Education Committee Report – Week 13, 2018

SF 475 – Education Omnibus bill from 2017;
SF 2318 – Requires schools to award high school credit for course completion; 
SF 2360Dyslexia task force and report recommendations;
HF 2442 – School sport concussion protocols;
HF 2467 – School lunch shaming prohibition. 



SF 475, as amended by the House, strikes everything after the enacting clause and replaces it with the following:


Division 1: Online Education

  • Eliminates the current online pilot project for two school districts so that any school district can hire a private provider for an online program or develop their own.
  • Eliminates the current cap on students that can open enroll: 18 one-hundredths of 1 percent of statewide enrollment. For 2018, that cap is 873 students. There is a 1 percent cap of the population of individual school districts allowed to open enroll through online learning.
  • Eliminates the one-year waiver schools can receive to participate in online learning.

In addition, any of Iowa’s school districts can now develop an online program or hire a private provider to market their program and recruit students to open enroll to their online program.

An online provider is prohibited from offering or providing directly or indirectly by a school district, school or private provider to the parent or guardian, a rebate for tuition or fees paid or any other dividend or bonus moneys for enrollment of a child in an online learning class.

The “offer and teach” requirements for a school district or accredited nonpublic school will not apply for two specified subjects in the case of any of the following:

  • The school district or school makes every reasonable good faith effort to employ a licensed teacher, but is unable to.
  • Fewer than 10 students typically register for instruction in the specified subject at the school district or school.
  • The department is allowed to waive the offer and teach requirements for one school year to additional subjects for a school district that shows they have made efforts to meet the requirements, but are unable to.


Division 2: Career Technical Education (CTE) Concurrent Enrollment

Currently, concurrent enrollment classes can be courses that supplement, not supplant, high school courses that must be offered. This legislation will allow concurrent enrollment for CTE courses, and not withstands the supplanting language for a high school course. It allows a community college instructor to teach one or more classes in one of the six Career Technical Education (CTE) service areas.


Division 3: Student Health Working Group

The original bill completely removed the health screenings requirement for students to attend school. Instead, as passed by the Senate and under the amendment, a workgroup will be formed to study the issues of dental and vision screenings, blood lead testing and immunizations. Existing health screening requirements remain in place while the work groups develop their recommendations, which are due to the Legislature by December 31, 2018.


Division 4: Open Enrollment Extracurricular Fee

This division is designed to address an online student being allowed to participate in extracurricular activities in their resident district. Under the amendment, if a student participates in curricular or extracurricular activities, the district of residence may deduct up to $200 per activity for up to two activities from the amount provided to the sending district. This includes interscholastic athletics, music and any other activity with a general fund expenditure exceeding $5,000 annually.


Division 5: Biliteracy Seal

The director of the Department of Education must develop and administer a biliteracy seal program to recognize students graduating from high school with demonstrated proficiency in two world languages, one of which must be English. Participation by the school, school district or non-public school is voluntary.


Division 6: Limitation on Department of Education “Guidance”

Requires Department of Education to not issue guidance or rules inconsistent with statutes, or to impose binding obligations. Per the bill, guidance issued by the department is not legally binding.


Division 7: Financial Literacy

A new one-half unit of personal finance literacy is required to graduate. The required curriculum will address:

  • Savings, including an emergency fund
  • Understanding investments
  • Wealth building and college planning
  • Credit cards and pay-day lending
  • Consumer awareness of the power of marketing on buying decisions, including zero-percent interest offers
  • Financial responsibility and money management
  • Insurance, risk management, income and career decisions
  • Different types of insurance coverage
  • Buying, selling and renting advantages and disadvantages relating to real estate
    [4/2: 28-19 (Yes: Republicans, Bowman, Quirmbach; Excused: Dawson, Zumbach; 49 senators seated)]


SF 2318 requires a school district or accredited nonpublic school to award high school credit to any student at any grade level who satisfactorily completes a high school-level unit of instruction. School districts only have to award credit if the credit hours were taken within their district and taught by a certified teacher. A school district will have the authority to deny graduation credit for any course taken outside their school district. The Senate accepted a House amendment that applies to both public and non-public schools. It also provides additional flexibility for a school district to determine if a course meets their educational standards before awarding credit.
[4/2: 47-0 (Excused: Dawson, Zumbach; 49 seated senators)]


SF 2360 creates a dyslexia task force, which will be staffed by the Department of Education. The bill specifies task force membership, directs the task force to submit a report on findings and recommendations for dyslexia by November 15, 2019. The Senate accepted a House amendment that adds a representative of higher education on the task force.
[4/3: 48-0 (Excused: Dawson; 49 senators seated)]


HF 2442 relates to school sport concussion protocols and coaching licensure. The bill requires the Department of Public Health, the Iowa High School Athletic Association and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union to develop training materials and courses on concussions, brain injuries and return-to-play protocols. A coach or contest official must complete the training at least every two years. A student removed from sports participation cannot recommence until they are evaluated by a license health care provider. The bill removes a school’s legal liability for the actions or nonactions of a licensed health care provider at an extracurricular interscholastic activity so long as the provider acts reasonably, in good faith and in the best interest of the student athlete. The Senate passed a largely technical amendment. The bill goes back to the House.
[4/4: 49-0 (49 senators seated)]


HF 2467 prohibits lunch shaming and allows schools to pay for the costs of student lunch/meal debt with a flexibility fund. The bill requires schools to notify parents at least twice a year if the student has five or more unpaid lunches. It also encourages (but does not require) schools to offer students reimbursable lunches unless the parent authorizes withholding lunches from a student. A reimbursable meal cannot be an alternative (like a cold cheese sandwich) because that would identify the student as having school meal debt. The bill prohibits a school from publicly identifying or stigmatizing a student for being delinquent in their meal account. This would include sitting at a separate table, doing chores for food, or wearing a wrist band, hand stamp or other identifying mark. The bill prohibits posting lists of students who cannot pay for lunch and denying the students participation in various school activities. After two years of attempting to collect more than $500 in school lunch debt, the school district may proceed with an income-offset to collect. The bill allows school districts to set up a private fund within their nutrition fund that could accept donations to offset school lunch debt, or use their flexibility fund.

The Senate amended the bill to remove the two-year collections timeframe and $500 reference to meal debt. The amended bill will allow a school to work with the Department of Revenue to collect any amount of unpaid school meal debt though offsets in tax returns, lottery winnings, etc. The amendment strikes the requirement for the Department of Education work with local schools to develop best practices and guidance around lunch alternatives. The amendment makes lunch debt collection through setoffs retroactive to last year.
[4/3: 48-0 (Excused: Dawson; 49 senators seated)]