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Legislative Report (Vol. XXVI No. 3) January 26, 2007

January 26, 2007

Antibullying Bill Passes Education Committees

The Senate and House education committees passed legislation this week to require Iowa school districts to adopt antibullying policies by Sept. 1. The bills establish a minimum standard in schools to shield elementary and secondary school children from conduct based on any actual or perceived characteristic that creates a hostile school environment.

Opponents said they agreed that bullying, harassment or intimidation of anyone by students, school employees or volunteers should not be tolerated, but they objected to an enumerated list that they feared may leave some students overlooked or excluded.

The enumerated traits or characteristics of students that would fall under the policy included sexual orientation, age, color, creed, national origin, race, religion, marital status, sex, gender identity, physical attributes, physical or mental ability or disability, ancestry, political belief, socioeconomic status or familial status.

The proposed legislation includes reporting requirements for violations, remedial actions and protections against retaliation or reprisal toward someone reporting a problem, but carries no specific sanctions.

Other

  • Governor Culver will deliver his budget message this next week.
  • SSB 1021, (now SF 62) a DE “Clean-up” bill passed the Senate Education Committee this past week. The bill has several sections dealing with AEAs, including language that makes clear that all transportation hearings come to the AEA board as the first level of appeal.

Senate Files

SF 43 - This bill requires that the educational program which school districts and accredited nonpublic schools provide include, in the human growth and development areas and the health curriculum or health education unit, age=appropriate and science=based information; permits school districts and accredited nonpublic schools to offer comprehensive sexual health education in kindergarten through grade 12; and requires the director of the department of education to prepare and make available to school districts and accredited nonpublic schools courses of instruction in comprehensive sexual health education, and to set forth standards and criteria for professional development which education institutions may use in preparing practitioners to teach comprehensive sexual health education. By Appel, et. al

SF 46 - This bill directs the boards of directors of school districts to adopt rules that ban the sale of unhealthy individual food items at middle and high school attendance centers during the school day and requires the director of the department of education to assist school districts in this effort by implementing guidelines for minimum nutritional standards. By McCoy

SF 60 - This bill requires the department of education to conduct a study relating to the development of a statewide student information system.

SF 61 - 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 SSB 1048

SF 62 – DE non-controversial bill. Formerly SSB 1021

Senate Study Bills

SSB 1083 - This bill treats virtual shared classes like other types of shared classes that receive supplemental funding by providing that both the school district that provides the class and the instructor and the school district that receives the class over the Iowa communications network receive supplemental funding of one-twentieth of the percentage of a student's school day spent in the virtual class. Proposed Iowa Technology Commission Bill

SSB 1117 - This bill makes changes related to incentives for school district reorganization and dissolution and shared operational functions between school districts and political subdivisions. DE Bill

SSB 1118 - This bill increases appropriations made for FY 2007-2008 and FY 2008-2009 for the student achievement and teacher quality program, requires school districts to have qualified guidance counselors, but permits school districts to request a waiver from the department of education, extends the time period during which a teacher can qualify for an initial reimbursement award for national board for professional teaching standards registration, makes changes to the student achievement and teacher quality program including increasing minimum teacher salaries, establishes an administrator quality program, and requires the state board of education to adopt Iowa standards for school administrators. DE Bill

SSB 1120 - This bill creates a preschool for four-year-old children program. DE Bill

House Files

HF 90 - This bill provides a sales and use tax holiday for the purchase of general school supplies which are intended to be used in the classroom if two conditions are met: the price of each item is less than $20 and the sale takes place on the first Friday and Saturday in August. Tymeson, et. al

HF 119 - This bill requires the board of directors of each school district to adopt a parent and guardian involvement policy. By Tymeson

HF 127 - This bill requires the board of directors of each public school and the authorities in charge of each accredited nonpublic school to cause the pledge of allegiance to be recited at the beginning of each school day. Persons reciting the pledge of allegiance must stand holding their right hand over their heart. A student shall not be compelled against the student's objections, or those of the student's parent or guardian, to recite the pledge, but shall be required to maintain a respectful silence. A nonpublic school is exempted if the requirement conflicts with the school's religious doctrines. By Tymeson

HF 142 - This bill provides for an increase in the regular program foundation base under the state school foundation program. The increase would be gradually phased in over a seven=year period in equal annual increments, from the current foundation base level of 87.5 percent to the level of 100 percent. By Sands, et. al.

HF 145 - This bill requires that students who physically harm another student or a school employee be suspended automatically from school for a minimum of three days. By Tymeson

HF 149 – Antibullying Bill. By Committee on Education

House Study Bills

HSB 33 - This bill concerns members of the Iowa public employees' retirement system (IPERS) who retire and return to employment under IPERS as an employee of the department of education.

The bill eliminates the cap on the amount that an IPERS member who has a bona fide retirement and is under 65 years of age can earn in public employment as an employee of the department of education. Current law provides that an IPERS member receiving a retirement allowance who is under age 65 will have their IPERS retirement allowance reduced by 50 cents for each dollar the member earns in a calendar year in employment covered by IPERS over $30,000. Proposed DE Bill

HSB 38 - This bill relates to a meeting of a governmental body concerning an individual whose appointment, hiring, performance, or discharge is being considered and a public records request concerning an applicant, candidate, or nominee being considered for employment with or appointment by a government body.

The bill makes changes to Code chapter 21, Iowa's open meetings law. Current law allows a governmental body to hold a closed meeting to evaluate the professional competency of an individual whose appointment, hiring, performance, or discharge is being considered at a meeting of a governmental body when necessary to prevent needless and irreparable injury to that individual's reputation and the individual requests a closed session. The bill requires an individual in this situation to request the closed meeting in writing and to state the reason for requesting a closed meeting. Proposed Citizens Aide Bill

HSB 51 - This bill amends various laws relating to workers' compensation. Proposed Workforce Development Bill

HSB 69 – Same as SSB 1083

HSB 87 - This bill requires that the educational program which school districts and accredited nonpublic schools provide include, in the human growth and development areas and the health curriculum or health education unit, age-appropriate and science=based information; permits school districts and accredited nonpublic schools to offer comprehensive sexual health education in kindergarten through grade 12; and requires the director of the department of education to prepare and make available to school districts and accredited nonpublic schools courses of instruction in comprehensive sexual health education, and to set forth standards and criteria for professional development which education institutions may use in preparing practitioners to teach comprehensive sexual health education. By Wendt

HSB 88 - 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

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