Legislative Update for 02/10/2019

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Legislative Update for 02/10/2019

Shanlyn Seivert

Week four of the legislative session is in the rear view mirror, and legislators are now focusing on education funding for week five.

The House Education Committee approved HF 306, State School Aid, on a 12-11 vote, and the Senate Education Committee passed the companion bill SF 172 on a 9-4 vote, both establishing a 2.06 percent growth rate in school aid, which is an increase of approximately $78 million. The Governor’s proposal was a 2.3 percent increase, which equates to approximately $93 million. The bills have moved quickly and are now eligible for debate on the floor. For additional details, I have included the links to the Legislative Services Agency (LSA) fiscal notes for HF 306 LSA Fiscal Note and SF 172 LSA Fiscal Note.

HF 307/SF 171 – Transportation/Per Pupil Equity - Both bills add an additional $5 to the state cost per pupil in the same manner as was done for FY19. The additional $5 decreases the difference between the highest and lowest district cost per pupil amounts to $165. The bills also continue the transportation equity aid that was passed a year ago. The proposed aid for FY20 is $19 million, an increase of nearly $8 million over last year. The bills create an annual appropriation for the transportation equity fund. An amendment was offered in the Senate Education Committee and accepted in the House Appropriations Committee, which requires the Department to conduct a study and report to the General Assembly by December 1, 2020, and every five years thereafter, an analysis of the aid and payments' efficacy as well as recommendations for changes. The intent of the study is to analyze the incurred transportation costs as they impact districts’ with higher than average transportation costs per pupil.  Both bills passed out of their Appropriations Committee and are eligible for debate on the floor.

SF 74/HSB 18– Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE) - Both bills extend the SAVE state penny sales tax for school infrastructure through January 1, 2051. There is a new section which states that an athletic facility infrastructure project, defined as a building or structure that is not physically attached to a student attendance center, will not be authorized until each attendance center within the school district is equipped with secured entrance and exit door systems. The bill also includes a Career Academy Fund which allows a separate and distinct fund to be created where funds are allocated as competitive grants to establish career academies, with preference going to new academies where three or more school districts are working collaboratively, with a maximum grant award of $1 million. The second priority goes to existing academies. SF 74 passed out of the Senate Education Committee on a 14-1 vote, and was referred to Ways and Means. HSB 18 is eligible for a vote in the House Education Committee. For additional details, I've attached the link to SF 74 LSA Fiscal note.

SF 199 – Voluntary Diversity Plans – Strikes the use of voluntary diversity plans as a reason to deny open enrollment. It passed the Senate Education Committee on a party-line vote of 9-6. The bill is now eligible for debate on the floor.  The House companion bill, HF 6 passed a subcommittee and is eligible for a vote in the House Education Committee.

SF 139 – Financial Literacy - Pushes back the financial literacy graduation requirement to the graduating class of 2022–2023.  It passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously and is now eligible for debate on the floor. The House companion bill,  HSB 128, is scheduled for a subcommittee next week. The financial literacy bill that passed last year required a student to complete one-half unit of financial literacy as a high school graduation requirement beginning with the graduating class of 2020 and also specified the topics to be included in the financial literacy curriculum. Both bills this session address the implementation date, and there is conversation that the House may consider addressing the required financial literacy curriculum. More to come on these bills. 

SF 209 – Civics Tests - Requires school districts and accredited nonpublic schools to offer high school students an opportunity to take the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Naturalization Civics Test. The bill passed the Senate Education Committee with a 10-3 vote. There is a companion bill, HSB 129 which is scheduled for a subcommittee next week.

HF 306/307 have been placed on the debate calendar for Monday and SF 171/172 are eligible for debate. To watch floor debates you can click here, which brings you to the “In the Chambers” web-page. On this page you can watch debates live or for your convenience, there is the option of Daily and Bill archives. Until next week…

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