Legislative Update for April/14/2018

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Legislative Update for 04/14/2018

Shanlyn SeivertThere were a few education bills that were debated this week and other than that things seemed quiet under the golden dome. There is presumably a great deal of work that is currently being done on the tax plan and the annual budgets. April 17, the official last day of session, is only three short days away, and I don’t think the words sine die (final adjournment) will be heard.  

This week the Governor signed the following bills:

SF 2364 - Security Plans – This bill requires all public and accredited nonpublic schools to develop a high-quality emergency operations plan for the district and individual school buildings. The plan needs to include responses to active shooter scenarios and natural disasters and be completed no later than June 30, 2019. All public and accredited nonpublic schools are also required to determine which school personnel participate in the drill and whether students or local law enforcement agencies are participants in those drills. The drills need to be conducted at least once per year. The bill passed in the House 100-0 and passed in the Senate 47-0.

HF 2441– School District Program Funding Flexibility – The bill includes changes to early intervention, at-risk, and dropout prevention programming categorical funds. The bill states that early intervention funds can be used for general fund purposes. ​At-risk and dropout prevention ​program plans must be approved by local school boards, and ​requests for modified supplemental amount (MSA) will be submitted to and reviewed by the School Budget Review Committee (SBRC) rather than the Department of Education (Department). Administrative staff, psychologists, social workers, mental health counselors, school security personnel costs, and any purpose that directly benefits students in the adopted program are added to the list of specified allowable uses of at-risk and dropout prevention funds. Additionally, the bill removes the five-year limitation on the length of time allowed for a lease of school district property and allows moneys deposited in the childcare fund that exceed the amount necessary to operate the program to be transferred, by board resolution, to the general fund. The bill passed the House 99-0 and passed in the Senate 46-0.

Bills that are on their way to the Governor. 

HF 648 – Technical Corrections to CTE Statute –This bill passed the House last year and was introduced in the Senate this session. The bill amends Iowa Code chapter 258 to provide flexibility in the disbursement of state career and technical education funds to Regional Planning Partnerships (RPP). The bill also modifies an existing allowable use of funds to include certain consumable supplies. The bill passed the House last session on a 98-0 vote. It passed the Senate this week on a 47-0 vote.

HF 2442 – High School Collision Sports – This bill includes the following:

  • The Department of Public Health (DPH), Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA), and Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union (IGHSAU) will work together to develop training materials and courses on concussions and brain injury.
  • Coaches and contest officials must complete the training by July 1, 2019 and then every two years thereafter. Individuals who complete the training need to submit proof of completion to the IHSAA and the IGHSAU.
  • It establishes the definition of extracurricular interscholastic activity as any dance or cheerleading activity or extracurricular interscholastic activity contest, or practice, including sports, dance or cheerleading practice governed by the IHSAA or IGHSAU that is a contact or limited contact activity as identified by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • Beginning July 1, 2018, school districts and nonpublic schools need to provide parents/guardians of students in grades 7-12, a concussion and brain injury information sheet; the student and parent need to sign and return prior to participation.
  • The bill also requires that if a student’s coach, contest official, licensed health care provider or an emergency medical care provider observe signs, symptoms, or behaviors consistent with a concussion or brain injury, a student is to be immediately removed from an extracurricular interscholastic activity.
  • The DPH, IHSAA and IGHSAU are charged with developing return to play protocols, and local school boards need to adopt the protocols by July 1, 2019.
  • Local school boards are charged with developing return to learn plans, which need to be based on guidance from the Brain Injury Association of America, and include the student’s parents and health care provider.
  • Once a student is removed from an extracurricular interscholastic activity due to a concussion, they cannot return to that activity, or start a new extracurricular interscholastic activity, until they receive written approval from a health care professional.
  • The bill also adds liability protections for school districts and accredited nonpublic schools for any claim of injuries or damages if an emergency medical care provider or a licensed health care provider, who was scheduled to be present, but due to unforeseen circumstances was not available, and the school district or accredited nonpublic followed protocol. The unforeseen circumstances that prevented the emergency care provider or licensed health care provider from being present must be documented.

The bill passed in the House 96-2 and passed in the Senate 46-0. This bill has been a work in progress for at least two legislative sessions. There are many legislators and interested parties, who were diligent in making sure the bill made it to the Governor's desk this legislative session.  

The following bills are eligible for debate in the Senate.

HF 2481 – SAVE Extension – The bill was formerly HF 2438. This bill as amended and passed by the House on April 10, extends the SAVE fund from December 31, 2029 to January 1, 2050, increases the amount dedicated to providing property tax relief (foundation base supplement fund), creates a new career academy fund, and includes provisions to address expiration of existing revenue purpose statements. The bill clarifies the funds can be used for school safety and security infrastructure, but specifically excludes personnel and development of safety and security plans (including training). The bill leaves the existing enrollment thresholds for requiring certificates of need. However, it adds the cost-benefit analysis of remodeling, reconstructing, or repairing existing buildings and the benefits and effects of the new construction on student learning to the list of Department considerations. Additionally, the bill provides for additional public engagement for athletic facility infrastructure projects and bonding against anticipated SAVE revenues. The bill passed the House 95-3.

HF 633 – Operational Sharing Incentives Extension – This bill removes the five-year limitation and 2019 deadline for claiming operational function sharing with another political subdivision in the areas of superintendent management, business management, human resource director, transportation director, operations and maintenance director, curriculum director, and/or guidance counselor. Districts and Area Education Agencies would continue generating supplementary weighting up to a maximum of 21 full time employees per year for sharing any of these positions. The bill passed the House in 2017 on a 99-0 vote. 

As the legislative session draws to an end, the Governor will regularly be signing bills. If you would like to see the bills that have been signed by the Governor, you can click here. Also, if you would like to read my previous legislative updates, you can click here.

Shan Seivert
Policy Liaison
Iowa Department of Education
Cell: 515-326-5595
Office: 515-281-3399