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Legislative Report (Vol. XXV No. 9) March 10, 2006

March 13, 2006

To Date

As we finish up the ninth week of the current session we are no closer to determining the final outcome of education legislation than we were on day 1. It is an interesting dichotomy. On the one hand you have the GOP led House passing education bills, many of which will most likely be killed in the evenly divided Senate. On the other hand no one can guarantee that they will stay killed due to the negotiations that will take place between the House, Senate and Governor when the session begins to wind down.

At this point we still have no resolution to the question of what the growth factor will be for the 07-08 school year. Any education issue, talked about this year, remain on the table for eventual negotiation purposes. The agreement or non-agreement on these issues will eventually determine how long they will stay in session.

The issue of most importance to the AEAs, that being restoration of past funding reductions will not be determined until they take up what is referred to as the Standings Appropriations Bill. This bill is usually not debated until the last few days of the session. The issue of AEA funding will most likely be part of the whole negotiations process on the final education package.

House Passed Education Bills

The House passed and sent to the Senate the following bills this week:

  • HF 2239 PARENT SCHOOL INVOLVEMENT - Requires the board of directors of each school district to adopt a parent and guardian involvement policy that, at a minimum, does all of the following: ensures that communication between home and school is regular, two=way, and meaningful; promotes and supports parenting skills; recognizes and supports the integral role parents and guardians play in assisting student learning; welcomes parents and guardians in school and seeks their support and assistance; makes parents and guardians full partners in the decisions that affect children and families; and utilizes community collaborations productively and community resources prolifically to strengthen schools, families, and student learning. The school district must publish the policy in the student handbook and on websites maintained by the school district or its attendance centers.
  • HF 2396 EARLY INTERVENTION DEADLINE - Extends the repeal of the Iowa early Intervention block grant program to July 1, 2007. It also requires school districts to submit a report to a parent if the child is reading below grade level and requires the parent to sign and return the report to the school.
  • HF 2346 SCHOOL FINANCIAL INFORMATION - Requires school boards to list all outstanding levies before submitting a levy for voter approval, or before approving a levy. Requires this information to be up on a website. Also requires schools to have a financial report card on its website, or written copies if the district does not have a website, with information on property tax levies, per-pupil funding, teacher salary increases, student enrollment levels and other matters.

AEA Legislative Function

The AEAs will be holding an early morning function on Tuesday of next week to meet with legislators at the capital building. The function is being coordinated by Director of AEA Services Brent Siegrist. All legislators have been invited and we are anticipating a good turnout.

Bills

The following are some of the bills still eligible for debate with their new file numbers. Many bills are given new numbers when they are passed out of committee.

Senate Files

SF 2324 – This bill exempts a school board member who is employed by a school district as a substitute teacher and paid a salary determined under the school district's salary schedule from Code provisions which state that a member of the board of directors of a school corporation shall not have an interest, direct or indirect, in a contract for the performance of services for the director's school corporation, and which state that a board member shall not receive compensation directly from the school board. ( Formerly FF 2177)

SF 2346 - This bill addresses issues relating to driver education, graduated driver licensing, and passenger restraint.

The bill provides several curriculum requirements for inclusion in an approved driver education course. The amount of classroom instruction devoted to substance abuse is increased from four hours to 12 hours, including instruction on the effects of alcohol consumption on driving skills. Classroom instruction must also cover cell phone use and other driver distractions. Laboratory instruction shall include behind=the=wheel instruction in defensive driving and instruction in driving at night, in adverse weather conditions, and on gravel roads. (Formerly SSB 3211)

SF 2354 - This bill provides for the establishment of a student advancement policy for the state.

SF 2366 - 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. (Formerly SF 406)

SF 2369 - 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. (Formerly SF 406)

Senate Study Bills

SSB 3250 - This bill makes various changes relating to property taxation, the school foundation formula, city and county budgets, and urban renewal incremental taxes.

The bill provides for an increase in the foundation property tax imposed under the state school foundation program pursuant to Code section 257.3, from the current level of $5.40 to $8.86 per $1,000 of assessed valuation on all taxable property in a school district. Proposed Ways and Means

House Files

House File 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. (Formerly HSB 726)

House File 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. (Formerly HSB 734)

House File 2619 - A bill for an act relating to high school graduation, dropout, and equivalency reporting requirements. (Formerly HSB 524)

House File 2620 - A bill for an act providing an exception to the age of admission to kindergarten. (Formerly HSB 537)

House File 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. (Formerly HSB 539)

House File 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. (Formerly HSB 591)

House File 2623 -A bill for an act relating to the membership, authority, and duties of the board of educational examiners. (Formerly HSB 735)

House File 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. (Formerly HF 2269)

HF 2656 - This bill expands the criteria the board of directors of an area education agency must consider when reviewing petitions objecting to redrawn school district boundaries and makes an appeal from a decision of an area education agency board or joint area education agency boards subject to appeal to the state board of education. (Formerly SF 2048)

HF 2690 - This bill raises the minimum beginning and career teacher salaries under the student achievement and teacher quality program and provides an allocation of $3.2 million from the moneys appropriated to the department of education for the program for purposes of providing a $1,000 teacher shortage salary supplement for teachers employed by school districts who are assigned by the school district to teach two or more mathematics and science courses in grade 9, 10, 11, or 12. The bill provides a supplemental appropriation of $6.2 million for the 2006-2007 fiscal year from the state general fund to the department for the student achievement and teacher quality program. (Formerly HSB 739)

HF 2699 - This bill establishes a mathematics and science teacher practical experience incentive program to provide a mathematics or science teacher with an opportunity to gain practical work or research experience through on-site employment with a business, industry, university, or state agency. (Formerly HSB 732)

HF 2709 - This bill replaces the current 180-day school calendar, which converts to a required 990 hours of instructional school time at 5.5 hours per day, with a requirement that the school calendar include 990 hours of instructional time for grades 1-6 and 1,080 hours of instructional time for grades 7-12. (Formerly HSB 725)

HF 2710 - This bill directs the department of education to convene a task force to study the establishment of statewide content and performance standards. (Formerly HSB 758)

HF 2715 - 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. (Formerly HSB 590)

HF 2730 - This bill 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 of state effective July 1, 2007. (Formerly HSB 512)

HF 2733 - This bill increases the state sales tax from 5 percent to 6 percent. The increased revenues are deposited into a new secure an advanced vision for education fund to be distributed to all school districts. Those revenues are to replace the local option sales and services tax for school infrastructure purposes. A statewide amount per pupil is computed each fiscal year based upon the estimated amount that would be generated by a 1 percent local sales and services tax, if one was imposed, divided by combined enrollment of all school districts. Each district will receive an amount equal to the amount that it would have received under the formula if the local sales and services tax for school infrastructure was imposed. By Frevert, et. al.

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