Legislative Update for 01/30/2021

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Legislative Update for 01/30/2021

Renee Jerman

The third week of session was a busy week! 

Much movement on the Governor’s Education bill, now SF159. On Thursday, the bill was debated on the Senate floor, amended, and passed out of the Senate 26-21. The amendment was brought forth by Senator Sinclair, which made changes to several sections of the bill. I’ve included the link to the Senate debate video, which outlines the details of the amendment. To view the current language of SF159 as modified on the Senate floor click here. It now moves to the House, where it will start the process as there is not a House companion bill.

The school instruction time bill, SF160, passed both the House 59-39 and the Senate 29-18 on Thursday, and was signed by the Governor on Friday. Here is the link to the Department of Education’s (Department) guidance on the bill. I have included a link to the House debate video and the first and second Senate debate videos. 

Bills that passed in subcommittee this week:

HSB64 Voluntary Diversity Plans - Strikes the implementation of a voluntary diversity plan as a reason for denying open enrollment. 

HSB145  Iowa Reading Research Center (IRRC) Appropriation - Provides a $250,000 appropriation for the IRRC to develop coursework for the Dyslexia Specialist Endorsement. 

HF14 Preschool Eligibility - Makes children who turn five between March 15 - September 15 eligible for the statewide preschool program and funding if the school enrolls such students. Applies to the 2022 through 2025 school years.  

All of the Department’s bills have either passed a subcommittee this week or are scheduled for subcommittee next week. For a list and description of those bills, please see the following:  

HSB104 Open Enrollment Tuition Following the Student - Provides a means for the serving district to bill the resident district for special education services. Adds prekindergarten special education pupils to the list for which notification for open enrollment is needed. 

HSB105 Programs for at-risk Children (technical correction) - Allows area education agencies (AEAs) to provide technical assistance to Shared Visions grantees that are not school districts.  Currently, they are limited to serving only districts. This expands the AEAs' ability to support quality programming and updates antiquated language.

HSB106/SSB1071 Funding for Special Programs (technical correction) - Updates the method of calculation to align with the current automated calculation process used by the Department. 

HSB107 Eliminates the Nonprofit School Organization Report (technical correction) -  Removes the requirement that districts report expenditures made by the school district on behalf of certain nonprofit school organizations to the Department and for the Department to include this information in its Annual Condition of Education Report. This is burdensome to districts as they have to seek out this information from other entities and the information is not typically maintained by the districts.

HSB108/SSB1078 Child Development Coordinating Council Duplicative Duties (technical correction) - Proposes to delete two duties that are duplicative of other efforts in the statewide early childhood system and is proposed at the request of the Child Development Coordinating Council.

HSB109  Open Enrollment Billing - Adds a change in a child’s residence that is not due to a change in family residence, guardianship, or custody proceeding to the list of “good cause” reasons for late filed open enrollment.

HSB110/SSB1077 Senior Year Plus Proficiency Requirement - Requires a student to have demonstrated proficiency in reading, math, and science as evidenced by achievement scores on the latest administration of the statewide assessment. If a student is not proficient in one or more of the content areas, they can demonstrate proficiency through measures of college readiness. 

SSB1073 Duties and Powers of AEA Boards (technical correction) - Increases the dollar threshold for AEA capital projects requiring State Board of Education approval from $25,000 to $70,000.

Other bills that passed subcommittee this week:

SF2 School Administrative Costs - Establishes a limitation on the amount of administrative costs for school districts.

SF42 Common Core - Eliminates references to common core/core curriculum in K-12 education but requires the State Board of Education to adopt high school graduation and academic requirements.

SF89 Cursive instruction - Requires cursive instruction for students enrolled in public elementary schools.

SF103 Seizure Disorders  - Establishes certain requirements for school districts and accredited nonpublic schools who have students with a seizure disorder enrolled. 

Next week is looking to be a very busy week once again for education. Department staff will be attending many subcommittee meetings and I will provide an update next week. Until then, have a great weekend.


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