Legislative Update for 05/28/2021

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Legislative Update for 05/28/2021

Renee Jerman

The session came to a close on May 19 with the House and Senate adopting HCR12. Below are bills that have been signed by the Governor, passed by both chambers and await action by the Governor, and a list of bills that died. The Governor has 30 days from the day of adjournment to act on final legislation, June 18. 

Bills Signed by the Governor:

SF160 School Instruction Time -  Requires that a brick-and-mortar school district or accredited nonpublic school shall provide an opportunity for a parent or guardian of each student enrolled in the school district or accredited nonpublic school to select full-time in-person instruction for the parent's or guardian's student unless this requirement is explicitly waived in a proclamation of a public health disaster emergency issued by the governor pursuant to section 29C.6 and related to COVID-19.

SF231 Special Minor's Driver’s License - Allows a special minor's driver’s license who resides on a farm or is employed for compensation on a farm in this state, to operate a motor vehicle during the hours of 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. for the purpose of assisting the person's parents, guardians, or employers with farm work or in connection with any farm job, employment, or other farm-related work, including traveling to or from the location of the farm work.

SF260 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. 

SF 269 School Funding - Sets the Supplemental State Aid (SSA) at 2.4 percent. 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 and fiscal note provide more information on the funding.

SF546 Homeschooling Provisions - Changes assessment and reporting deadlines for competent private instruction to include private instruction by a parent, guardian, or legal custodian. Eliminates or reduces various requirements for driver education courses administered by teaching parents, making them easier to complete.  

SF532 Statement of Professional Recognition - Requires the Board of Educational Examiners (BoEE) to adopt rules by August 1, 2021, developed in consultation with the Department, establishing a statement of professional recognition for behavior analysts licensed under Iowa Code chapter 154D. The bill authorizes the board to carry out emergency rulemaking to implement the bill. 

HF228 Diversity Plans - Eliminates implementation of a voluntary diversity plan as a reason to deny open enrollment. March 1 deadlines shall not apply to an application submitted by a parent or guardian for purposes of enrolling the child in a school district for the school year beginning July 1, 2021, and ending June 30, 2022, if a voluntary diversity plan was in effect in the school district of residence during the school year beginning July 1, 2020, and ending June 30, 2021. 

HF308 Senior Year Plus - Provides an alternative option for students to demonstrate their proficiency who are unable to meet the proficiency requirement of the Senior Year Plus program that must otherwise be met prior to enrollment in a postsecondary course through college sharing or concurrent enrollment programs. The bill took effect upon enactment.

HF315  At-Risk Program  - Allows 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.

HF317 Funding for Special Programs, Update Method of Calculation - Aligns to the current automated calculation process used by the Department. Current statute includes an outdated calculation method for calculating funding for special programs, which required a manual calculation by districts. 

HF386 Eliminates the Nonprofit School Organization Report to the Department - 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. Districts have to seek out this information from other entities, as this information is not typically maintained by the districts.

HF388 Child Development Assistance Duplicative Duties - Proposes to delete two duties of the Child Development Coordinating Council that are duplicative of other efforts in the statewide early childhood system and is proposed at the request of the Child Development Coordinating Council. 

HF602 School Activity Accounts - Authorizes the board of directors of a school district to, for the school budget years beginning on July 1, 2020, 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 for which moneys from student-related activities fail to meet the financial needs of the activities. The bill took effect upon enactment and will be repealed on July 1, 2023.  

HF605 English Proficiency Weighting - Divides students with limited English proficiency into intensive and intermediate categories. “Intensive student” means a limited-English-proficient student that, even with support, is not proficient under the state’s English language proficiency standards. “Intermediate student” means a limited-English-proficient student that, either with or without support, approaches being proficient under the state’s English language proficiency standards. Changes the supplementary weighting for both categories (to 0.26 and 0.21, respectively).  

HF675 Substitute Teachers - Requires the Board of Educational Examiners (BoEE) to issue a substitute authorization that allows an individual to substitute in grades prekindergarten through twelve for no more than 10 consecutive days in a 30 day period in one job assignment for a regularly assigned teacher who is absent, except in the driver’s education classroom. Allows a school district administrator to file a written request with the BoEE for an extension of the 10 day limit in one job assignment in a 30 day period on the basis of documented need and benefit to the instructional program.  

HF744 Free Speech - Requires school districts to protect the intellectual freedom of the school district’s students and practitioners and to establish and publicize policies that protect students and faculty from discrimination based on speech.

HF793 Physical Education - Provides that a student who is enrolled in junior reserve officers’ training corps (JROTC) is not required to participate in physical education or physical activities under the state’s educational standards, but shall receive one-eighth unit of physical education credit for each semester (or the equivalent) the student is enrolled in JROTC. 

HF813 Charter School - Establishes a new charter school program in Chapter 256E. 

  • Section I and II lists the purposes for which a charter school shall be established and provides definitions.
  • Section III gives the Department of Education (Department) the duty to monitor the effectiveness of charter schools and implement this chapter. 
  • Sections IV and V create two potential models for establishing a charter school. Section IV is called the School Board-State Board model, and allows a school board to create a founding group to apply to the Iowa State Board of Education to establish and operate a charter school within and as part of a school district. The other model, in Section V, is called the Founding Group-State Board model, which allows a founding group to apply to the State Board for approval to establish and operate a charter school that operates as a new attendance center independently from a public school district.
  • Section VI establishes a charter school contract between the founding group and the State Board setting the academic and operational performance expectations and measures by which the charter school will be evaluated and other rights and duties.
  • Section VII sets out the operating powers and duties of a charter school. 
  • Section VIII specifies how the charter schools shall be funded, including that a student enrolled in the charter school shall be counted for state school foundation purposes in the student’s district of residence. 
  • Section IX requires the State Board to adopt a performance framework that clearly sets forth the academic and operational performance indicators, measures, and metrics that will guide the evaluation of the charter school by the State Board. 
  • Section X addresses oversight, corrective action, contract renewal, and contract revocation. 
  • Section XI outlines the procedures for the closure of a charter school. 
  • Section XII requires that each charter school prepare and file an annual report with the Department. The State Board is also required to prepare and file with the General Assembly a comprehensive report with findings and recommendations relating to the charter school program and whether the charter school program is meeting the goals and purposes of the program.

HF847 Education Practices 

  • Division I requires the State Board of Education to establish a flexible student and school support program. 
  • Division II allows eligible educators to have a tax deduction of up to 500 dollars for certain teacher expenses. 
  • Division III adds several circumstances where a student athlete is eligible to participate immediately in interscholastic athletic competition after participating in open enrollment.
  • Division IV specifies that a school corporation is entrusted with public funds for the purpose of improving student outcomes.
  • Division V adds a work-based learning coordinator and a special education director to the list of positions for which supplementary weighting is available for shared operational funding.
  • Division VII prohibits facial covering in certain situations. 
  • Division IX requires charter schools to abide by Code Chapter 22 relating to the examination of public records. Requires the chief administrator of a charter, who is not licensed as an administrator or a teacher to have Board of Educational Examiners (BOEE) authorization under Code Chapter 272 that will be developed by the BOEE by December 31, 2021. Changes language to clarify that the charter school must notify the student by March 1 of the school year preceding the year of enrollment.

*Legislative bills that have been incorporated into HF847: HF845 Sharing Special Education Director, HF316 Open Enrollment Tuition and HF385 Open Tuition Billing.

Passed both chambers and awaiting action by the Governor:

HF802 Racism or Sexism Training - Prohibits all agencies, governmental entities, governmental subdivisions, and contractors hired by these agencies from giving training, or using contractors that give training, that teaches, advocates, and acts upon. Requires the superintendent of each school district to ensure that any curriculum or mandatory staff or student training does not teach, advocate, act upon, or promote specific defined concepts as outlined in the bill. Provides that discrimination is prohibited, and clarifies that the bill should not be construed to violate first amendment rights.

HF868 - FY 22 Education Appropriations (language is found in H-1526 as the bill is not yet enrolled or in final format). The Department of Education was appropriated increases from the General Fund compared to estimated FY 2021. Some of the increases include: 

  • $544,000 for Early Childhood Iowa (ECI) General Aid (School Ready Grant) for a total of $23,206,799
  • $200,000 for Nonpublic Textbook Services for a total of $852,000
  • $2.0 million for the Iowa Jobs for America's Graduates (iJAG) Program for a total of $4,666,188
  • $250,000 for the Iowa Reading Research Center for a total of $1,550,176
  • $1.1 million for Children's Mental Health Training for a total of $3,183,936
  • $500,000 for Classroom Environment Professional Development 
  • $1.6 million for the Therapeutic Classroom Incentive Fund
  • $500,000 for Therapeutic Classroom Transportation 
  • $6.5 million for General Aid for Community Colleges for a total of $215,158,161

More information can be found in the HF868 Notes on Bills and Amendments (NoBA).

Bills that failed to pass:

SF42 Common Core

SF89 Cursive instruction

SF156  Operational Sharing, Information Technology

SF167 Gender Identity Education

SF168 Nonpublic School Services

SF224 Restroom Bill 

SF258 School Resource Officer Expenses 

SF265 Temporary Retention

SF467 Online Learning

SF545 Learning Recovery Task Force

HF105 Open Enrollment Transportation 

HF222 Teaching History

HF318 Statewide Preschool Program 

HF465 Mandatory School Age

HF532 Qualified Instruction Funding Supplement

HF585 Safe and Sound Program

HF604 Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing

HF771 Bronchodilators

HF795 Seizure Disorders

HF854 Fines for Delayed Rulemaking

HSB243 Student First Scholarships

The 2021 legislative session was the first year of the 89th General Assembly, which means that bills that did not pass this legislative session can be brought up next legislative session. 

Each year the Department sends a letter to school districts outlining the bills that passed during the current legislative session and how those bills will impact districts. In the coming weeks, we will be finalizing that letter. Also, for the bills that are extensive, the Department will provide additional guidance to assist school districts with next steps and implementation.

If you would like to see the bills that have passed this legislative session, I have attached the link to the Enrolled Bills webpage. The page shows the date the bill passed, when the Governor signed the bill, and the effective date. Also, if you are interested in watching the floor debate of a particular bill, I’ve attached the link to the In the Chambers, click Bill Archives for either the House or Senate and it will take you to the beginning of the video for that bill. Lastly, if you would like to read any of my previous updates, here is the link to the Department’s Legislative webpage, which includes legislative bill tracking, updates, reports, and guidance. 

In the meantime, if you have questions regarding education bills, please feel free to contact me.

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