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Legislative Report (Vol. XXV No. 10) March 17, 2006 House Passes Education Appropriations Bill

March 17, 2006

The Iowa House approved an education spending bill on Wednesday that did not include extra money for teacher salaries and preschools as requested by the Governor Vilsack.

House Democrats tried to add $30 million for salaries and $15 million for early childhood education, but both proposals were defeated along party lines.

Majority Republicans countered that the bill, House File 2527 was a fiscally prudent plan that would put $948 million into public K-12 schools, community colleges and universities. That's represents $17 million more than was provided in the current budget year but $70 million short of what Gov. Vilsack proposed.

However, most participants agree that this bill represents only the starting point in the final budget negotiations and that the figures will more than likely change prior to adjournment.

A reminder that this bill does not contain any language dealing with the AEA funding issue. That will be determined in the Standings Appropriations bill. However Rep. Roger Wendt D-Sioux City did offer an amendment to provide building funds for AEAs through the Infrastructure budget. The amendment was ruled not germaine to the bill and was not considered. However Rep. Wendt plans to offer the same amendment to the Infrastructures and Capitals Appropriations bill at a later date.

Senate Passes Start Date Language

As part of a debate on a nonsubstantive Department of Education bill the Iowa Senate approved an amendment that would change Iowa’s school start date law. Currently, state law states that fall classes cannot start until Sept. 1 unless a school district receives a state waiver to begin earlier. The Department of Education has adopted a policy to approve most requests, granting waivers to 358 out of 370 districts last year.

Sen. John Putney, R-Gladbrook, offered an amendment, adopted 35-15, that allows schools to begin as early as Aug. 25, but the state would not be allowed to grant exemptions to start classes prior to that date. Waivers would still be granted for schools with year-round classes or other special calendar provisions.

Sen. Bob Dvorsky, D-Coralville, tried to move the school startup date to July 1, but the amendment failed 17-29. The Senate then voted 40-9 to approve Senate File 2272 and send it to the House, where the future of the school startup date issue is uncertain.

Class Rankings for University Admission to be Studied

The Iowa House passed a bill asking the Board of Regents for a recommendation on whether class ranking should play less of a role in university admission requirements. Current admission requirements include admitting Iowa high schools seniors graduating in the top 50 percent of their class.

Rather than look at class ranking, Rep. Mary Mascher, D-Iowa City said it might make more sense to look at the rigor of the courses students take, whether they took advanced placement classes and the relevance of their high school experience — including honors, awards and extracurricular activities — to their planned college career.

The House passed the bill 91-0 and sent it to the Senate. Under the bill, the regents would submit their recommendations to the Legislature in January.

AEA Reception

This past Tuesday the AEAs held a breakfast session for legislators. More than half of the 150 legislators made at least a brief visit to meet with their respective AEA administrators.

Next Funnel

Next Friday the 24th will mark another important funnel date. By rule all bills, with the exception of appropriation and tax bills, must have passed in either the House or Senate and the appropriate committee of the opposite house to remain eligible.

LEGISLATIVE BILL STATUS - As of March 17th, 2006

Bill Explanation Status
SF 2221 A bill for an act extending the reduction in the foundation property tax levy for reorganized and dissolved districts, extending supplementary weighting for whole grade sharing, providing supplementary weighting for shared school district operational functions, and providing effective and applicability dates. Passed Senate Education Committee
SF 2272 A bill for an act relating to the duties and operations of the state board of education, the department of education, and local school boards and including effective and applicability provisions. Includes an Aug. 25th school start day. Passed Senate
SF 2310 A bill for an act permitting the board of educational examiners to retain and carry over a percentage of the licensing fees it collects In Senate Appropriations Committee
SF 2311 A bill for an act directing the department of education to conduct a study of parental involvement programs and to develop a parental involvement liaison project and other mechanisms to increase personal responsibility and parental involvement in schools across the state. Passed Senate Education Committee
SF 2317 A bill for an act relating to a state of Iowa scholar program to award certificates of recognition to qualified graduating seniors Passed Senate Education Committee
SF 2320 A bill for an act relating to the development of an Iowa studies professional development plan and the establishment of an Iowa studies committee. Passed Senate Education Committee
SF 2324 A bill for an act relating to a school board member's employment as a substitute teacher in a school district. Passed Senate Education Committee
SF 2346 A bill for an act relating to driver education, graduated driver licensing provisions, and passenger restraint requirements, and making a penalty applicable Passed Transportation Committee
SF 2354 A bill for an act relating to the establishment of a student advancement policy. Passed Senate Education Committee
SF 2365 A bill for an act relating to the establishment of state and school antiharassment or antibullying policies, providing data collection and reporting requirements, and providing for immunity and other related matters Passed Government Oversight Committee
HF 729 A bill for an act relating to the Iowa public employees' retirement system and the judicial retirement system Passed House – Amended in Senate – Back to House
HF 2095 A bill for an act providing for the establishment of the state percent of growth for purposes of the state school foundation program and providing an applicability date. Passed House
HF 2161 A bill for an act relating to the state of Iowa scholarship program administered by the college student aid commission and providing an effective date Passed House
HF 2239 A bill for an act requiring the board of directors of a school district to adopt a parent and guardian involvement policy. Passed House
HF 2346 A bill for an act relating to public access to school district financial information, providing for the establishment and distribution of a financial report by school districts, and providing for the posting of information relating to outstanding school district levies. Passed House
HF 2462 A bill for an act relating to the number of eligible electors' signatures necessary in a school district to propose at a regular election the question of providing free textbooks for the use of the school district's pupils. Passed House
HF 2468 A bill for an act relating to the residency of and presence of a registered sex offender on or near a school or child care facility, and providing a penalty. Passed by Committee on Public Safety
HF 2478 A bill for an act relating to the regulation of area education agencies and local education agencies wishing to participate in the medical assistance program Passed Government Oversight Committee
HF 2511 A bill for an act relating to county, city, and school board publication of allowed claims Passed House Local Government Committee
HF 2527 A bill for an act relating to the funding of, the operation of, and appropriation of moneys to the college student aid commission, the department for the blind, the department of cultural affairs, the department of education, and the state board of regents and including effective and retroactive applicability dates. Passed House
HF 2530 A bill for an act authorizing a school district to share its portion of incremental property taxes with a contiguous school district. Passed House Education Committee
HF 2544 A bill for an act relating to the state board of education's rules regarding educational technology and telecommunications.  
HF 2617 A bill for an act providing for the extension of a reduction in the foundation property tax levy for reorganized or dissolved districts, and the extension of the period during which supplementary weighting may be received as a reorganization incentive by school districts, and providing an effective date Passed House Education Committee
HF 2618 A bill for an act relating to state aid to reimburse a portion of the advanced placement examination fee for students enrolled in public school districts. Passed House Education Committee
HF 2619 A bill for an act relating to high school graduation, dropout, and equivalency reporting requirements. Passed House
HF 2620 A bill for an act providing an exception to the age of admission to kindergarten. Passed House Education Committee
HF 2621 A bill for an act requiring reports from the department of education and from school districts relating to student achievement, percentile rank, and grade equivalency levels. Passed House Education Committee
HF 2622 A bill for an act establishing statewide proficiency levels and definitions for students in reading, mathematics, and science in grades four, eight, and eleven. Passed House Education Committee
HF 2623 A bill for an act relating to the membership, authority, and duties of the board of educational examiners Passed House
HF 2636 A bill for an act relating to the development of an Iowa studies professional development plan and the establishment of an Iowa studies committee Passed House Education Committee
HF 2656 A bill for an act relating to school reorganization and dissolution by allowing certain landowners in a reorganizing or dissolving school district to petition to join a contiguous school district. Passed House Education Committee
HF 2690 A bill for an act relating to teacher salaries by increasing beginning and career teacher minimum salary levels and creating a teacher shortage salary supplement and making appropriations. Passed House Education Committee
HF 2699 A bill for an act creating a mathematics and science teacher practical experience incentive program and providing for a tax credit from withholding. Passed House Education Committee
HF 2709 A bill for an act relating to the minimum hours of instructional school time in a school year for grades one through twelve for school districts, charter schools, and accredited nonpublic schools, and providing an effective date. Passed House Education Committee
HF 2710 A bill for an act relating to the establishment of a statewide educational standards and accountability task force. Passed House Education Committee
HF 2715 A bill for an act relating to postsecondary education opportunities for high school students by requiring school districts to publicize the available opportunities and by establishing a jump-start grant program for the postsecondary education expenses of Iowa students who receive high school diplomas prior to enrollment as high school seniors Passed House Education Committee
HF 2730 A bill for an act creating a defined contribution pension option for employees covered by the Iowa public employees' retirement system Passed State Government Committee

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