Education Committee – Week 7, 2022


SSB 3080 – Private school vouchers, public school penalties, new testing requirements

SSB 3080 prioritizes a voucher program for students currently enrolled in private schools, expanding to all students in future years. Governor Reynolds’ bill will take money away from public schools and the vast majority of Iowa students who attend them. It also increases the expense and work of public schools by requiring searchable databases of all lesson plans, textbooks, books, articles, videos and other educational materials used in each class and grade level. There is no similar “transparency” requirement for nonpublic schools. 

Penalties for Public Schools

Transparency and State Standards: Requires school boards to post on the district website:

Protocols for selection, review and removal of library materials: Requires school boards to adopt protocols for selection, review, reconsideration and removal. Protocols must include a process for a parent to request reconsideration or removal of materials. Requires DE to create a procedure flowchart and provide it to all school districts.

Private School Vouchers: 

Small School Payoffs: Creates a student first enrollment supplement fund in the state treasury under control of the Department of Management. Starting July 1, 2023, a standing unlimited appropriation will pay 30% of the state cost per pupil of each private school voucher to the smallest school districts. If 10,000 private school students receive a voucher, this would be $22.7 million to the smallest 102 school districts across the state, or $220,000 per school district with 500 students or less.

Social Studies Instruction: Requires student to pass with 70% the most recent version of the U.S. citizenship and immigration test before being allowed to graduate. 

Private Instruction – Special Education: Eliminates the requirement that the AEA director approve a child with an IEP to receive Competent Private Instruction (home schooling).

Open Enrollment: Allows a sibling to participate in varsity athletics without a waiting period if they open enroll with a sibling for “good cause.”

Teacher Librarians: Specifies that a teacher librarian license not require a master’s degree.
[2/17: 10-4, Party-line (Excused: Giddens)]

SSB 3085 – Volunteer substitute teachers

SSB 3085 authorizes school districts to use “volunteer” substitute teachers. These would be unpaid individuals that hold the appropriate teaching license or authorization from the BOEE that allows them to substitute. Background checks and relevant licensure requirements would still apply to these volunteer substitute teachers. A committee amendment was adopted saying volunteer substitutes must not be currently employed by the district or be a school board member.
[2/17: 11-3 (No: Celsi, Trone-Garriott, J. Smith; Excused: Giddens)]

SSB 3103 – Supplemental aid for open enrollment

SSB 3103 – Currently, if a school district has unusual circumstances that create an unusual need for additional funds, the School Budget Review Committee may grant supplemental aid to the district from certain funds appropriated to DE or allow a modified allowable growth (MAG) for the district, or both. SSB 3103 adds that if the percentage of students enrolled in the school district as a result of open enrollment is equal to or greater than 35% of their total student population, that would constitute a new “unusual circumstance” under which a school district may receive funds/MAG from the School Budget Review Committee.

A committee amendment was adopted that strikes SAVE from the calculation for how much a district can ask the School Budget Review Committee for and adds that a school district is not eligible for supplemental aid or MAG if a majority of the students that are open enrolled receive online instruction from a private provider (e.g., CAM and Clayton Ridge).
[2/17: Short Form (Excused: Giddens)]

SSB 3146 – Transgender women prohibited from K12 school athletics, community colleges and public universities

SSB 3146 bars transgender girls from participating in girls’ sports at K12 schools, community colleges and state universities. The bill defines a person’s gender to be what is listed on the student’s official birth certificate or certificate issued upon adoption. This bill applies to K12 public and accredited nonpublic schools, the girls’ and boys’ athletic unions, community colleges and public universities (but not private colleges/universities).


Attorney General and state costs:

The bill requires the Attorney General to provide legal representation at no cost to an educational institution, organization or employee for any lawsuit brought or any complaint filed against that entity as a result of compliance with the bill’s requirements. The state must assume financial responsibility for any other expense related to the lawsuit or complaint, including any award for attorney fees and costs for which that entity or individual would be otherwise responsible.
[2/17: 10-4, Party-line (Excused: Giddens)]

SF 89 – Requires cursive handwriting instruction

SF 89 requires school districts to incorporate cursive handwriting instruction into the curriculum with the goal of making students proficient in reading cursive and legibly writing in cursive by the end of the third grade. The provisions of the bill do not apply to nonpublic schools. 
[2/17: 10-4 (Party-line; Excused: Giddens)]

SF 2107 – Impact of technology on brain development

SF 2107 directs the Iowa Department of Education to convene a work group to study the impact of technology on cognitive learning and academic performance of students enrolled in preschool through grade six. The group will provide a report to the Legislature detailing their findings and recommendations. Any expenses incurred by a member of the working group will be the responsibility of the individual member or group they represent. A committee amendment narrowed the bills scope and included public health experts to examine research on the impact of technology on cognitive function in students. The task force will provide recommendations on best practices related to the use of technology in educational settings, with a focus on ways to improve negative impacts on social and behavioral development, attention span and other cognitive functions.
[2/17: 14-0 (Excused: Giddens)]

SF 2112 – Achievement gap working group

SF 2112 directs the Department of Education to convene an achievement gap work group. The work group will study disparities in academic performance between groups of students in kindergarten through grade 12, and report to the Legislature by December 31, 2022. A committee amendment was adopted to study achievement gaps between racial or ethnic groups of students and to report on those findings, as well.
[2/17: 14-0 (Excused: Giddens)]

SF 2203 – School board meeting new rules

SF 2203 requires all regular and special meetings of a school board to be held in person. The bill requires a member of the board to vote yea or nay on all matters before the board unless the member has a conflict of interest. The bill changes what constitutes a quorum from a majority of members to a majority of members present in person. The bill takes effect upon enactment. A committee amendment was adopted that narrows the bill to a requirement for every school board member present at the meeting to cast a vote yea or nay, or to abstain.
[2/17: 14-0 (Excused: Giddens)]


SF 2362 – Ed Omnibus Clean Up

SF 2362 is primarily a non-con technical omnibus cleanup bill that:

  • 2/17: Short Form (Excused: Giddens); FLOOR 2/23: 48-0 (Excused: Zaun, Zumbach)]


SF 2081 – Technical changes to disbursement funds for computer science professional development

SF 2081 makes technical changes to the disbursement of funds for the computer science profession development incentive fund. Current law authorizes the Department of Education to award grants to school districts, accredited nonpublic schools and area education agencies for professional development activities and tuition reimbursement for teachers in the area of computer science education. The bill will allow recipients of a grant to receive moneys for expenses incurred during the grant award fiscal year through September 30 of the following year. The bill applies to grants from the fund on or after the effective date of the bill.
[2/23: 48-0 (Excused: Zaun, Zumbach)]

SF 2128 – Non-con technical terminology clean up departmental bill

SF 2128 is a non-con technical clean up departmental bill that changes the terminology for the services provided to students who need additional help learning English since their native language is something else. The bill modifies Iowa Code to replace references to a student who is “limited English proficient” with “English learner.”

Actions in the bill regarding post-secondary accreditation are conforming and technical, including compliance with the faculty accreditation standards that are consistent with standards for accrediting community college programs.
[2/22: 48-0 (Excused: Mathis, Zaun)]