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Legislative Report (Vol. XXV No. 17) May 4, 2006, Preliminary Final Report 2006

May 4, 2006

SINE DIE!

The Legislature adjourned Sine Die last evening. The Senate adjourned at 11:45 and the House 12:30 AM. In the final budget bill the past reduction to AEAs of $11.8 million was reduced to $8 million. Thus we were able to improve our budget by $3.8 million.

It may take awhile to try to sift through everything else they did this week, but I will try to have a preliminary report out by a week from Friday and a final report in about a month following final decisions by the Governor. Call if you have any questions in the meantime.

PRELIMINARY FINAL REPORT – 2006 SESSION

Below is a brief summary of the issues impacting education passed during this past session. A more detailed report will follow in approximately one month when the Governor’s time limit to veto bills has passed. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Funding Issues:

  • 4 percent allowable growth for 2007-08.
  • Restored $3.8 million previously cut to area education agencies.

Teacher Excellence:

  • Raising teacher minimum pay to $25,500 for beginning teachers; $26,500 for a first-year career
  • teacher (third year); and $27,500 for all other career teachers (fourth year and beyond).
  • A three year commitment to teacher salaries in the following amounts:
    • $35 million increase for 2006-07
    • $70 million increase for 2007-08
    • $105 million increase for 2008-09
  • Funding will be allocated to districts based 50 percent on enrollment and 50 percent on the number of teachers.
  • For purposes of this funding an individual who is employed by an area education agency shall only be considered a teacher if the individual directly delivers instruction to school or school district students for fifty percent or more of the individual's contracted time.
  • Funds were appropriated to all school districts to attract and retain shortage area positions, including minority teacher recruitment, at the district's discretion.
  • Funds $1 million in 2006-07; $2.5 million in 2007-08; and $5 million in 2008-09 for a pay-for-performance pilot project.
  • Provides $250,000 for a beginning administrator mentoring program.
  • One day of professional development continued from 2005-06, plus $6.6 million for either salary, professional development or both, to be determined locally.

Preschool Funding:

  • $10 million to the state empowerment board for early childhood in 2006-07 and $15 million each in 2007-08 and 2008-09:
    • $5.5 million for tuition to expand pre-school slots to families between 185 and 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
    • $3.5 million for improved quality of early care health and education programs.
    • $1.0 million community empowerment gifts and grants.

Tax Issues:

  • Tax reductions totaling approximately $200 million over the next eight years were passed. Included in those cuts were:
  • Increasing the income exclusion for seniors and eliminating the tax on the portion of Social Security benefits currently taxed for a tax decrease of $118 million.
  • A four-year commitment to Property tax equity by reducing general fund levies in districts with the lowest property value per pupil:
    • $6 million in 2006-07
    • $12 million in 2007-08
    • $18 million in 2008-09
    • $24 million in 2009-10
  • A prohibition on sharing of city local option tax revenue with schools unless a school infrastructure local option (SILO) tax is approved in the county.
  • It also creates an incentive for Linn and Johnson county voters to approve a SILO by allowing them to keep all local county revenue for half the length of an approved SILO, then contributing to the pool for the remainder of the SILO.

Other Educational Issues:

  • $55 million for Phase I and II of the Educational Excellence Program.
  • $29.2 million for the class size initiative.
  • $14.4 million for instructional support.
  • $11.3 million for at-risk grants.
  • Extending English-language learner state funding to a fourth year of eligibility.
  • $500,000 to the Iowa Learning Technology Commission for technology grants.
  • Require districts to have a certified teacher librarian. Provides for a waiver and it also grandfathers in existing employees serving as the librarian who aren't certified. Up to two districts can share a certified librarian.

Graduation Standards:

  • 80 percent of graduates in 2010-2011 must complete four years of English and three years each of math, science and social studies.
  • Requiring districts to consider ACT core curriculum.
  • Appropriation of $130,000 to the Department of Education (DE) for implementation of the graduation requirements. Directs the DE to study district readiness to implement the graduation mandate, and to assist districts with implementation, and to provide recommendations to the legislature.

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