adopted by the board and to submit the executive director's findings and recommendations to certain members of the general assembly by January 15. By Education Committee

HF 527 - This bill makes changes relating to the manner in which a vacancy on a school district board of directors is filled. Under current law, a vacancy on a school district board of directors is filled by the remaining members of the board. However, if the board does not fill the vacancy by appointment within 30 days after the vacancy occurs or if the board is reduced below a quorum, the vacancy is filled by special election.

The bill provides that a vacancy on a school district board of directors shall be filled at the option of the board, either by appointment or by special election. The bill further provides that the vacancy must be filled by special election if the board fails to make an appointment within 30 days after the vacancy occurs or if the board is reduced below a quorum. In addition, the bill provides that if the board chooses to fill the vacancy by appointment, the board shall publish notice of that decision. If, within 10 days of publication or within 10 days of an appointment being made, a petition signed by eligible electors is filed with the school district board secretary calling for a special election to fill the vacancy, the vacancy shall be filled in that manner. The bill further provides that if an election is petitioned for, the cost of the special election shall be paid by a property tax levy imposed solely for that purpose and such property tax will be due and payable in the next fiscal year beginning following the election. By Struyk

HF 529 – (Formerly 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 that the director serve as the chairperson of the board, and instead including the director as an ex officio, nonvoting member of the board. The bill requires that the board's two public members shall never have held a practitioner's license, and one of the public members shall have served on a school board. The bill also reduces the number of days the board has to investigate a complaint from within 180 days to within 120 days from the time a complaint is filed. By Education Committee

HF 546 - This bill provides for the future repeal of three school finance levies which are imposed in a relatively few number of school districts, and makes conforming changes. The bill provides for the repeal of the enrichment levy provided in Code section 257.28. The bill also provides for the repeal of the educational improvement levy provided in Code section 257.29. The bill additionally provides for the repeal of the schoolhouse tax levy provided in Code section 298A.5. By Wise

HF 578 - This bill provides additional funding for school districts that have increasing enrollments. Boal, et. al.

HF 579 - This bill establishes a postsecondary readiness pilot program to be administered by the department of education and appropriates $100,000 for distribution in the three school districts the department selects to participate in the program. By Wendt

HF 593 - This bill reestablishes a statutory requirement that each accredited nonpublic school or school district have, unless a waiver has been obtained, a media center in each attendance center accessible to students throughout the school day, a qualified school media services specialist responsible for media center supervision, an articulated sequential elementary-secondary guidance program for grades kindergarten through 12, and a licensed guidance counselor. By Mascher, et. al.

House Study Bills:

HSB 220 - 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

HSB 228 - This bill makes changes to the Iowa early intervention block grant program by changing one of the formulas for grant distribution to school districts, requiring a new report based on the change in funding distribution, and extending the 2 14 program's repeal to July 1, 2006, and making that extension effective upon enactment. By Tymeson

HSB 229 - This bill provides a mechanism for the sale of Iowa communications network (ICN) assets with specified retained rights by the state, and provides for related technical and substantive changes to the provisions of Code chapter 8D. By Jenkins

HSB 233 - This bill makes changes to Code chapter 20 governing public employee collective bargaining. Proposed PERB bill

HSB 243 - This bill amends numerous Code sections relating to school districts, including the contents of school district annual audits, the confidentiality of personal information in records regarding students receiving competent private instruction, school aid reduction for early school starts, payments the board of directors of a school district or an area education agency authorizes the secretary or administrator to issue when the board of directors is not in session, the annual examination by a school board of district books, the books of the school district's secretary and treasurer, the purposes for which moneys deposited in the physical plant and equipment levy fund may be used, authorizing school boards to establish entities or organizations for the support of the school district, open enrollment applications, deadlines, and appeals, expanding the department of education's options when a school bus driver is found to have violated certain Code provisions, and providing that a restriction on local option sales tax revenues for school infrastructure purposes applies only to districts with fewer than 250 students in the elementary and secondary schools or fewer than 100 students in a high school. By Tymeson

HSB 256 – This is the Education Appropriations Bill. The only reference to AEAs is based on the republican early childhood initiative as reported in last weeks’ report. By Ed. Approp. Subcommittee

Senate Files:

SF 245 - This bill requires the state board of education to determine a model core curriculum based on the recommendations of the American college testing program, inc., (ACT) and to set a goal of reaching, by July 1, 2009, a minimum statewide core curriculum completion rate of 80 percent of graduating seniors. (Formerly SF 46)

Senate Study Bills:

SSB 1243 - Division I of the bill makes changes relating to local budgets. The division provides that if a new state mandate is imposed on or after July 1, 2005, which requires the performance of a new activity or service or the expansion of a service beyond what was required before July 1, 2005, the state mandate must be fully funded. If the state mandate is not fully funded, the affected political subdivisions are not required to comply or implement the state mandate. Also, no fines or penalties may be imposed on a political subdivision for failure to comply or carry out an unfunded state mandate. Also adds community colleges and AEAs under the definition of a political subdivision. By Zieman

SSB 1254 - This bill, titled the "Truth and Accountability in Education Act of 2005", requires the citizens' aide to appoint an education assistant to investigate matters relating to K-12 educational institutions, requires the state board of education and the department of education to define key data areas, requires the establishment of statewide academic standards, requires school districts and accredited nonpublic schools to require attendance for the entire time when the schools are in session in any school year, requires the department to monitor compliance with federal and state education laws, establishes an education law enforcement advisory committee within the department to advise and make recommendations to the general assembly and the governor regarding sanctions for failure by a school district or accredited nonpublic school to comply with federal and state education laws, requires school districts and schools that administer the Iowa test of basic skills and the Iowa test of educational development to report their scores to the department and their local communities, and requires the department to cooperate with other state and local agencies to promote continuity of service to students and their families. The bill defines educational institution to mean school districts, accredited nonpublic schools, area education agencies, and the department of education. By Connolly

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