Education Committee – Week 7, 2020


SF 2118 – Rural Physician Loan Repayment Fixes

SF 2118 adds new private loan eligibility language. The new language allows refinancing student loans as private loans, while maintaining eligibility for loan repayment through Iowa’s Rural Physician Loan Repayment Program. The appropriations maximum award and timeframe still apply. The bill allows the same refinancing allowances to the Health Care Professional Recruitment Program and the Health Care Loan Repayment Program. The amendment also makes the refinancing allowance retroactive to January 2019.
[2/26: 49-0 (Excused: R. Taylor)]

SF 2153Health Screening Notifications

SF 2153 prohibits school districts from administering or conducting student health screenings that are not required by state or federal law, unless the school district has first acquired the written consent of the students’ parent or guardian. An amendment was adopted that clarified the definition of a health screening and addressed emergency care situations, including an emerging public health crisis as defined by Iowa Department Public Health. The bill does not apply to child abuse screenings or incidents that need to be covered by mandatory reporters and only applies to those students with a legal guardian or parent who enrolls them in school.
[2/26: 49-0 (Excused: R. Taylor)]

SF 2251 – Rural physician loan repayment program

SF 2251 add obstetrics and gynecology as an area of specialization that qualifies for loan repayment under the Rural Physicians Loan Repayment Program. Currently, a person can engage in less than full-time practice under the program if they apply to the College Student Aid Commission to amend their program agreement and the commission determines that exceptional circumstances exist. The bill eliminates the exceptional circumstances, thereby allowing the commission and the person to consent to amend the agreement. Under the bill, “less than full-time” means at least 70% of a 40-hour work week. Finally, the bill modifies the definition of “service commitment area” to include a larger area.
[2/26: 49-0 (Excused: R. Taylor)]

SF 2261 – Tele-med option for school location services

SF 2261 outlines the process for a school to implement voluntary behavioral health screenings either in person or through the use of telehealth. No student can be screened without the written consent of a parent/guardian. Parents must be notified of the results of the screening, and they must be sent to a primary doctor. The bill requires establishing a provider–patient relationship prior to providing mental health services via telemedicine in a school setting. Schools must provide a secure, confidential and private room, and the technology necessary to deliver such services. Mental health providers must provide a way for the student’s parent/guardian to participate in the session. The school cannot have access to or handle any of the student’s medical records related to the provision of telehealth mental health services. A school, AEA or nonpublic school is allowed as a site of service for purposes of private insurance reimbursement. An amendment was adopted to allow the first meeting of certain approved telehealth services to be completely online, but still requires a parent to be there at the first meeting.
[2/26: 49-0 (Excused: R. Taylor)]

SF 2356 – Dyslexia expanded support services

SF 2356 requires the State Board of Education to establish procedures for the approval of practitioner preparation programs that offer an advanced dyslexia specialist endorsement by July 2022. The Department must maintain a dyslexia consultant to provide technical guidance and assistance. Subject to an appropriation, each Area Education Agency must maintain a dyslexia specialist. An Iowa Dyslexia Board will oversee implementation of dyslexia instruction in Iowa and make recommendations for continued improvement. The bill expands the definition of dyslexia used to determine what schools must provide to students who are persistently at risk in reading to develop the skills to read at grade level. Finally, by July 1, 2024, the bill requires all K-3, Title 1 and ELL teachers to complete the Iowa Reading Research Center dyslexia overview module.
[2/26: 49-0 (Excused: R. Taylor)]

SF 2360 – Classroom Management and Therapeutic Classroom

SF 2360 addresses concerns from some parents and teachers regarding some of the most at-need students and the increased use of “room clears” as the immediate response to violent behaviors of some students. Room clears are when students are evacuated from the classroom while a violent or disruptive child remains in the classroom. The bill has the following main components:

  • Teacher Training and Preparation: Provides $500,000 for educators to receive additional training on how to manage classroom disruptions, address student behavior and maintain the least restrictive environment. 
  • Therapeutic Classroom Funding: Therapeutic classrooms provide smaller classes and intensive help, and are designed to be short-term breaks for students to reset and develop new coping strategies before reentering their home classroom/school.Provides $1,582,650 for a grant program to assist districts and community mental health agencies in supporting students needing help with violent behavior. Schools may collaborate and apply for a regional therapeutic classroom model. There is an additional $500,000 appropriated to reimburse schools for transportation coststo a regional therapeutic classroom. Grant awards must be made for the establishment of therapeutic classrooms with one to five pupils, classrooms with six to 10 pupils, and classrooms with 11 to 15 pupils.
  • Classroom Clear Requirements: Provides statewide expectations for use and methods to clear a classroom when a student behaves violently and increases the requirements for school communication with parents of all children affected by a room clear.
  • Educator Protection: Increases liability protects for educators when reasonable physical contact is used to relocate a student to protect them and other students from injury. Increases job and whistle blower protections for teachers for reporting violence and personal attacks to police and administrators.
  • Data Collection: Establishes data reporting to track incidents of violence or assault by students. This section was amendment to make sure it complies with federal special education and data privacy laws, as well as tracking key student demographic information, to identify overuse or patterns that have a disproportionate racial, gender or social-economic impact.
    [2/25: 50-0]