SF 139 – Financial literacy graduation requirement delayed
SF 139 extends the requirement that all high school students enrolled public or nonpublic schools take a one-half unit course in personal financial literacy as a condition of graduation through the 2022-2023 graduating class. In 2018, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed a new graduation requirement for a half course in financial literacy. In Code, the Legislature spelled out that the curriculum, at a minimum, cover nine areas of financial literacy as outlined by the Department of Education. When first enacted, the financial literacy requirement for graduation was to go into effect July 1, 2019, for the 2019-20 school year. Because many high school students have their coursework planned out several years in advance, this put current high school students in danger of not completing graduation requirements due to lack of space in their schedules to accommodate another required class.
While there is not a state fiscal impact associated with SF 139, there may still be costs to school districts related to the financial literacy course requirements. The original costs were estimated to be between $1.6 million to $2.2 million annually and were largely based on the probability that school districts would need to hire additional teaching staff. The course requirements were later amended and expanded how the financial literacy coursework could be incorporated into existing classes. The changes are expected to reduce the estimated costs.
[2/18: 48-0 (Excused: Miller-Meeks; Vacant: Danielson)]
SF 140 – Extending allowable driving miles for certain minors
SF 140 allows a student between 14 and 18 years old with a special minor’s driver’s license to drive up to 50 miles each way to and from school and school activities. Previously, a special minor’s driver’s license limits student driving to the hours of 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. over the most direct and accessible route between home and school for classes and extracurricular activities, and for up to 25 miles one way. This bill increases the limit to no more than 50 miles each way. Public school students can drive on a special minor’s licenses within their school district or to participate in extracurricular activities in a bordering school district.
[3/12: 46-3 (No: Celsi, Quirmbach, J. Smith; Vacant: Danielson)]
SF 159 – Setting new teacher prep assessment score requirements
SF 159 authorizes the Department of Education to set the minimum passing scores necessary for a student to successfully complete a practitioner preparation program and receive an initial teaching license. Previously, students must achieve scores above the 25th percentile nationally on certain subject and performance-based assessments.
The bill eliminates the requirement to use the assessment provider recommended scores because of the potential consequences of disqualifying 400 new teachers a year. Instead, the Department will use a comparison of set scores from neighboring states.
The bill also establishes a one-year waiver procedure for students who do not attain the minimum assessment score. This one-year waiver is available for both in-state students and out-of-state teacher prep students who can show proof of a job offer in Iowa. It is only good for a temporary one-year license so that the beginning teacher can re-take the Praxis assessment during that year.
[3/27: 48-0 (Excused: Breitbach, Nunn]
SF 188 – Prohibits regent universities from disallowing the use/carry of stun guns
SF 188 – Public universities and community colleges cannot adopt or enforce any policy that prohibits carrying, transporting or possessing a stun gun, as long as the weapon is not used in the commission of a public offense. However, there is an exception for university stadiums and university hospitals, and the Board of Regents may prohibit felons from carrying a dangerous weapon/stun gun on campus. In 2018, SF 2321 eliminated the requirement for a permit to carry a stun gun (not a Taser), making it permissible for those 18 and older to go armed with a stun gun.
[4/22: 38-11 (No: Bolkcom, Celsi, Giddens, Hogg, Jochum, Mathis, Petersen, Quirmbach, Ragan, J. Smith, Wahls)]
SF 245 – Eligibility and reporting for Skilled Workforce Shortage Tuition Grant
SF 245 contains a technical correction to eliminate the Iowa Workforce Development reference in the Skilled Workforce Shortage Tuition Grant and ensures that students enrolled in programs of study aligned with statewide high-demand jobs continue to qualify for funding. The bill grandfathers in students receiving grants who are enrolled in a program of study that later on is removed from eligibility.
[3/20: 49-0 (Vacant: Danielson)]
SF 246 – Eligibility for All Iowa Opportunity Scholarships
SF 246 strikes the age provisions to ensure all applicants are held to the same eligibility criteria under the All Iowa Opportunity Scholarship. Over the course of the past two years, two new student populations have been granted access to the All Iowa Opportunity Scholarship: House File 642 granted eligible foster care students first priority for funding; and House File 2502 granted students whose parent was a public safety worker killed in the line of duty second priority for funding. The defining language for each of these student populations contains an age threshold that would cause them to lose eligibility prior to receiving the maximum benefit under the program. There is no such age threshold for the general student population.
[3/18: 48-0 (Excused: Dawson; Vacant: Danielson)]
SF 274 – Public forums, speech at universities and community colleges
SF 274 governs public forums, freedom of expression and freedom of association at community colleges and state universities. Regent universities and community colleges must adopt statements protecting speech; the freedom to discuss, assemble and engage in spontaneous expressive activities subject to reasonable time, place and manner restrictions; and public areas of campuses. Protected activities include all forms of peaceful assembly, protests, speeches (including by invited speakers), distribution of literature and circulating petitions. The outdoor areas of campuses must be deemed public forums. Specific areas cannot be deemed free speech zones, and policies cannot otherwise restrict expressive activities to a particular outdoor area of campus.
Institutions cannot deny a student organization any benefit that other student groups receive because they require their leaders to agree with and support the student organization’s beliefs. An aggrieved member of the campus community may bring an action against an institution responsible for a violation of this law and may assert such violation as a defense or counterclaim.
[3/11: 35-11 (No: Bolkcom, Boulton, Celsi, Dotzler, Hogg, Jochum, Mathis, Petersen, Ragan, T. Taylor, Wahls; Excused: J. Smith, Edler, Zaun; Vacant: Danielson)]
SF 319 – Peace officers to teach drivers education
SF 319 allows peace officers or retired peace officers (other than parole officers) to teach the driving portion drivers education (not the classroom portion) without authorization from the Board of Educational Examiners (BOEE). Previously, to be qualified to provide street or highway driving instruction, a person had to be certified by the Department of Transportation and authorized by the BOEE.
Now, peace officers or retired peace officers will not be governed under the BOEE’s professional ethics.
[3/12: 49-0 (Vacant: Danielson)]
SF 394 – Online classes to count for required course offerings
SF 394 permits public school districts and accredited nonpublic schools to offer online classes to meet up to two “offer and teach” course requirements. Schools can use Iowa Learning Online (ILO) or offer such a course through any online platform that meets standards specified under the Online School Code chapter and is approved by the Department of Education.
Previously, Iowa Code allowed up to two “offer and teach” requirements to be waived by the Department of Education if a school district or accredited nonpublic school is unable to employ an appropriately licensed teacher for the specified course, or too few students typically enroll in the specified course.
Previously, the specified course had to be provided by the ILO. Now, courses can be offered through a private provider that meets Iowa teacher and curriculum standards. Schools must offer these classes either in person or online and that two or more schools could go into a partnership to offer online options.
[4/22: 49-0 (Excused: Segebart)]
SF 603 – Funding for dual enrollment, allowing it to replace required courses
SF 603 has three main provisions and is estimated to cost between $1 million and $3 million. It also requires $108,000 for a new FTE at Iowa Department of Education.
First, SF 603 increases supplementary weighting for liberal arts concurrent/dual enrollment from .46 to .50.
Second, the bill allows concurrent enrollment programs to supplant, rather than supplement, two high school courses currently required to be “offered and taught” under the state’s educational standards. The bill allows one of the required science or math units to be taught under dual enrollment if the number of pupils enrolled exceeds five and the school district’s total enrollment does not exceed 600 pupils. Public schools with more than 600 students may use college classes to count for one existing “offer and teach” requirement for science or math, but they will not receive additional/weighted funding. This is estimated to increase the school aid amount by $2 million.
Before schools can use the program, they must show a “good faith effort” to hire a certified high school teacher for the courses. Additionally, the bill adds requirements before a high school course can be supplanted:
- Enrollment of the unit must exceed five students.
- The unit must be offered during the regular school day.
- The unit is made accessible by the school district to all eligible students.
The bill expands the Chapter 709 sexual exploitation language to provide additional protects for high school students when taking community colleges courses. Community college instructors previously were not considered school employees for purposes of sexual misconduct/assault on a minor by a school employee. This closes that loophole.
Third, the bill provides new state funding to pay for concurrent community college enrollment of private school students. Like new student population thresholds for public schools, accredited private schools can use concurrent enrollment to supplant one science or math course. They can get “extra funding” if they have fewer than 200 students. If a nonpublic school has more than 200 enrolled students, they can still use community colleges to cover offer and teach requirements, but no extra/weighted funding is provided. This provision has an appropriation of $1 million in the Higher Education budget. If the nonpublic schools exceed this, funding will be pro-rated to the community colleges.
[4/26: 48-0 (Excused: Lykam, T. Taylor)]
HF 306 – FY20 state supplemental aid at 2.06 percent
HF 306 is the FY20 state supplemental aid or basic school funding for the 2019-20 school year.
General State Aid: HF 306 establishes a total cost per pupil of $6,875; an increase of $139 per pupil over last year. The 2.06 percent increase will cost the state $78.6 million more than last year. This includes a $22.5 million cut to the Area Education Agencies in the Standings bill. If there was no additional cut to AEAs, 2.06 percent would provide an increase of $93.6 million.
Categorical State Aid: The FY20 allowable growth rate for each of the State Categorical Supplements (Teacher Leadership and Compensation; Teacher Salary Supplement; and Professional Development and Early Intervention) totals $537.9 million, an increase of $10.7 million.
- Teacher Salary Supplement: $304.9 million (increase of $6 million)
- Professional Development Supplement: $34.6 million (increase of $680,000)
- Early Intervention: $35.6 million (increase of $700,000)
- Teacher Leadership Supplement: $162.7 million (increase of $3.3 million)
Budget Guarantee: This is the amount made up entirely of local property taxes to guarantee a school district receives 101 percent of the previous year’s funding level. It only occurs when a district’s enrollment decline is greater than the basic state funding percentage increase. It’s estimated that 117 districts will be on budget guarantee under 2.06 percent.
Property Taxes: Since 2013, the Legislature makes a determination on whether it will pay for the incremental increase in property taxes associated with the percentage growth for schools. The total funding for this effort is now $62.1 million, an increase of $10 million over last year. This is not new money for schools, just shifting dollars from local property taxes to state funding.
[2/13: 35-13, party-line (Bisignano, Danielson, Kinney, Mathis voting “yes” with Republicans; Excused: Jochum, Nunn)]
HF 307 – Transportation and DCPP Equity Funding
HF 307 contains two funding provisions for school districts: transportation and District Cost Per Pupil. First, the bill establishes the Transportation Equity Fund created in 2018 as a permanent Categorical fund, subject to Categorical Supplemental State Aid (SSA) increases. It also appropriates $19 million into the fund for FY20. This is an increase of $7.8 million over FY19. One-hundred-ninety districts will receive transportation aid, up from 136 in FY19 (54 increase).
Second, the bill adds $5 to the State Cost Per Pupil (SCPP) for those districts that have a District Cost Per Pupil (DCPP) equal to the SCPP. This effectively narrows the gap between the highest and lowest DCPP districts from $170 to $165. This takes the SCPP from $6875 to $6880, a $2.9 million increase in the school funding formula. One-hundred-seventy-nine districts will receive some funding.
[2/13: 48-0 (Excused: Jochum, Nunn)]
HF 546 – SAVE extension, property tax reduction payments
HF 546 extends the 6% sales tax rate to January 1, 2051, as well as the allocation to the SAVE fund. The sales tax rate of 6% was to be reduced to 5% on January 1, 2030, and Code chapter 423F, along with other corresponding provisions, would be repealed on December 31, 2029. This sunset is extended because schools need to use their SAVE fund dollars to secure 20-year bonds, which go beyond the program.
HF 546 increases property tax relief in two main ways. The bill increases the amount in the Property Tax Equity Relief fund (PTER) from a 2.1% SAVE allocation to 30% total, assuming there is at least 2% growth in sales tax receipts after 2020. The increase in distribution grows by 1% every year to the 30% max. A new Foundation Base Supplement Fund (FBSF) will supplement the other property tax relief programs by providing property tax relief to all districts by buying up the school foundation aid level of 87.5%.
Other provisions in the bill include:
- Career Academy Fund Grant: The bill creates a Career Academy Fund. In FY20, the SAVE fund would transfer $1 million to the Career Academy Fund. Subsequent transfers will be the equivalent of the prior year’s transfer, plus 0.5% of the sales tax growth in the fund, if the growth rate is at or exceeds 2.5%. The amount to be transferred is capped at $5 million per fiscal year. A single grant cannot exceed $1 million to a school district. The grants would go toward infrastructure and equipment and to further the goals of establishing and operating the center.
- Revenue Purpose Statements: Existing statements expire on January 2031 and require school boards to seek voter approval for new revenue purpose statements (RPS). The statements must include that failure to approve the RPS will result in those funds being used for property tax reduction.
- Bonding: Previous law authorized a school district to anticipate its share of SAVE fund revenues by issuing bonds without voter approval. Under the bill, they must hold a public hearing on the project and how it will be funded. The public must be notified at least 10 days in advance of the hearing. Voters have a 14-day window following the public hearing to petition for a special election. Petitions require the signatures of 100 eligible voters or 30% of the voters in the last regular school election. The bond issuance requirements are tied to the July 1, 2019 cut off and not the timing of the district’s RPS.
- Athletic Facilities: Puts in place enhanced public engagement processes surrounding the use of SAVE funds for the construction of athletic facilities.
- School Safety – Legislative Intent: SAVE funds are prioritized for school safety and security infrastructure, before sports facilities. This would include safe rooms, remote entry technology and equipment, security camera systems, and communication systems with access to fire and police frequencies.
- Certificate of Need Threshold and Cost Benefit Analysis: Currently, a school district with a certified enrollment of fewer than 250 pupils must apply to the Department of Education for a certificate of need before the school district can expend supplemental school infrastructure monies. The criteria in the bill is modified to include the cost-benefit analysis of remodeling, reconstructing or repairing existing buildings versus new construction and consideration of the benefit of the new construction on student learning.
[4/24: 48-2 (No: Chapman, Zaun)]
HF 596 – Whole grade sharing incentives extension
HF 596 extends the state’s school district reorganization incentives that are set to expire at the end of FY20. Previously, school districts that participated in whole grade sharing were eligible for supplementary weighting for three years. If the school districts reorganize, they may be eligible to receive supplementary weighting for six years. In addition to supplementary weighting, school districts that reorganize may be eligible for a uniform levy rate reduction for three years. HF 596 extends these reorganization provisions authorized on or before July 1, 2019, to July 1, 2024. State aid costs associated with each of these supplementary weightings vary due to the size and number of districts that are eligible to receive supplementary weighting. In recent years, the minimum total state aid generated from whole grade sharing and reorganization incentives was $2.9 million and the maximum was $5.6 million.
HF 598 – Sibling classroom placements
HF 598 allows a parent or guardian of siblings in K-5 to request that their children be placed in the same classroom or different classrooms if they are in the same grade. Siblings that may fall under this bill would be twins, triplets or other multiples. It could also apply to foster kid, children from blended families, or children of different ages who are in the same grade. Exceptions may be made if the classroom teacher and parents determine that the siblings’ placement is “disruptive to the class.” The school district is not required to place siblings in separate classrooms if the request would require the school district to add an additional class at the siblings’ grade level.
[4/16: 44-5 (No: Celsi, Giddens, Hogg, J. Smith, R. Taylor; Excused: Shipley)]
HF 609 – Legalizing act for Bennett CSD
HF 609 legalizes the action of the Bennett Community School District to participate in an instructional support program, notwithstanding that the school district did not wait the required 28 days before certifying its board’s action to the Department of Management.
[4/26: 48-0 (Excused: Lykam, T. Taylor)]
HF 637 – Reporting timeframe to BOEE
HF 637 requires reporting of misconduct of school employees to the Board of Educational Examiners within 30 days. School districts must report any action taken against a licensed employee for misconduct, including soliciting or consummating a romantic relationship with student; falsifying grades or test scores; using public property for personal use; or being at school or school activities in possession or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Reference: Education Budget bill
HF 758 – Education Budget
HF 758 is the FY20 budgets of the Department of Blind, College Student Aid Commission, the Department of Education and the Board of Regents. It appropriates $952.7 million, which is $40 million more than last year.
FY20 Senate GOP Recommendation $ 952,733,479
FY19 Appropriation $ 912,675,487
Difference $ 40 million
Percent Increase 4.4 percent increase
Original House GOP Target $960,883,480
Original Governor’s Target $963,275,618
Department for the Blind: $80,000 over FY19. The department provides services to educate and train blind and visually impaired people. The increase will place a sixth Independent Living teacher in the field for more frequent visits.
- Iowa Tuition Grant (ITG): $1 million increase, for a total of $47.7million.
- ITG For-Profit: $50,000 increase.
- All Iowa Opportunity Scholarships: $159,000 increase/$3 million.
- Rural Primary Care Loan Repayment Program: Status quo funding.
- NEW – Future Ready Iowa Last-Dollar Scholarship: $13 million. This is similar to the GAP program and is tuition assistance for students to finish their targeted training. Credentials include postsecondary certificates, diplomas and associate degrees.
- NEW – Future Ready Iowa Grant Program: Funding in the Econ Dev Budget (SF 608): $1 million to establish a grant that would allow Iowans who left college with at least half the required credits for a bachelor’s degree in a high-demand field of study to enroll in a public or private four-year institution in Iowa to complete the degree. This program was established in the Future Ready Iowa Act (2018).
Department of Education: $11.8 million over FY19.
- NEW: Children’s Mental Health: $2.1 million for this bipartisan priority.
- Train teachers to detect mental health issues in students and determine appropriate follow-up.
- NEW: Nonpublic School Concurrent Enrollment (HF 603): $1 million (caps max standing unlimited appropriation).
- Nonpublic Textbook Services: Status Quo.
- Student Achievement and Teacher Quality Program: Status Quo.
- Iowa Assessment: $300,000 increase, which is $3 million total. Increase of $300,000 is designated for nonpublic schools only.
- IJAG: $1 million increase, total of $2.7 million.
- NEW: Best Buddies = $25,000.
- Iowa Learning Online (ILO): $0.
- Career Technical Education (CTE) Secondary: $320,000 increase to $2.9 million.
- Early Childhood Iowa (ECI): $500,000 increase.
Vocational Rehabilitation Division: Status quo funding of $5.9 million.
Iowa Public Television (IPTV): $50,000 increase over FY19, for a total of $7.7 million in FY20.
Community Colleges: $4.7 million increase/$207 million.
- New: ESL Adult Basic Literacy = $500,000. This new appropriation will work with the adult basic literacy, which is part of the Skilled Worker and Job Creation. $1.1 million solves the ESL adult education waiting list statewide.
- The Skilled Workforce Training Fund includes most of the community college job training and tuition assistance. Funding comes from gaming dollars. The bill provides status quo funding for FY20 of $40.3 million.
Regent Institutions: $12 million increase/total $575.4 million. It is estimated the regents will raise tuition by almost 4%. That is a $300 annual increase for in-state students.
- Schools for the Blind and Deaf: 2.06% increase (SSA rate).
- STEM: $1 million increase (18% increase).
Policy and Statute Changes
- National Guard Educational Assistance: Name change to “scholarship” and allows an additional 10 semester hours of undergraduate study for those pursuing a degree in a STEM field.
- Future Ready: High Demand Jobs definition/criteria in Code.
- 260E New Jobs Training: One-year language to help Lennox workers in Marshalltown.
- 260I – GAP Program: Changes the criteria for determining financial need eligibility for assistance by reducing the time for which family income is considered and allows two certificate attainments in one career pathway.
- High-Need Schools: Appropriation is pushed back to FY21. The $10 million never has been funded.
[4/23: 32-18, party-line]