SDE: Capitol Update

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2012 Legislative Review

A number of House and Senate bills passed this year by the Oklahoma Legislature and signed into law by Governor Fallin affect education. This newsletter contains highlights of some of the bills. Read the full Legislative Review.

HB 2306 

Among the House and Senate bills passed this year by the Oklahoma Legislature affecting education, House Bill 2306 contains a number of changes for the state and local school boards and school districts.

The bill;
-Removes authority from the State Board of Education to review preliminary plans for new construction and major alterations of public school buildings. 

-Deletes the comprehensive local education plan requirement, for all but those schools identified for school improvement under No Child Left Behind. The bill allows those schools to electronically submit CLEP.

-Amends school board education requirements.

-Specifies that a school board member required to vacate a seat shall be ineligible for reappointment or to run for school board for a period of time set by the statute.

-Requires schools identified as persistently low-achieving, pursuant to ESEA/NCLB, to include alternative education plans in the school improvement plan.

-Amends substitute teacher requirements. Any person employed as a full-time teacher immediately preceding an application for employment as a substitute teacher may not be required to have a criminal check performed as long as the person remains employed for consecutive years at the same school district for which the application has been submitted.

-Deletes the requirement that schools must annually submit RSA plans, unless certain modifications to the plans are made.


Reading Sufficiency Funds

Oklahoma school districts have utilized only 40 percent of Reading Sufficiency funds for Fiscal Year 2012. 

Districts will be able to access the 60 percent in excess dollars this fall. Superintendent Barresi will be requesting a supplemental appropriation next spring for the remainder of FY 13.

HB 2516 

This bill, modifies the Reading Sufficiency Act -- adding kindergartners to the list of students being assessed at the beginning of the year, removing medical referral language and clarifying good cause exemptions and the process for obtaining such an exemption.

The bill also amends the RSA funding allocations formula, removes certain criteria for RSA Summer Reading Academies, and requires students promoted on the basis of a good cause exemption to receive intensive remediation tutoring.

HB 2511 

 This bill removes the limit on screening instruments for use at the beginning of the school year for monitoring progress and measuring reading skills. It also requires the State Board of Education to approve screening instruments, which meet certain criteria.

SB 1816 

This bill creates the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board, appoints the board and assigns duties.

It also designates the State Board of Education to be the sponsor of the charter schools created by the Charter School Board.

In addition, the bill redirects the State Department of Education to spend $33 million previously allocated in the Activities Fund to schools for the purchase of textbooks.