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Legislative Report (Vol. XXVI No. 7) February 23, 2007

February 23, 2007

Teacher Quality

The Senate Education committee passed the Teacher Quality Bill this past week. This legislation, which will provide an additional $70 in teacher salaries, is one Governor Culvers’ priorities for the session. It is intended that it will begin the process of moving the average teacher salaries in Iowa to 25th in the nation.

As part of the process AEAs, working collaboratively with the Iowa State Education Association, were able to win approval of an amendment that added AEA professional, non-management staff to the bill, making them eligible for an increase in salary from a portion of the appropriation.

The bill is expected to be debated by the full senate next week.

Reorganization Incentives

The House Education Committee passed HSB 114 this week. This bill reinstates property tax and whole grade sharing incentives for districts investigating or undergoing reorganization from July 1, 2006, through 2014. It also provides incentives to share administrative functions between LEAs and between LEAs and other entities including AEAs. An AEA sponsored amendment to provide incentives for AEA to AEA sharing of management functions was also adopted during committee deliberations. It provides for funding of between $50,000 and $200,000 for AEA approved shared functions.

Other

  • The Governor signed the 4% growth rate for 2008-09 on Thursday.
  • The House Education Committee passed a 4-year-old preschool bill
  • Sent the “Bullying” Bill to the Governor

Senate Files

SF 211 - This bill directs the department of education, in consultation with the department of public health, to convene a task force to develop nutrition standards for all foods sold on school district and licensed preschool property, including, as appropriate, foods sold in competition with school district and licensed preschool breakfast programs that benefit from funds received under the federal National School Lunch Act and the federal Child Nutrition Act of 1966, 42 U.S.C. 1751-1785. By Bolkcom and Appel

Senate Study Bills

SSB 1261 - This bill requires a school district to employ one school nurse for every 750 students enrolled in the school district or to, at a minimum, employ a nurse on less than a full=time prorated basis if the school district has a total enrollment of less than 750 students. The state board is directed to determine by rule the minimum amount of time a school district with an enrollment of less than 750 students must employ a school nurse. By Connolly

SSB 1269 - This bill allows public entities, through a request for proposals process, to enter into energy performance-based contracts with qualified providers for purposes of undertaking one or more energy conservation measures, facility improvement measures, or facility technology infrastructure upgrades. By Connolly

SSB 1272 - This bill requires school districts and accredited nonpublic schools to provide an articulated sequential guidance program for grades kindergarten through 12. Guidance counselors must be licensed by the board of educational examiners. Accredited nonpublic schools are to be evaluated by the department on a school system basis rather than on an individual school basis. The bill authorizes the school districts and schools to request, and the department to grant, a waiver for the 2007=2008 school year and an extension for the 2008-2009 school year. By Connolly

House Files

HF 436 - This bill makes changes related to incentives for school district reorganization and dissolution and operation of regional academies. The bill continues financial incentives for school districts to reorganize under Code chapter 257 through the school year ending June 30, 2014. The bill leaves intact the reduced uniform levy for school districts that reorganized prior to July 1, 2006, allowing school districts to utilize the incentive if they reorganize until on or before July 1, 2014. By Upmeyer

HF 439 - This bill directs the state board of regents, in consultation with the department of education and the Iowa association of community college presidents, to convene a task force to develop and coordinate a five-year strategic plan to systematically address educational alignment in programs and policies from kindergarten through postsecondary education to provide greater coherence and a stronger sense of connectedness between the K=12, community college, and university systems. By May

HF 440 - This bill provides that the Iowa braille school library at the Iowa braille and sight saving school at Vinton cannot be moved unless certain requirements are met. By Pettingil

HF 441 - This bill adds a one-half unit course in personal finance literacy to the educational program each school district and accredited nonpublic school is required to offer in grades nine through 12, and requires all students to take the course as a condition of graduation. The bill appropriates $5 million from the general fund of the state for FY 2007-2008 to the department of education to cover each school district's cost to offer the course, and provides for distribution of the funds based on the proportion that the grade nine through 12 enrollment of a district bears to the sum of the grade nine through 12 enrollments in all districts. By Pettingil, et. al

HF 453 - This bill appropriates $1 million from the rebuild Iowa infrastructure fund to the department of education for the establishment and implementation of an area education agency infrastructure grant program which provides up to $200,000 to area education agencies for infrastructure purposes. For purposes of the grant program, "infrastructure purposes" includes land acquisition and construction, major renovation and major repair of buildings, all appurtenant structures, utilities, site development, recreational trails, and routine, recurring maintenance or operational expenses or leasing of a building, appurtenant structure, or utility without a lease-purchase agreement. The bill exempts the appropriation from the definition of vertical infrastructure in Code section 8.57, subsection 6, paragraph "c".

The bill provides that area education agencies that have reorganized or are planning to reorganize shall receive top priority in receiving grants. Any unencumbered or unobligated moneys remaining at the end of the fiscal year do not revert but remain available for expenditure during the following fiscal year for purposes of the grant program. By Wendt

HF 458 - This bill prevents students from using open enrollment to transfer to a school district that has been designated as a school district in need of assistance as part of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The bill provides that an exception may be made if the student requesting the transfer has a sibling who is already participating in open enrollment to the school district in need of assistance. By Whitaker

HF 460 - This bill exempts the instructional support property tax levy of a school district from being collected as part of the incremental taxes paid to a municipality for an urban renewal area. The bill applies to taxes due and payable in fiscal years beginning on or after July 1, 2008. By Schueller and Jochum

HF 468 - This bill requires the department of education to conduct a study regarding the student information systems that are currently in use in the state. By Committee on Education

HF 469 - This bill concerns permissible uses of physical plant and equipment levy revenue. The bill provides that revenue may be additionally expended for leasing, or the entrance into an agreement under Code chapter 28E to purchase or lease, to provide transportation equipment. By Committee on Education

HF 472 - This bill provides that the department of education shall create a full-time consultant position to manage funding and program development for at-risk children and youth.

The consultant's duties shall include managing the program development for dropouts and dropout programs; managing the funding process in Code section 257.38; organizing staff development about at-risk programs with area education agencies; providing website development for immediate access to information about at-risk programs, including alternative schools; overseeing the creation and improvement of alternative schools and programs; and coordinating multiagency efforts to serve at-risk populations. By Abdul-Samad

HF 475 - This bill establishes a grant program in the department of education to promote math and science education improvements.

The bill states that the grants will be allocated to area education agencies, community colleges, and school districts to provide regional and cooperative programs for these purposes: teacher training and professional development; supplemental math, science, engineering, and other technology-oriented educational opportunities for students, including low-income, female, and minority students; internships and workplace learning opportunities; and expansion and alignment of curriculum. By Staed, et. al

HF 482 - This bill eliminates the department of education's authority to waive the earliest school start date requirement for school districts. The bill makes a conforming change to section 257.17. By May

House Study Bills

HSB 220 - This bill increases the membership of the board of educational examiners from 11 members to 12 members. The bill eliminates a requirement that the director of the department of education serve as one of the members who is required to be a licensed practitioner. By Wendt

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