Legislative Update for 01/22/2021

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Legislative Update for 01/22/2021

Renee Jerman

With the week a day shorter, due to the Martin Luther King holiday, there were several education-related bills that were introduced, but not many subcommittees scheduled for the second week of the legislative session.

There were subcommittees held on the following bills this week:

HF14 Preschool Eligibility - Makes children who turn 5 between March 15 - September 15 eligible for the statewide preschool program and funding if the school enrolls such students. ­­­ Applies to the 2022-23 school year through 2024-25 school years. The bill did not pass subcommittee as they are waiting to review the fiscal note. 

HSB64 Voluntary Diversity Plans - Strikes the implementation of a voluntary diversity plan as a reason for denying open enrollment. Subcommittee recommended passage. Currently, on the House Education full committee agenda for Monday.

HF51 Advanced Education Opportunities - Establishes an Advanced Opportunities Program in the Department of Education (Department) to offer public school students funding and scholarships to earn credits at post-secondary schools. Currently on the House Education full committee agenda for Monday.

There are several bills that are scheduled for a subcommittee next week.  

SSB1064 School Instructional Time - Requires that by the second Monday following the effective date of the bill, schools must offer full-time, in-person learning for the rest of the 2020-21 school year. Requires schools without full-time, in-person learning to notify the parents in the district of this opportunity and give them five days to choose. Sets requirements for instructional time to meet state requirements. Effective on enactment.

SSB1065 Governor’s Education Legislation – Bill divisions are as follows.

Division I - Student First Scholarship Program. Creates an education savings grant program for students called Students First Scholarships for those who attend, or will be entering into Kindergarten, at a school identified as needing comprehensive support and improvement under ESSA.

Division II - Charter School Programs. Establishes a new charter school program that allows for a founding group – defined as a person, a group of persons, or an education service provider – to apply to the State Board of Education to establish a charter school. Local school boards will continue to be able to apply to the State Board for a charter.

Division III - Voluntary Diversity Plans. Eliminates voluntary diversity plans.

Division IV - Education Information, Program Standards, and Funding. Creates a single, statewide student information system to be used by all Iowa school districts, accredited nonpublic schools, and area education agencies (AEAs). 

Establishes a flexible student and school support program to help implement evidence-based practices in innovative ways to enhance student learning, well-being, and postsecondary success.  Replaces the current innovative waiver in 256.11.

Division V - Education Tax Credits and Deductions. Expands the Tuition and Textbook Tax Credit Program.

Division VI - Student Enrollment. Amends methodology for determining actual enrollment each year, including special education student enrollment. 

Instead of counting students once each school year, they will be counted twice each school year on October 1 and April 1.  The counts will be averaged.

Division VII - Open Enrollment. Modifies current open enrollment provisions to create two additional options for late-filed applications based on academic good cause.

  • Students who are at risk of serious academic failure and have not had success with their current school providing adequate supports
  • Students who attend a Priority (failing) school as defined by the Iowa School Performance Profile (ISPP)

Modifies the current authority to allow school districts to send school vehicles into a district of residence if the districts are contiguous, rather than requiring school board approval from both districts.

Removes 90-day ineligibility period for open enrolled students to compete in interscholastic athletics.

Division VIII - School Board Powers and Duties. Creates a new subsection of Iowa Code stating that school boards are entrusted with public funds for the purpose of improving student achievement.

SF73 Reimbursements for Special Education Services - Requires a receiving school district to send the paperwork necessary for Medicaid reimbursement to the district of residence when a student with special education needs transfers to the receiving district.

HF103 Instruction delivery method determined by parent or guardian – Establishes that if a school district or accredited nonpublic school delivers coursework required under the state’s educational standards using both in-person instruction and instruction using an online learning platform, the parent or guardian of the student receiving the instruction may submit a written notification to the school district or accredited nonpublic school specifying which instruction delivery method the school district or accredited nonpublic school shall use to provide the coursework to the student.

Below is a list of the Department bills that have been assigned a number and scheduled to have subcommittee meetings this week. For a description of each bill, please see last week’s legislative update

HSB104 Open Enrollment Tuition Following the Student (Department sponsored, technical code correction bill)

HSB105 Programs for At-Risk Children (Department sponsored, technical code correction bill) 

HSB106 Funding for Special Programs, Update Method of Calculation (Department sponsored, technical code correction bill) 

HSB107 Eliminates the Non-Profit School Organization Report to the Department (Department sponsored bill, technical code correction bill) 

HSB108 Child Development Assistance Duplicative Duties (Department sponsored, technical code correction bill) 

HSB110 Senior Year Plus Proficiency Requirements (Department sponsored bill) 

As bills work their way through the legislative process, the language of any bill can change. With the high number of subcommittees already scheduled for this coming week, it’s looking to be a busy week. Until next week.

Renee Jerman
Legislative Liaison
Iowa Department of Education
Grimes State Office Building
400 E 14th St
Des Moines, IA 50319-0146
Cell: 515-729-0859
Office: 515-281-3399