Legislative Update for May 6, 2018

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Legislative Update for 05/06/2018

Shanlyn Seivert

Adjourned sine die! Legislators worked through the day Saturday and the 2018 legislative session concluded late Saturday afternoon. All the bills that passed out of both the House and Senate will now be on their way to the Governor. Since this was the second year of the 87th General Assembly, bills that did not make it through this legislative session will need to start as a new bill next session.

Earlier in the week, HF 2496 was substituted for SF 2415, which is the Education Appropriations bill. In addition to the link to the bill, I’ve provided a link to the Notes on Bills and Amendments (NOBA), which provides explanations for the designated appropriations. I outlined the highlights of the bill in my last legislative update, and have provided the link at the end of this update.

SF 2415 passed in both chambers and is on its way to the Governor. There were amendments in both chambers. One amendment was proposed by the Department to simplify the disbursement of the statewide assessment funding. Rather than the funding being disbursed to school districts to then pay Iowa Testing Programs, the funds will be sent to the Department to pay Iowa Testing Programs on behalf of school districts to buy down the cost of the statewide assessment. This will eliminate unnecessary administrative steps and burden for districts.

We were anticipating amendments to be included in the Education Appropriations bill modifying certain provisions in SF 475, Education Omnibus. One of those provisions was including one half unit of financial literacy as a graduation requirement. The amendment included in SF 2415 allows the financial literacy credit to count as a half unit of social studies or other combination of coursework required in Iowa Code 256.11. The curriculum to be included in the course is outlined in the bill and it also states if the financial literacy course counts toward a social studies credit, the teacher need not hold a social studies endorsement. The financial literacy requirement is effective July 1, 2019.

The other provision was the online education portion of SF 475, which authorized school districts to provide online courses developed by private providers. The amendment specifies that the online course subject to the offer and teach waiver must be developed either by the school district or accredited nonpublic school staff or through a private provider that meets the standards of the Iowa Online Learning Initiative.

The Department will be providing additional guidance on the financial literacy requirement and the online education provisions outlined in SF 475 and SF 2415 in the coming weeks.

Other bills that are on their way to the Governor.

HF 633 – Operational Sharing Incentives Extension – This bill passed the House last session on a unanimous vote and passed in the Senate unanimously this week with an amendment. The amendment incorporated HF 2406, which allowed a master social worker or an independent licensed social worker to be included in shared operational supplemental weighting. The amendment also designated 2024 as the sunset 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.

HF 2502 - Standing Appropriations - Addresses state and local finances by making appropriations, providing for legal and regulatory matters, concerning taxation, and other miscellaneous items. While there were no reductions identified in this bill that directly affected the Department, this bill continues the $15 million cut to the AEAs which has been done for many years.

With the conclusion of the legislative session, the Department will closely analyze the education bills and determine next steps. Each year the Department sends a letter to school districts outlining the bills that passed this legislative session and how those bills will impact districts. In the coming weeks, we will be finalizing that letter. Also, for the bills that are extensive, the Department will provide additional guidance to assist school districts with next steps and implementation.

If you would like to see the bills that have passed this legislative session, I have attached the link to the Enrolled Bills webpage. The page shows the date the bill passed, when the Governor signed the bill and the effective date. Also, if you are interested in watching the floor debate of a particular bill, I’ve attached the link to the Live Chamber Video, click Bill Archives for either the House or Senate and it will take you to the beginning of the video for that bill. Lastly, if you would like to read any of my previous updates, here is the link to the Department’s Legislative webpage, which includes legislative bill tracking, updates, reports and guidance.  

In the meantime, if you have questions regarding education bills, please feel free to contact me. 

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