Education Committee – Week 13, 2021


HF 196 – Health care professional recruitment program expansion

HF 196 addresses the expansion of College Student Aid’s health care professional recruitment program to doctors/residents who graduated from an institution other than Des Moines University. Currently, only health care professionals who graduate from Des Moines University are eligible for the program. The bill adds that the health care professionals must have graduated from an academic program that leads to licensure. “Eligible institution” is defined in the bill as a Regent University or accredited private institution. “Health care professional” is defined in statute to mean a physician, physician assistant, podiatrist or physical therapist. The Senate adopted an amendment to include athletic trainers and occupational therapists to eligible “health care professions.”
[4/6: 47-0 (Excused: Hogg, Nunn, Schultz)]


HF 228 – Voluntary Diversity Plan elimination  

HF 228 eliminates implementation of a voluntary diversity plan as a reason to deny open enrollment. Iowa has had school district voluntary diversity plans in place since FY09 and disallows denial of open enrollment based on those plans. Under current law, a school district subject to a voluntary diversity plan or court-ordered desegregation may deny a request for open enrollment of a pupil from one district to another if the superintendent finds that the enrollment or release of the pupil will adversely affect the district’s implementation of the voluntary diversity plan or court-ordered desegregation.

Five Iowa school districts currently have voluntary diversity plans, with three districts using socioeconomic status (Davenport, Des Moines and Waterloo) and two districts (West Liberty and Postville) using English-language learner status as metrics for denying open enrollment.

For most Iowans, open-enrollment decisions are made by the receiving district. If that school system has enough room and the appropriate resources to serve the applicant, approval is likely. The five Iowa districts with diversity plans can restrict a resident student from seeking open enrollment. In one of the five districts that have a diversity plan, open-enrollments are denied if a student’s departure would cause their neighborhood school to further exceed or fall below the district’s average poverty rate by 10 or more percentage points, a figure calculated using student eligibility for free or reduced-price meals. For Des Moines, that rate is 70.2%. Statewide, about 6% of students participate in open enrollment. The Senate adopted an amendment that eliminates the open enrollment deadline for next school year for those districts that had a voluntary diversity plan this year.
[4/6: 29-17 (Excused: Hogg, Dawson, Nunn, Schultz)]

HF 315 – AEA expanded assistance to programs for at-risk children

HF 315 allows Area Education Agencies (AEAs) to provide technical assistance to Shared Visions grantees that are not school districts. Currently, they are limited to serving only districts. This expands AEA ability to support quality programming and updates Code language.
[4/7: 44-0 (Excused: Hogg, Brown, Carlin, Dawson, Nunn, Schultz)]

HF 317 – Calculation process for special education reporting

HF 317 aligns the current automated calculation process used by the Department of Education for school district special education reporting. Current statute relating to the funding for special programs includes an outdated calculation method, which required a manual calculation by districts. The current law methodology is based on the number of months children were enrolled in the district. The bill changes the calculation to be based on the number of days children are enrolled. The bill affects services to children living in shelter care, juvenile detention homes, certain residential treatment facilities, a psychiatric unit or institution, or in a child foster care facility or placement.
[4/7: 44-0 (Excused: Hogg, Brown, Carlin, Dawson, Nunn, Schultz)]

HF 388 – Duties of the child development coordinating council

HF 388 proposes to delete two duties that are duplicative of other efforts in the statewide early childhood system. These changes were proposed at the request of the Child Development Coordinating Council. The committee adopted an amendment to correct the bill, striking Section 256A.3, subsections 4 and 7, which eliminates the list of duplicative recommendations.
[4/7: 44-0 (Excused: Hogg, Brown, Carlin, Dawson, Nunn, Schultz)]

HF 644 – Expansion of English Language Learner funding

HF 644, as amended by the Senate and House, has lower funding for each category of LEP students. The bill provides supplementary weighting for an intensive student at 0.26 and for an intermediate student at 0.21. Approximately 80% of LEP students are identified at intermediate category, and as amended, this funding is lower than current law. Under current law, a student identified as being LEP may draw an additional weighting of 0.22 in the School Aid formula for no more than five years. This bill, as amended, will provide a net increase of $80,000 statewide for LEP support. In FY21, approximately 21,334 students were identified as being LEP and received supplementary weighting.
[4/6: 46-0 (Excused: Hogg, Dawson, Nunn, Schultz)]

HF 744 – First Amendment training at Regents and public schools

HF 744, as amended, requires each public institution of higher education to protect the First Amendment rights of the institution’s students, staff and faculty, and to establish and publicize policies that prohibit intuitional restrictions and penalties based on protected speech to the fullest extent required by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A public institution of higher education is prohibited from retaliating against a member of the campus community that files a complaint for a violation of this requirement. If a faculty member knowingly and intentionally restricts the protected speech or otherwise penalizes a student according to the above requirements the faculty member is subject to discipline by the institution through the normal disciplinary process, and such discipline may include termination depending on the totality of the facts. If the faculty member is licensed, the Board of Educational Examiners must conduct a hearing, and the faculty member may be subject to disciplinary action by the board.

The bill requires the state Board of Regents to develop materials, programs and procedures on the policies, regulations and duties of the institution regarding free expression on campus. Each Regents institution must provide training on free speech under the First Amendment to all students, faculty, and staff on an annual basis. Elected officials and staff must be permitted to attend. Each school district in the state must protect the intellectual freedom of the school district’s students and practitioners. The districts must establish and publicize policies to protect students and faculty from discrimination based on speech.

The Senate added language related to campus student organizations, free-speech training and protections for newspaper advisors from original SF 478 into HF 744. The amendment added these provisions:

  • Each public institution of higher education must provide student government organization members instruction and training on the First Amendment. Each Regents university will make student government organization access to and authority over any moneys disbursed contingent upon compliance with the First Amendment. If a student government organization violates provisions of the bill, the institution must suspend its authority to manage and disburse student fees for one year.
  • The Board of Regents must annually appoint a three-member nonpartisan free speech appeals committee to receive complaints. School districts must protect the intellectual freedom of the school district’s students and practitioners and must establish policies that protect students and faculty from discrimination based on political bias. A faculty member or K-12 school employee will be disciplined by their institution or the BOEE, if they knowingly and intentionally restrict the protected speech of a student.


HF 468 – UI Medical School Admissions

HF 468 establishes requirements relating to the residency of those accepted for admission to the University of Iowa’s colleges of Medicine and Dentistry and requires an annual report. HF 468 requires not less than 75% of students accepted at the University of Iowa’s College of Medicine and College of Dentistry to be either residents of Iowa or enrolled in an eligible Iowa postsecondary institution prior to enrolling in the College of Medicine or the College of Dentistry. The University of Iowa also must submit an annual report to the Legislature containing specified information about graduates. The bottom line problem is the capped number of residencies allotted to Iowa (Medicare cap). UI self-funds an additional 200 residency slots, which the fiscal impact of this bill may unintentionally lower. HF 468 is estimated to reduce tuition revenue to the University of Iowa colleges of Medicine and Dentistry by a combined $800,000 to $1 million annually.

The bill was amended (adding HF 487) to require the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) to offer an interview for an available medical residency position to any in-state applicant who earned an undergraduate degree from an Iowa college or university, or attended and earned a medical degree from a medical school in Iowa. The bill also requires the UIHC to provide the opportunity to medical students to participate in an audition clinical in the medical residency specialty for which they applied. The UIHC must submit a report to the Governor and Legislature by January 15 annually. The amendment passed 12-1 (No: Giddens). HF 468 passed the House 61-35. HF 487 passed the House 58-38.
[4/1: 9-4 (No: Giddens, Trone-Garriott, Quirmbach, Smith; Excused: Kraayenbrink, Sweeney)

HF 532 – FY21 Education Supplemental Bill

HF 532 was amended by the Senate with a strike-all amendment that contains these provisions:

  1. $27.2 million for “qualified instruction” supplement.
  • “Enrollment Served” means those students who were in an actual building either under an approved hybrid plan or 100% in-person for the first semester.
    • This excludes any student that does approved full-time remote learning (all full-time online kids in all districts would not be counted/eligible for this funding).
  • “Qualified Instruction Factor” is the first semester (90 days) of in-compliance hybrid or 100% in-person days of instructions.  
    • Funding = Qualified instruction days/90 x $60. If districts complied for one day, it would be 1/90th times $60. If districts complied for 45 days, it would be a $30 per pupil of pupil in the building, not those doing 100% online.
      • Exemption for derecho. If you were planning on being in school, then those days count.
      • AEA – $1 per qualifying pupil to AEAs.

2. Preschool Funding – Gov’s Early Childhood Federal Funds via the SBRC

  • Funding is determined by district counting PreK students on October 2021, compared with October 2020 enrollments and take the increase in students x 50% = eligible amount of additional PreK dollars.  District tells the SBRC their requested amount. 
  • SBRC must review the school’s carry-forward balance for PreK – less than 25% of budget, the request for MSA shall be approved.  Over 25% carry-forward, only may be granted. 
  • Preschool Pro-rated Potential – Using federal Early Childhood Governor’s GEER and ESSER funds.  The bill says funding request will be pro-rated if not enough funds are appropriated by the Governor.  Amendment allows schools to apply for federal funding via the SBRC before they have exhausted their own ESSER federal fund allocations. 
    [4/1: 11-2 (No: Celsi, Quirmbach; Excused: Kraayenbrink, Sweeney)]

HF 813 – Charter Schools

HF 813 establishes a new charter school program within the state under new Code chapter 256E to create two additional models by which a charter school may be established. Existing charters don’t cease to exist, but no more will be granted under 256F after July 1, 2021.

  1. Local School Board-State Board Modela local school board may create a founding group to apply to the State Board for approval to establish a charter school within a school district by establishing a new attendance center, creating a new school within an existing attendance center, or converting an existing attendance center. 
    1. If charter school wants to take over an existing attendance center, they must submit evidence that a majority of the school’s teachers and parents voted in favor of the conversion to a charter. 
    1. The State Board must approve a charter if all criteria of application have been met. If the State Board denies charter application, they must specify exact reasons for denial and provide documentation.
  • Founding Group-State Board Model– a founding group may apply to the State Board for approval to establish and operate a charter school within the boundaries of the whole state that operates independently (and in competition of) any public-school district as a new attendance center.
    • A founding group applies for a charter school within the state boundaries (not a district’s) and operates as a new school independently from a public school/district.
    • A founding group’s application submitted is required to demonstrate the founding group’s academic and operational vision and plans for the proposed charter school. An application must include the performance framework, the oversight and evaluation requirements, the criteria the state board will use in evaluating applications, and the requirements concerning the format and content necessary to establish and operate a successful charter school. [256E (9) and 256E (10)]

Private Charter application to the State Board must include *most* of the same requirements as the School Board application except the following:

  • No vote of teachers or parents required before a founding group can start recruiting parents/students and apply for charter school status.
    • ONLY IF – the application is by (or the board is planning to contract with) an “education service provider” do they have to show success in serving similar student populations to which they are proposing to serve.
    • ONLY IF – the applicant is by (or the board plans to contract with) an “education service provider” does the application need to include a description of education service provider’s staff performance evaluation, compensation, contract oversight, dispute resolution, investment disclosure and conflicts of interest.
    • A private/founding group charter application must not be approved if the same founding group has another pending application under this subsection. This does NOT prohibit an applicant from running more than one charter, just that no more than one application can be pending at one time.

General Operating Powers and Duties (Applicable for all types of charter schools):

An initial charter school contract will be granted for a term of five years. A charter school will be organized as a nonprofit education organization with the powers, including but not limited to:

  • Receive and expend funds for charter school purposes.
  • Contract with an education service provider for the management and operation of the charter school so long as the governing board retains oversight authority over the charter school.
  • Incur debt in anticipation of the receipt of public or private funds.
  • Solicit and accept gifts or grants for charter school purposes unless otherwise prohibited by law or by the terms of its charter school contract.
  • Acquire public or private property for use as a charter school.
  • Board must post charter school annual budget for public viewing.
  • Although charter schools would be subject to audit requirements, it is unclear whether a charter school approved as an independent entity would be subject to fiscal reporting under 291.10.
  • If a charter school is independent from a school district, determinations will be needed regarding allocation methods used for federal funds.
  • Charter board members must be residents of “geographic area” serviced by charter school. If a board member does not live in “geographic area,” they must at least be state residents. There is no prohibition against out-of-state folks/businesses coming in and being a “founding group.” 
  • There is no prohibition for a member of the founding group to serve on the governing board.
  • Each charter school governing board must adopt a conflict-of-interest policy and a code of ethics for all board members and employees, and adopt a policy regarding family members to avoid nepotism.
  • Evaluations: The bill includes language that would require staff performance evaluations (in SF 159). 

Charter Schools are exempt from all state statutes and rules and any local rule, regulation, or policy, applicable to a noncharter school, except that the charter school is required to do all of the following:

  • Meet all applicable federal, state and local health and safety requirements and laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion, ancestry or disability. The charter school will be subject to any court-ordered desegregation in effect for the school district at the time the charter school application is approved, unless otherwise specifically provided for in the desegregation order.
  • Operate as a nonsectarian, nonreligious school.
  • Be free of tuition and application fees to Iowa resident students between the ages of five and 21. Provide transportation to students.
  • Be subject to and comply with civil and human rights (chapters 216 and 216A)
  • Provide special education services.
  • Be subject to the same financial audits, audit procedures and audit requirements as a school district under current law. The department, State Auditor or Legislative Services Agency may conduct financial, program or compliance audits.
  • Be subject to and comply with the Iowa Core requirements and educational standards (256.11), unless specifically waived by the state board during the application process.
  • Comply with Chapter 21 requirements (open meetings) – but not required to comply with open records.
  • They also do NOT have to follow is Chapter 26 (competitive bid).
  • New charters do not have to adhere to chapters 20 or 279 related to discipline and discharge of teachers or administrators as is currently required under 256F.

Teachers, Administrators, Admission of Students:

  • A charter school will employ or contract with teachers licensed under 272.1. 
  • Administrators do NOT have to be licensed; under current law, they must be licensed under the BOEE.
  • Charters cannot discriminate on the basis of intellectual or athletic ability during the application process. They will give enrollment priority to siblings of students enrolled in a charter school.


  • The school district of residence will pay to the charter school in which the student is enrolled an amount equal to the sum of the state cost per pupil ($7,227), plus the teacher leadership (TLC), plus applicable English Language Learner weighting.
  • If a student is eligible for Senior Year Plus, the charter school will pay the tuition reimbursement to the postsecondary institution. Concurrent enrollment funding would be sent to the charter school under administrative rules. If a student requires special education, the school district must pay to the charter school the actual costs incurred.
  • The funding amounts for the first school year of a new charter school will be based on enrollment estimates included in the charter school contract. This initial amount paid using estimated enrollments would be reconciled during a subsequent payment based on actual enrollment of the charter school during the first school year. At this time, LSA is unsure of how the Department of Education would write rules to establish when the estimated payments would be funded, or when the subsequent reconciliation would happen.  
  • Requires the charter school to provide to resident district documentation necessary for Medicaid billing.

Direct State Appropriations: The state pays directly for students enrolled in a charter school who were previously served in a home school or nonpublic school, or recently moved to the district. This is an unknown standing unlimited appropriation.

State Board Oversight/Evaluation: The State Board must monitor the performance and compliance of each charter school. A charter school must provide an annual report to the Department of Education and Legislature. Each charter school established under this chapter must be evaluated and graded by the Department of Education pursuant to the attendance center performance ranking system (state report card).
[4/1: 8-5 (No: Democrats; Excused: Kraayenbrink, Sweeney)]