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Legislative Report (Vol. XXV No. 3) January 27th, 2006 House Passes 4% Growth, Hearing on Standards Scheduled

January 27, 2006

The House passed a 4% allowable growth on Wednesday. An amendment by Rep. Roger Wendt – D, to increase the figure to 6% was defeated on a party line vote 51-48.

The bill sets allowable growth for the 2007-2008 school year. The 4.0% is estimated to increase state aid $103 million for the 2007-2008 school year. At a 4% growth rate, the state cost per pupil will increase from $5,128 to $5,333, an increase of $205 per pupil.

Senate Democrats have announced that they will insist on 6%. The potential is there for this to become a protracted issue. State law requires a decision within 30 days, however they have not withstood this law in the past and gone beyond the statutory 30 days and it may happen again this year.

Hearing on Standards Scheduled

A public hearing to examine statewide standards for Iowa’s K-12 education system has been called for by Rep. Jodi Tymeson, the chair of the House Education Committee. Rep. Tymeson said that “state standards doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. This hearing will provide legislators with valuable input from Iowans about their expectations for our schools.”

The public hearing for examining statewide standards for Iowa’s K-12 education system will be Tuesday, February 21, 2006, in the Iowa House, from 6 pm to 9 pm. To participate, call (515) 281-5129, sign up in office G-16, or email the Legislative Information Office at lioinfo@legis.state.is.us. Participants must give a name, residence, organization (if representing one) and contact phone number. Each individual will be allowed 3 minutes speaking time, and people should submit their comments in written form on the day of the hearing.

Senate Democrats offer Education Proposal

Senate Democrats released a four-point plan for improving classroom discipline, increasing parental involvement, and improving student achievement. The components are:

  • Anti-Bullying Policy - Provides that the state adopt guidelines for an anti-bullying policy, which schools will be able to put directly in school handbooks, and give students, parents and teachers a clear idea of what is expected.
  • Teacher Certification - Need to make sure that every teacher is competent in the subjects that they teach. Smaller schools will face challenges in filling some teaching positions and that the state will need to look at ways to help those schools.
  • Parental Involvement - Provides for Iowa businesses to offer 20 hours of annual unpaid leave so that parents can attend school functions on the premise that increased parental involvement will lead to better performance in schools by Iowa students and less unplanned lost working time for parents.
  • Supplemental Weighting for English instruction - Provide legislation to extend the length of the supplemental weighting for English proficiency instruction from three years to five years.

Senate Files

SF 2078 - This bill allows a person at least 17 years of age to register to vote. The bill also allows an elector who is at least 17 years of age, and who has registered to vote, to vote in school district elections. By Bolkom

SF 2086 - Successor to SF 2001) Allows a school district to use biometric technology to scan a child's fingerprint. Allows a parent to object in writing and prohibits the data extracted from the fingerprint from being saved. Requires the school to destroy the data when the child leaves, graduates or if the parent withdraws authorization. By Committee on Education

House Files

HF 2100 - This bill establishes a high school reform initiative relating to student coursework and teacher training and development in grades 9 through 12.

The bill adds to the required contents of the comprehensive school improvement plan established in Code section 256.7, subsection 21, the inclusion of high school improvement efforts incorporating research=based initiatives that will establish a rigorous and engaging curriculum, a personalized learning environment, small learning communities, extension of the classroom into the workplace and community, professional development, and student assessment with program evaluation. The bill also provides for the development of examples of such initiatives for incorporation into the teacher career development model contained in Code section 284.6, subsection 2. By Wise

HF 2101 - This bill creates a twenty=first century Iowa scholars program and fund to be administered by the college student aid commission to provide scholarships to pay the postsecondary costs of tuition and mandatory fees for Iowa students who are eligible for free or reduced price meals or are receiving foster care who agree, in writing, in grade seven or eight, to graduate with a 2.0 point or better grade point average, to refrain from illegal drug use, committing delinquent acts, driving while intoxicated, tobacco use, and truancy. The bill also requires the commission to conduct a study of the program and to submit its plan, findings, recommendations, and a fiscal analysis of the plan to the senate and house of representatives standing committees on education not later than December 15, 2006. By Petersen, et.al.

HF 2109 - This bill increases from 10 to 20 the number of charter school applications the state board of education may approve and authorizes the state board to approve applications for the establishment, by community colleges or state universities, of junior=senior high or senior high charter magnet schools.

Code chapter 256F currently provides that a charter school is a public school that is either a new school within an existing public school or an existing public school converted to charter status. By Wise, Tymeson and Carroll

HF 2121 - This bill provides a home schooling tax credit equal to 25 percent of the first $1,000 spent by a taxpayer on tuition and textbooks for each dependent to receive competent private instruction in kindergarten through grade 12. The credit is in lieu of the present tuition tax credit. Competent private instruction is instruction that uses a plan and a course of study in a setting other than a public or accredited private school. This tax credit takes effect upon enactment and applies retroactively beginning with the 2006 tax year to expenditures made on or after January 1, 2006, for school years ending on or after that date. By Boal

HF 2129 - This bill provides for an extension of the period of time for which a school district may receive supplementary weighting for limited English proficient students from the current period of three years to four years. The bill makes a corresponding change to a provision that the school budget review committee may grant supplemental aid or modified allowable growth to a district after expiration of the supplementary weighting time frame. Kaufmann, et. al.

HF 2136 - This bill requires the department of education, in consultation with the department of human services, to conduct a study of the financial and educational relationship between school districts and juvenile facilities administered by the department of human services. The study shall include, but not be limited to, a review of the funding for educational programs provided for children living in a psychiatric unit of a hospital licensed under Code chapter 135B, a psychiatric medical institution for children licensed under Code chapter 135H, an approved or licensed shelter care home, an approved juvenile detention home, or a foster care facility. The recommendations developed shall include but not be limited to the funding structure and source of funding. The department shall submit a report of its findings and recommendations to the chairpersons and ranking members of the joint appropriations subcommittees on education and on health and human services and the chairpersons and ranking members of the standing committees on education by January 1, 2007. By Tjepkes

HF 2138 - 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 Stryuk, Dandekar and Huser

House Study Bills

HSB 560 - This bill relates to the community empowerment initiative.

Code section 28.3, relating to the Iowa empowerment board, is amended to expand the voting membership from 18 to 22 members. Agency director membership is expanded from five to six to include the director of the department of workforce development. The other three are added to the citizen members.

Code section 28.8 is also amended to codify a requirement that approximately 60 percent of school ready children grant funding is required to be committed to family support services and parent education programs targeted to families with newborn and infant children. A similar directive was included in session law enacted in 1999 Iowa Acts, chapter 190.

Code section 28.9, relating to the Iowa empowerment fund and the accounts within that fund, is amended. Current law limits administrative expenditures from school ready children grant funding by community empowerment areas to 3 percent. A further maximum restriction of $60,000 within that limit is deleted. A new community empowerment gifts and grants account is created within the fund under the authority of the department of management. The account is to consist of gift or grant moneys from any source, including the federal government. The moneys in the account are appropriated to the department of management to be used for the purposes for which the moneys were received. Proposed Dep’t of Management Bill

HSB 564 - This bill permits a receiving district to send a school vehicle into the school district of residence to transport a pupil participating in open enrollment to the receiving district. The bill strikes a provision directing the area education agencies to approve all bus routes outside the boundary of the district of the school operating buses, and makes conforming changes. By Tymeson

HSB 589 - This bill extends the repeal of the Iowa early intervention block grant program to July 1, 2007, and amends the program's provisions to require a school district to submit a report to a parent when the parent's child is reading below grade level. The parent must sign and return the report to the school. By Tymeson

HSB 590 - This bill establishes a jump=start grant program for Iowa high school students who, on or after July 1, 2006, receive a diploma from a public high school by the end of their junior year. The students must be residents of Iowa who are admitted and in attendance as a full=time or part=time resident student at an accredited Iowa postsecondary institution. The program is to be administered by the college student aid commission.

The amount of the grant awarded to a full=time student is an amount equal to the state cost per pupil or $5,000, whichever is greater. The amount to a part=time student is prorated. By Tymeson

HSB 591 - This bill establishes statewide proficiency levels and definitions for what students should know and be able to do, for grades four, eight, and 11 in reading, mathematics, and science.

The bill provides that a student is determined proficient in reading, mathematics, or science in grades four, eight, and 11, as appropriate, if the student scores in the 41st percentile or above on the Iowa test of basic skills or the Iowa test of educational development, as appropriate. The bill defines what a student designated proficient can usually, or is able to, do at a minimum. By Tymeson

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