Legislative Update for 02/15/2019

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Legislative Update for 02/15/2019

Shanlyn Seivert

The focus of week five was to move the education funding bills through both chambers, which the House and Senate passed HF 306, State School Aid and HF 307, Transportation/Per Pupil Equity, and both bills are on the way to the Governor. HF 306 establishes a 2.06 percent growth rate in school aid, which is an increase of approximately $78 million. HF 307 adds an additional $5 to the state cost per pupil. The additional $5 decreases the difference between the highest and lowest district cost per pupil amounts to $165. The bill continues the transportation equity aid, and the proposed amount for FY20 is $19 million. The vote in the House for HF 307 was 99-1, and for HF 306 the vote was 53-47. In the Senate, the vote for HF 307 was 48-0, and for HF 306 the vote was 35-13. If you would like to see the floor debates, I have included the links at the end of my update. 

HSB 18 - Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE):

  • Extends the SAVE state penny sales tax for school infrastructure through January 1, 2051.
  • Establishes a formula for a new equity transfer percentage to the property tax relief fund.
  • Specifies 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.
  • 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 bill passed the House Education Committee on a 21-2 vote. The companion bill is SF 74, which is eligible for a vote in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

SF 139/HSB 128 both push back the financial literacy graduation requirement to the graduating class of 2022–2023.  Both bills are eligible for debate on the floor.

HF 197 – Classroom Assignments for Siblings –Requires school districts to assign siblings who are deemed by the district to be at the same grade level to the same classroom, if the siblings’ parent or guardian submits a written request to the school administration requesting the assignment. The bill passed subcommittee making it eligible for a vote in the House Education Committee.

SF 206 – Establishment of a Special Education Interim Study Committee - Requires an interim study be completed on special education services for students with individualized education plans. The committee will review state and federal laws and seek input from various stakeholders. The report will include findings and recommendations and will be submitted to the General Assembly and to each member of Iowa’s Congressional Delegation by December 20, 2019. The bill passed in subcommittee with discussion that it may be beneficial to extend the due date for the report. The bill is eligible for a vote in the Senate Education Committee.

HF 274 – Physical Education Reporting – Requires the Department to collect and report data from school districts regarding physical education. Currently, school districts report to the Department physical education enrollment information for high school students. The bill requires additional data to be collected regarding physical education and extends the collection of information to middle and elementary schools. The bill passed subcommittee and is eligible for a vote in the House Education Committee.   

HF 268 - Searchable School Database - Requires the Department of Management (DOM) to develop and make available on the internet a searchable database of school spending information by 2021. It requires schools to report their district certified budget, all state audits or reports of the school district, school districts’ quarterly financial statements and other information that may be specified by the DOM Director. A subcommittee is scheduled for next week on this bill.

The first funnel is scheduled for March 8, so the coming weeks will become increasingly busy with subcommittees and committee work to determine which bills will survive the first funnel and which will not. Also, please find the links to the floor debates for the House on HF 307 here, and HF 306 here and in the Senate HF 307 can be found here and HF 306 here. Until next week...

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