Legislative Update for 02/19/2021

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Legislative Update for 02/19/2021

Renee Jerman

The activity level this week has been very similar to last week with bills being passed out of subcommittees and full committee in order to stay alive as we move closer to the first funnel.

The Department of Education (Department) sponsored bills are moving forward in the legislative process and are as follows:

  • Senior Year Plus Proficiency Requirements, HF308. This bill was amended and passed by the Senate 48 to 0, and sent back to the House with an amendment.
  • Child Development Assistance Duplication Duties, HF388. This bill passed the House 94 to 0 and is now in the Senate.
  • Programs for At-Risk Children, HF315. Passed both chambers unanimously and has been sent to the Governor for signature.
  • Eliminates the Nonprofit School Organization Report to the Department, HF386. Passed both chambers unanimously and has been sent to the Governor for signature.
  • Funding for Special Programs, Update Method of Calculation, HF317. The House passed 94 to 0 and has been sent to the Senate.

For a description of the Department bills, please refer to an earlier Department legislative update. 

The Legislature moved several school funding bills this week: 

SF 269 School Funding - Sets the Supplemental State Aid (SSA) at 2.4 percent. The Senate concurred with the House amendment, which sends the bill to the Governor. The bill also adds $10 per pupil, provides additional funds necessary for transportation equity and continues the property tax relief payments. Senate floor video from February 17, 2021.

HF 532 Qualified Instruction Funding Supplement - Provides that each public school district shall receive a qualified instruction funding supplement. The supplement amount shall be equal to the percentage of the amount appropriated that is proportionate to the school district’s total in-person instruction days as a share of the statewide total in-person instruction days. Was amended and passed in the House 71 to 26. For further information, please see the Notes on Bills and Amendments (NoBA) for HF532.

Bills that moved out of subcommittee this week:

HF150 Sharing School Resource Officers - Allows schools to transfer funds, as recommended by the superintendent, to fund co-curricular or extracurricular activities to activities that did not meet the financial needs of the activity. 

HF604 Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing - 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 and publish on their website. 

HF602 School Activity Accounts - Authorizes the board of directors of a school district to, for the school budget years beginning on July 1, 2021, and July 1, 2022, transfer money from their general fund to the student activity fund in an amount necessary to fund co-curricular and extracurricular activities provided by the district from March 15, 2020, through June 30, 2022, for which moneys from student-related activities fail to meet the financial needs of the activities. Would take effect upon enactment and be repealed on July 1, 2023. 

HF400 Substitute Teachers - Allows a person with an AA degree or the completion of not more than 60 undergraduate credit hours of college to be a substitute teacher in prekindergarten through twelfth grade for no more than ten consecutive teaching days in one job assignment. 

SF167 Gender Identity Education - Establishes that the curriculum utilized by a school district or accredited nonpublic school in accordance with the state’s educational standards shall not include instruction relating to gender identity in kindergarten through grade six. However, in grades one through six, this prohibition does not apply if the school gets the prior written consent of the student’s parent or guardian. The student can decide to opt out if written consent is not provided. 

SF193 Vaccination Beliefs/Exemptions - Prohibits discrimination against people for their unvaccinated status. The prohibitions cover health care providers, employers, insurers, and schools. The bill contains an exemption from school vaccination requirements for people to invoke if the vaccination conflicts with a parent’s conscientiously held beliefs. 

SF258 School Resource Officer Expenses - Authorizes school districts to raise additional amounts of property tax or income surtax under the instructional support program for certain school resource officer expenses.

SF270 Sex Abuse Contining 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 to develop and make available to school districts materials and resources covering child sexual abuse and sexual assault awareness and prevention. Requires schools to include age-appropriate instruction in human growth and sex educational development courses.

SF271 Modified Supplement Amount - Allows a school to request a modified supplemental amount established by the Department of Management that may exceed the limitation for the school district, but shall not exceed 5 percent of 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.

SSB1182 School Building Demolition Fund - Creates a vacant school building demolition grant program for the demolition of buildings owned by political subdivisions of the state that became vacant before January 1, 2021, and which were at one time used for school purposes but now are no longer needed. 

SSB1205 School First Amendment Rights - Contains various provisions establishing training, prohibitions, and requirements for school districts and public postsecondary educational institutions in the attempt to protect the first amendment rights of students, staff, and faculty. 

Subcommittee scheduled for next week:

SSB1213 Education Violations - Adds an additional ground of removal for local school board members, if the member violates Title VII or any other provision of Iowa law concerning the operation of a school district. Additionally, the bill provides that if a school district provides instruction in violation of Senate File 160 or provides instruction through remote-learning without a proper waiver from the Department, said behavior would be grounds for misconduct for the purposes of a complaint filed against a superintendent. Superintendents can now also be removed if they intentionally violate Title VII or another provision of Iowa law governing the operation of a school district.

We are down to two weeks before the first funnel. Keep in mind when monitoring bills that if a bill has been referred to Appropriations, Ways and Means, Government Oversight or is sponsored by a legislative leader, it is funnel proof. If a bill dies in one of the funnels, it can be resurrected as an amendment to another bill during this legislative session. 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