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Legislative Report (Vol. XXV No. 6) February 17, 2006 Allowable Growth, IPERS, Sharing Incentives

February 21, 2006

Allowable Growth

The allowable growth bill remains stalled on the Senate Calendar. Senate Democrats have filed and sponsored an amendment to raise the 4 percent allowable growth to 6 percent. If the bill is taken up and if the 6 percent amendment is passed, Senate Republican Leader Stewart Iverson has the ability to defer on the bill, which would table the discussion indefinitely. Gov. Vilsack continues to express a desire to tie the growth factor to agreement on other education reform measures.


As reported in past reports the Senate agreed to IPERS language, passed it and sent it back to the House. The agreement increases contribution rates for employees and employers by 0.5% a year over the next four years. The rate increase would take effect in FY 2008. The original House bill from last session called for the same changes in rates but was for an eight year period as opposed to the four years under the Senate compromise.

There is speculation that when the bill is debated again in the House that they will try to add a defined contribution option for IPERS covered employees. This is a concept that some House R’s have been pushing for the last several years. The amendment, if introduced will be similar to HSB 512 which does the following:

Establishes an option for employees covered or eligible to be covered under the Iowa public employees' retirement system (IPERS) to elect out of coverage under that system and into a defined contribution plan established by the office of the treasurer effective July 1, 2007.

Membership in the defined contribution plan is established by the bill. The bill provides that a person hired on or after July 1, 2007, in regular service, who is eligible for coverage under IPERS, has the option of electing out of that coverage and electing coverage under a defined contribution plan established by the office of the treasurer. Active members of IPERS in regular service as of July 1, 2007, are given an option for 18 months from July 1, 2007, to transfer to the defined contribution plan.

Sharing Incentives

The Senate education committee passed a bill this week that provides incentives for sharing administrative functions between schools. The AEAs were successful in adding an amendment that allows for the LEA sharing to be with AEAs also. A school with an approved sharing program in place will be able to add from 10-20 students to their count

Senate Files

SF 2221 - This bill extends existing provisions relating to a reduced foundation property tax levy, and to the receipt of supplementary weighting, as reorganization incentives to school districts, and provides new supplementary weighting for school districts which share operational functions with a political subdivision. By Education Committee

Senate Study Bills

SSB 3153 - This bill creates a preschool for four-year-old children program. Proposed Governors Bill

SSB 3170 - This bill directs the department of education and the board of educational examiners to work together to develop a plan to improve the quality of teaching statewide. The department and the board shall review, at a minimum, for inclusion in the plan, measures to identify the inappropriate assignment of instructional duties to teachers; a requirement that subject areas required under the educational standards be taught only by a practitioner who holds a valid license with an endorsement to teach in the subject area; making failure to employ qualified teachers grounds for an on-site visit by an accreditation team. By Connolly

SSB 3176 - This bill eliminates three of the four major elements of the student achievement and teacher quality program, but retains the beginning teacher mentoring and induction program and a number of related provisions. The bill amends the definition of "beginning teacher" to add interns and the definition of "teacher" to clarify that an individual employed by an area education agency is a teacher for purposes of the beginning teacher mentoring and induction program only if the individual directly delivers instruction to students for 50 percent or more of their contracted time. By McKinley

SSB 3183 - This bill relates to efforts to develop public and private partnerships for economic development by implementing through the community empowerment initiative high=quality early care services throughout the state. The term "early care" is defined in Code chapter 28 as the programs, services, support, or other assistance made available to a parent or other person who is involved with addressing the health and educational needs of a child from birth through age five and includes both public and private efforts and formal and informal settings. By Connolly

SSB 3184 - This bill creates a preschool for four-year-old children program. Proposed DE Bill

SSB 3185 - This bill appropriates $5 million to the department of education from the general fund of the state for FY 2006-2007 for an alternative teacher partnership grant program. The program is to be administered by the department for purposes of building partnerships to encourage the development and utilization of alternative teacher preparation and licensure programs in Iowa. The goals of the program are to strengthen the pathways into teaching, support high-quality teacher preparation, meet local demands for teachers, and ensure that schools are provided with teachers who are well-prepared for the realities of the classroom and to work effectively with students. By Lamberti

SSB 3190 - This joint resolution proposes an amendment adding a new Article XIII to the Constitution of the State of Iowa, giving the people of Iowa the right to vote on certain adopted increases of taxes and fees, so that the increases will not take effect unless approved by majority vote at a state general election. By Zieman

House Files

HF 2391 - This bill requires the department of education to convene a working group to review laws, regulations, and policies that limit student participation in extracurricular athletic and nonathletic activities. The working group shall consider options that allow schools to have multiple teams, activities, or participants based on anticipated community support and likely student interest in filling positions for additional teams or participating in additional activities. By Davitt

HF 2396 - 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 district. By Committee on Education

HF 2401 - This bill increases the appropriation from the general fund to the department of education for purposes of the student achievement and teacher quality program for FY 2006-2007 by approximately $60.4 million over the nearly $69.6 million appropriated for FY 2005-2006. By Wendt, et. al.

HF 2416 - This bill is designed to improve the educational environment for teachers and students by providing for a process to ensure that teaching assignments go to appropriately licensed and endorsed teachers, providing for the establishment of fines that the board of educational examiners may impose on teachers, directing the director of the department of education to convene a school accreditation standards task force, and requiring school districts to establish, adopt, and publish a discipline and conduct policy designed to promote responsible behavior by persons on school property and at school functions. By Wendt, et. al.

HF 2417 - This bill modifies the provisions of Code section 257.11, subsection 6, which currently provides that supplementary weighting is not available for classes taught via the Iowa communications network, such that this restriction shall not apply to supplementary weighting for community college=level classes. The bill provides that a pupil attending a class via the network which meets the applicable requirements for classes offered through a sharing agreement between a school district and a community college shall be assigned a weighting of forty-eight hundredths of the percentage of the pupil's school day during which the pupil attends the class via the Iowa communications network. This is the same level of supplementary weighing for which a pupil currently qualifies for nonnetwork classes offered through a sharing agreement between a school district and a community college. By Watts, et. al.

HF 2421 - This bill amends a provision that currently allows school districts to arrange for the transportation of pupils by common carrier rather than by school bus in situations that warrant the substitution. Under the bill, children under 10 years of age could not be transported by common carrier. By T. Taylor

HF 2432 - This bill provides that the board of directors of a school district and a small employer may enter into an agreement with the department of administrative services to offer state group insurance plans to their employees. By Heddens, et. al.

HF 2433 - This bill relates to the recommendations of the institute for tomorrow's workforce and makes appropriations from the general fund of the state for FY 2006-2007 to the department of management for purposes of the institute and for purposes of an educational delivery system commission established under the bill, and to the department of education for FY 2006-2007 and FY 2007-2008 for the student achievement and teacher quality program. By Mascher et. al.

House Study Bills

HSB 691 - This bill establishes a vanguard school grant program to be administered by the department of education for purposes of building and supporting innovative and creative learning communities. Subject to the availability of funding, the department shall award five=year grants to school districts that submit applications and meet the criteria the bill directs the state board of education to adopt by rule. The bill authorizes the state board of education to annually waive or modify a regulatory provision under its or the department's authority for vanguard schools, except with regard to rules relating to civil and human rights, student confidential records, teacher and administrator contracts and discharge, and federal program or funding requirements. Proposed Governors bill

HSB 692 - 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 693 - This bill creates a mathematics and upper=level science teacher shortage area incentive program in the department of education and a mathematics and upper=level science teacher shortage loan repayment program administered by the college student aid commission, establishes an additional supplementary weighting incentive amount for school districts participating in a regional academy that elect to adopt a common school calendar, and provides for supplementary weighting to school districts offering advanced placement courses and examinations. By DE

HSB 694 – Same as SSB 3184. Proposed governor’s bill

HSB 695 - This bill requires school districts to have qualified teacher librarians and guidance counselors, but permits school districts to request a waiver from the department of education, and makes changes to the student achievement and teacher quality program, establishes an administrator quality program, requires the state board of education to adopt Iowa standards for school administrators, and provides for implementation of a beginning administrator mentoring and induction program. The bill adds new elements to the student achievement and teacher quality program, including teacher development programs and evaluation of teachers against the Iowa teaching standards. By DE

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