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Legislative Report (Vol. XXVI No. 9) March 8, 2007

March 9, 2007

Teacher Quality

The Iowa Senate this week passed the teacher quality legislation. The bill SF 277, as passed by the Senate increases the funding for the Student Achievement and Teacher Quality Program by $70.0 million in 2007-08 and $75.0 million in 2008-09. The net effect of the additional appropriation is that the average teacher salary will increase by approximately $4,200 over the next two years.

AEA professional, non-management staff who are licensed and/or covered by a statement of professional recognition are now eligible to receive the TQ salary funding. AEA staff will get an average increase of $3,600 in 2007-08 and $5,400 in 2008-09. We have no reason to believe at this point that the House will make any changes in the eligibility section of the bill. If this language holds, as we expect it to, it marks a major victory in terms of recognizing the value of the AEA employee in the k-12 system.

The bill also:

  • Creates an Administrator Quality Program that is similar to the teacher quality program with administrator standards, comprehensive evaluations, mentoring, and individual professional development plans.
  • Requires each school district to have a licensed guidance counselor and nurse.
  • Clarifies that evaluation and grievance procedures, other than beginning teacher, must be negotiated.
  • Requires school districts and AEAs to create Teacher Quality Committees. The committees must have equal representation between administrators appointed by the school board and teacher appointed by the local association. The committees are required to:
    • Monitor the implementation of the Student Achievement and Teacher Quality Program.
    • Monitor evaluation requirements to ensure evaluations are conducted in a fair and consistent manner.
    • Determine the use and distribution of the professional development funds based on district, attendance center, and individual professional development plans. They must consider the professional development model developed by the Department of Education.
    • Monitor the professional development to ensure it is meeting district, attendance center, and individual professional development plans.
  • Requires each attendance center to develop a professional development plan.
  • Increases the minimum salaries by $1,000 to $26,500 for beginning teacher, 27,500 for third-year career teachers, and $28,500 for all other career teachers. This is estimated to cost $2.4 million.
  • Extends the date of the mutual agreement for salary distribution to September 15. If mutual agreement is not met, the funds are divided equally to all teachers whose compensation is above the minimums.
  • Starting in the 2008-09 school year, the salary distribution must be negotiated. Any increases in the salary distribution over the previous year will still be mutually agreed.
  • Improves the performance review so a teacher’s implementation of the individual professional development plan is subject to the level of funding.
  • Improves the intensive assistance program by specifying that a teacher not meeting the standards and criteria must be given an opportunity to participate in an intensive assistance program before adverse consequences.
  • Changes market factor teacher salaries to incentives to expand the use of the funds. Requires the teacher quality committee to make recommendations of the use of the incentives.
    Allocates $1.5 million for national board certificate awards. This is a decrease of approximately $750,000 with the intent of phasing out the awards.
  • Allocates $20.0 million for quality professional development. The funds are distributed to school districts based on teacher per diem. Eliminates the requirement for an additional day. Instead, school districts have the flexibility to use the funds for additional time plus quality content with a focus on the attendance center and individual teacher needs. The teacher quality committee will recommend the use and distribution of the professional development fund. The funds are to create quality professional development opportunities and can be used for additional salaries for time beyond the normal negotiated agreement, pay for substitute teachers, materials, content speakers, and cost related to implementing individual professional development plans. The use of the funds must be balanced between district attendance center, and individual professional development plans.
  • Allocates $1.8 million to establish teacher development academies for teams of teachers and instructional leaders and includes follow-up training and coaching.

Senate Education Committee Passes Incentives Bill

The Senate Education Committee passed SSB 1117 (now SF 447) which deals with incentives for school reorganization and sharing. 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.

As the House committee did previously an 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 management functions.

Language was also added calling for a DE/AEA study of current sharing involving LEAs and potential other sharing opportunities. More on this next.

Sharing Study

During the 2005 session then Governor Vilsack created efficiency committees to make suggestions for various areas of government. One of the committees dealing with educational efficiency recommended at that time that each AEA region meet with LEAs and other stakeholders to examine current sharing programs and to explore other sharing opportunities for the future. The recommendation was prepared in bill form but never acted upon. Language of a similar vein was added to the Senate version of the incentives bill. It does the following:

  • Not later than September 15, 2007, the DE shall, in consultation with AEAs and other stakeholders, develop a process to facilitate discussion between schools to increase student achievement through an identification of sharing and efficiency efforts. The process is intended to promote a reduction in the costs of operation functions.
  • The DE will receive an appropriation to hire staff members to coordinate and facilitate the process listed above.
  • By January 15, 2008, each AEA shall submit a plan to the department which identifies the existing, new or expanded opportunities for school district sharing.
  • The DE will compile the studies and submit to the General Assembly by March 15, 2008.

Senate Passes Fair Share Legislation

The Senate on Thursday evening approved ‘‘fair share’’ legislation that would allow contract negotiations to include a fee for non-union workers for benefits they gained via collective bargaining. The proposal affects public employment but not private-sector businesses.

The bill would add union service fees to the list of items that unions representing public employees can negotiate with state officials, school boards, city councils, county boards of supervisors and other local governments. Fees could be assessed to nonunion workers for union costs pertaining to such things as collective bargaining and representation of employees in a grievance matter.

However, fees could not be charged for social events, union activities involving political campaigns or voter turnout efforts, lobbying on matters other than a collective bargaining agreement, and support for charities, religious groups and other "ideological causes."

Other

Other bills that passed out of committee this week included:

  • HSB 240 - Implementation of core content standards and a model core curriculum.
  • HSB 250 - Increasing the state sales and use tax rates and using revenues to replace the local option sales and services tax for school infrastructure purposes. (SILO)
  • SSB 1276 – Same as HSB 240, core standards.
  • SF 398 - Requiring a study by the Department of Education relating to implementation of a statewide student information system.
  • SF 350 - Creating a statewide voluntary preschool program for four-year-old children.
  • HF 6 - Changes Compulsory Education age from sixteen to eighteen.

Senate Files

SF 331 - This bill extends the reading instruction pilot project grant program one additional year. The general assembly appropriated $250,000 for the program in 2006, which will carry over to the 2007-2008 fiscal year for purposes of the program as provided in the Code provision that establishes the program. The bill takes effect upon enactment. By McKinley

SF 332 - This bill requires the board of educational examiners to adopt rules requiring that a person who applies to the board of educational examiners for licensure as a teacher or for an endorsement to teach in a specific subject area must take a praxis II principles of learning and teaching test and a praxis II teaching foundations test, as well as a subject assessment for each endorsement the applicant seeks, unless the applicant provides the board with evidence that the applicant has taken the appropriate praxis II tests and the applicant's scores on the tests meet or exceed the qualifying scores approved by the board. By McKinley

SF 350 - This bill creates a statewide voluntary preschool program for four-year-old children. Formerly SSB 1117

SF 383 - This bill prohibits public school districts from scheduling parent-teacher conferences on the same day as a general election, which is defined in Code section 39.1. By Schoenjahn

SF 392 - This bill allows school districts that receive at-risk program funds to use the funds to pay up to 50 percent of the costs of the school guidance counselors who provide the at-risk services and programs. By Danielson

SF 397 - This bill allows school districts to be compensated for services provided to foreign exchange students by including them in the actual student enrollment count each October. Successor to SSB 1023

SF 398 - This bill requires the department of education to conduct a study regarding the student information systems that are currently in use in the state. Successor to SF 60

SF 447 - This bill makes changes related to incentives for school district reorganization and dissolution and shared operational functions between school districts and political subdivisions. Formerly SSB 1117

SF 468 - This bill directs the state board of education to adopt rules that establish a model core curriculum and core content standards. The bill appropriates $1.5 million from the general fund of the state for fiscal year 2007-2008 to the department of education for implementation of the core content standards and expansion of the model core curriculum. The funds do not revert at the close of the fiscal year but may be used in the subsequent fiscal year for the purposes designated. Formerly SSB 1276

Senate Study Bills

SSB 1293 – Governors proposed education appropriation. Contains funding for 4-year preschool program and for increases in the teacher quality bill. Proposed Governors bill.

House Files

HF 583 - This bill requires that the board of directors of each public school district and the authorities in charge of each accredited nonpublic school shall develop rules that prohibit a person from using a cigarette or a tobacco product, as these terms are defined in Code section 453A.1, at any time while in a school building or other school facility under the control of the school district or accredited nonpublic school, or a facility that is owned, rented, or leased by the school district or accredited nonpublic school; on grounds that are owned, rented, or leased by the school district or accredited nonpublic school, including athletic fields and parking lots; in a vehicle owned, leased, rented, contracted for, or controlled by the school district or accredited nonpublic school; and at school=sponsored or school=related indoor events that are held off-campus. By Abdul-Samad, et. al.

HF 611 – 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 research-based information. The director of the department of education is directed to make available scientifically based research studies in the area of health and wellness literacy to school districts and accredited nonpublic schools. In the materials the director must develop and make available to school districts, the director must include materials about the dangers of sexual exploitation by means of the internet. Formerly HSB 87

HF 615 – 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. Formerly HSB 220 -

HF 633 - This bill appropriates $30 million from the general fund of the state to the department of education for the 2007-2008 school year for grants to school districts for purposes of implementing middle school remedial education programs and support services for students enrolled in grades seven through nine. By Heaton

HF 636 - This bill changes the method for calculating and awarding to school districts adjusted additional property tax levy aid under Code section 257.4. By Tymeson, et. al.

HF 640 - This bill appropriates $150,000 from the general fund of the state for fiscal year 2007-2008 to the department of education for the development and implementation of professional development initiatives with area education agencies and local school districts focused on at-risk youth issues and program development for at-risk youth and alternative schools, and for two full-time equivalent positions. By Ford

HF 670 - This bill provides reporting requirements, requires that he director of the department of education establish and maintain a process and procedure to compare a practitioner's teaching assignment with the license and endorsements held by the practitioner, directs the director of the department of education to convene a school accreditation standards task force, and requires school districts to review and modify existing policies related to student discipline and conduct designed to promote responsible behavior by persons on school property and at school functions. The bill appropriates $200,000 from the general fund of the state to the department of education to convene the task force. Successor to HSB 88

HF 685 - This bill requires the board of directors of public school districts and the authorities in charge of nonpublic schools to coordinate with local law enforcement agencies to assess the security of all school facilities. By Lukan

HF 696 - This bill provides for certification of the performance of an eye examination by a parent or guardian the year that a child enrolls in kindergarten. By Staed

HF 714 - 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's video services receive supplemental funding of one-twentieth of the percentage of a student's school day spent in the virtual class. Successor to HSB 69

HF 731 - This bill appropriates $62,500 from the general fund of the state to the department of education for the fiscal period beginning January 1, 2007, and ending June 30, 2008, for five pilot projects in teacher training in the reconstruction of reading recovery in Spanish program, plus books and materials for teaching, travel expenses, and professional development. Each pilot project shall receive $12,500. The bill makes the appropriation effective upon enactment and retroactively applicable to January 1, 2007. By Kaufmann, et.al.

House Study Bills

HSB 240 - This bill directs the state board of education to adopt rules that establish a model core curriculum and core content standards. The bill appropriates $1.5 million from the general fund of the state for fiscal year 2007-2008 to the department of education for implementation of the core content standards and expansion of the model core curriculum. The funds do not revert at the close of the fiscal year but may be used in the subsequent fiscal year for the purposes designated. By Wendt

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