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Legislative Report (Vol. XXV No. 8) March 3, 2006 Funnel Week Dominated by Committee Work

March 6, 2006

As written in the last report this week marked the first funnel date of the session. All bills, with the exception of appropriation and tax bills must have been out of the committee or origin by close of business this week to remain eligible. The next funnel date is March 24th when all bills must be out of the committee of the opposite house. Most of next week should be devoted to floor debate. The following bills of interest were passed out of committee.

Senate Education Committee Passed Bills

SF 2320 IOWA STUDIES - Requires UNI to establishes an “Iowa Studies” professional development plan, in cooperation with the community colleges and the AEAs, to develop curriculum and materials to help Iowa teachers teach about Iowa.

SF 2317 IOWA SCHOLARS - Creates an Iowa scholar program to award certificates of recognition to high school graduates with a minimum GPA of 3.5 and a composite score of at least 27 on the ACT, or an equivalent score on another test.

SF 2177 SUBSTITUTE BOARD MEMBERS - Exempts a school board member from provisions which would keep the member from serving as a substitute teacher.

SF 2310 BEE FEES - Allows the Board of Educational Examiners, for purposes of board activities, to roll over up to 15% of the total fees to the next fiscal year.

SF 2311 PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT - This bill directs the department of education to conduct a study of successful parental involvement programs used byschool districts within the state and nationally.

SF 406 NO BULLYING POLICIES - Requires school boards to adopt and annually review a policy prohibiting bullying and harassment of students.

House Education Committee Passed Bills

HSB 524 GRADUATION RATES - Requires schools to report annually to the DOE and to communities on graduation and dropout rates, equivalency rates, and on the number of students who are not proficient in math, science when they graduate. Requires the use of federal definitions.

HSB 537 KINDERGARTEN AGE - Allows a child who is 5 after September 15 to be admitted to kindergarten if the child demonstrates sufficient ability to benefit from kindergarten work.

HSB 539 PROFICIENCY & GRADE EQUIVALENCY - Requires the schools to report to parents on the proficiency level and grade equivalence that their child achieves.

HSB 591 STATEWIDE PROFICIENCY LEVELS - Establishes statewide proficiency levels for grades four, eight, and 11 in reading, mathematics, and science. Deems a student proficient if the student scores in the 41st percentile on an appropriate test.

HSB 600 PROPRIETARY TUITION GRANTS - Creates the Iowa proprietary tuition grant program for students attending for-profit, proprietary schools. Sets standards for schools where the grants can be used, including that the school be accredited by the North Central association and that the school provide a matching grant. Requires annual reports from the schools, and requires that the school promote equal opportunity, and meet other requirements that private schools must meet for the Iowa grant program. Limits the time for aid to 8 semesters for full-time students and 16 semesters for part-time students.

HSB 726 SCHOOL REORGANIZATION INCENTIVES - Authorizes state aid incentives and supplementary weighting incentives for school districts reorganizing between 2006 and 2009.

HSB 734 AP REIMBURSEMENT - Requires schools to submit an estimate in September to the DOE on the number of students who will take the AP test. Authorizes parents to be reimbursed for 1/2 of the AP fee.

HSB 735 BEE MATTERS - Requires the BEE to adopt rules that require a background check of a license applicant by the DCI, and requires the board to review the abuse registries. Strikes the 180 day timeline for the BEE to resolve disciplinary complaints about teachers. Gives the Board 120 days to investigate a complaint and determine probable cause. Allows a designee of the director of the DOE to serve on the BEE, rather than the director. Allows reports on administrative rules to the Education budget subcommittees every 3 years instead of annually.

HF 2048 SCHOOL REORGANIZATION - Establishes procedures for a landowner to join a contiguous school district if the land is in a district that is reorganizing or dissolving.

HF 2269 IOWA STUDIES - Establishes the legislature’s findings of a need for students to have an appreciation for the state through the study of the state’s history, government, and record of civic activities and contributions. Requires DCA to develop curriculum and materials to provide teachers with effective ways to infuse Iowa studies into secondary school curriculum and to establish a committee to inform schools of the plan and create partnerships to further the plan. Directs the committee to submit annual status reports of the plan and submit a final report on January 15, 2010 to the legislature. Repeals on July 1, 2010.

HSB 739 TEACHER SALARIES - Makes a standing appropriation of $3 million for a $1,000 supplement for teachers who teach two math or science course in high school. Requires schools to raise the salary for beginning teachers by $2,500, unless the minimum salary exceeds $29,000. Requires the difference between a beginning teacher salary and a minimum career teacher salary be $3,000, unless the minimum career teacher salary is $31,000.

HSB758 STATE STANDARDS - Would create a task force to assess whether Iowa should adopt state educational standards . . .

HSB725 SCHOOL HOURS - Would convert the school year requirement from one based on days (180) to one based on hours of instructional time (990 hours for grades one through six, 1080 hours for grades seven through twelve). Although this legislation may have some practical difficulties, it is intended to discourage classroom disruptions for noninstructional purposes

HSB 590 IOWA JUMP START PROGRAM - Creates the Iowa Jump Start program. Allows an Iowa student who earns a degree from a public high school by the end of the junior year to earn a grant toward the cost of post-secondary education in Iowa. Makes the grant equal to the state foundation aid or $5,000, whichever is greater. Requires the College Student Aid Commission to administer the program. Requires the DOE to give the Legislature annual estimates on the number of students who will be involved. Contains other provisions.

House State Government Bills Passed

HSB 512 - 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.

House Files

HF 2544 – Formerly HSB 620. This bill updates language in the Code by replacing a requirement that the state board of education adopt rules for the use of telecommunications as an instructional tool with a requirement that the state board adopt rules for the use of educational technology as an instructional tool. The bill defines "educational technology" to mean any course that is delivered primarily through the use of electronic media.

The bill permits the use of educational technology by a school district as the exclusive means to provide instruction from kindergarten through grade 12. However, students in kindergarten through grade eight, and students taking core courses required for graduation must be provided the opportunity to take coursework face=to=face with a teacher. The school district must make information available to parents and students at registration identifying the courses offered exclusively through educational technology. By Education Committee

HF 2583 - This bill increases and modifies the levels and methods of computation of the foundation property tax levy and the regular program foundation base within the school finance formula.

The bill provides that for the budget years beginning July 1, 2006, through July 1, 2010, the regular program foundation base per pupil shall be annually determined by the department of management, in consultation with the legislative services agency and the department of education, in an amount which maintains the proportion of state foundation aid and property taxation on a statewide basis as it existed for the budget year beginning July 1, 2005. By Stryuk

HF 2607 - This bill authorizes school districts to use revenues received from the local option sales and services tax for school infrastructure purposes for the acquisition and construction of wind energy conversion property to be used for school purposes. By Roberts

House Study Bills

HSB 758 - This bill directs the department of education to convene a task force to study the establishment of statewide content and performance standards. By Tymeson

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