Legislative Update for 02/13/2021

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Legislative Update for 02/13/2021

Renee Jerman

The activity at the Capitol this week was consistent.  Many expressed amazement at the sheer quantity of bills that were being introduced and the pace at which bills were making their way through the legislative process. 

Both the House and Senate moved Supplemental and State School Aid bills.

HF439 Qualified Supplemental Appropriations - Appropriates $30 million to the Department of Management (DOM) to be distributed to schools based on the number of in-person school days held between August 2020 and January 2021 and based on the size of the district. Within 14 days after the effective date, the bill requires schools to certify data to DOM. The bill is effective on enactment. The House Education Committee passed the bill and referred the bill to House Appropriations for committee work.

SF269  State School Aid (SSA) - The Senate passed the bill on a vote of 32 to 17 earlier this week, and sent the bill to the House. The House debated the bill and adopted an amendment. House vote was 56 to 36. Sets state growth rate and the categorical funding rate for schools at 2.4 percent for the school year beginning July 1, 2021. Provides an additional increase of $10 to the FY 2022 regular program state cost per pupil separate from the SSA and appropriated additional funds for transportation equity, property tax replacement payments, and deleted the Senate's $65 per pupil one-time funding for a qualified instructional supplement. The House sent the bill back to the Senate for agreement. 

The Department of Education’s (Department) bills are progressing in the legislative process. I will provide a complete update on the Department’s bills in a later report.

Bills that passed out of subcommittees:

HSB146 Area Education Agency Leases - Raises the threshold for area education agency leases needing Iowa State Board of Education approval to $100,000. Makes changes to the election of presidents by school boards. Removes requirements that school boards report dues paid to the Iowa Association of School Boards to the Department, but requires boards to submit other reports that do contain that information. Changes notice requirements for public hearings and loan agreements for equipment purchases as well as language dealing with the use of funds received from the disposition of school sites, schoolhouses, and other property. Raises the limit of the value of property that may be sold or disposed of by a procedure adopted by the school board. Makes changes to early childhood reporting requirements. 

HF167 Seizure Disorders  - Establishes certain requirements for school districts and accredited nonpublic schools who have students with a seizure disorder enrolled. 

HF222 Teaching History - Prohibits schools from using any United States history curriculum derived from the New York Times 1619 project, or similar curriculum. Reduces school aid for any school that uses such a curriculum. The bill takes effect upon enactment and applies to budgets, state aid payments, and appropriations beginning on or after July 1, 2021.

SF224 Restroom Bill - Requires schools to designate a multi-occupant toilet facility as only to be used by persons of the same biological sex. Prohibits someone of a different biological sex from using a bathroom designated for the other biological sex. Exempts the bill from the provisions of the Iowa Civil Rights Act.

Bills scheduled for subcommittees next week:

HF244 Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children - Requires the Department to appoint an early language development consultant to work with the state school for the deaf, area education agencies, school districts and the early hearing detection and intervention program in the Department of Public Health. Requires the Department to select language developmental milestones from existing standardized norms for purposes of developing a resource for parents. The Department is required to establish and consult with an advisory committee for purposes of soliciting input from experts on the selection of these milestones. Sets the recommendations that the advisory committee shall use in selecting the language developmental milestones. Requires the Department to annually compile a report.

HF150 Special Education Director - Adds special education director to the list of positions eligible for shared operational function weighting for the 2022 - 2025 school years.

HF265 School Activity Costs - Allows schools to transfer funds, as recommended by the superintendent, to fund co-curricular or extracurricular activities to activities that fail to meet the financial needs of the activity. Repealed as of July 1, 2023.

SF270 Sex Abuse Continuing Education - Allows continuing education requirements from the Board of Educational Examiners to include in-service training, awareness and prevention programs for child sex abuse and sexual assault. Requires the Department of Education to develop and make available to school districts materials and resources covering child sexual abuse and child sexual assault awareness and prevention. Requires schools to include age-appropriate instruction in human growth and sex educational development courses.

SF271 Supplemental Amounts - Allows a school to request a modified supplemental amount established by DOM that may exceed the limitation for the school district, but shall not exceed 5 percent for funding for at-risk students, secondary students who attend alternative programs or alternative schools, or returning dropouts and dropout prevention for a school district. Applies to the school budget years beginning July 1, 2022, and after resolution by the board of directors and if approved by the School Budget Review Committee.

There are three weeks remaining until the first funnel arrives March 5. Legislators are working hard to ensure their bills get passed out of a Committee to remain alive. This means there will be several subcommittee meetings and Committee meetings held in the weeks prior to the first funnel. There are several bills that have now reached the House and Senate floor for debate. View all the bills tracked by the Department with the Education Bill Tracking webpage, which provides regular updates during the Iowa legislative session on bills related to education in Iowa. Information about new bills, including names, numbers, and sponsors are provided.

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