ISBA Capitol Notes, March 18

What is Happening With the FY13 Fix to Reimburse School Districts for the Funds Lost With the Repeal of the Props

HB65 passed the House and has been on hold in the Senate Education Committee for couple of weeks.  This past week we met with stakeholders to discuss possible amendments to the bill.  The amendments centered around how technology can be used and some criteria for pilot programs.  After discussions with the stakeholders, Education Chairs, and Superintendent Luna, it is my belief that this bill will also move forward without amendments.

While there were some good discussions around technology and pilot programs, we believe this is better done in separate legislation for next year.  It is late in the session and we don’t want anything to hold up this very important funding bill.  We lobbied to have it move forward it its current form and to deal with these other issues next year.

I believe we will see this bill on the Senate Education agenda this week where we will stand in full support of the bill.

K12 Public Education Budget

There have been some questions about the K12 public education budget.  Not everyone is in favor of the bill.  There are concerns that the $12 million placed on the grid should actually go into the Public Education Stabilization Fund (PESF).  The bill will go to the House Floor first but, to my knowledge has not yet been printed.

Prior to the bill being presented to JFAC, we worked with stakeholders and Superintendent Luna to get as many increases to the budget as possible.  While we would like to see more dollars placed in discretionary funds, we received assurances that the legislature will look at those funds next year.  For this year, most of the funding has been focused on refunding the grid to the greatest extent possible.

In my 20 years of working with the legislature, I have never seen a budget bill that was not passed.  So, despite the objections, I believe the education budget as approved by the Joint Finance Appropriations Committee will pass.  We believe it is a good budget for school districts.  It contains:

  • An overall 2% increase in funding
  • Both steps on the grid that were previously frozen have been funded
  • The 1.67% that was previously reduced has been reinstated
  • There is a slight increase in discretionary fund

In addition, there are some one time monies that will be distributed.  Those dollars are the Governor’s recommendation for education reform and were supported by Superintendent Luna.  Here is a breakdown of those funds.

  • $21 million for Differential Pay (Pay for Performance)
    • 40% can be used for Professional Development for Common Core
    • School districts do not have to apply for these dollars
    • Plans will be created at the school district level
  • $13.4 million will be expended or distributed for various technology items

 

COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AND LABOR BILLS
HEADING DOWN THE FINAL STRETCH

Below is a breakdown of the bills that are currently moving forward and that are related to our Resolution #3.  The three bills that we started on the House side are moving through very smoothly.  They passed out of the House Education Committee and have passed on the House Floor.  They are all headed to the Senate Education Committee for debate, discussion, and a vote.

The four bills that we started in the Senate, as well as the Charter School bills got caught up with some discussions about the FY14 budget and the FY13 “fix it” bill (HB65).  There were some legislators who are hoping to amend both of the budget bills and the labor and charter bills were being held in an effort to find some sort of consensus.

We worked very hard this past week to make sure that we got all these bills moving.  It is getting late in the session and we need to make sure we get them through both chambers.  I remain confident that we will still be successful.

 

So What Are the Final Bills and Where Are We in the Process?

Below I have listed the pieces of legislation and where we are in the process

HB163 – Electronic Signatures

To provide for the orderly business operations for school districts and public charter schools with regard to setting dates certain for confirmation of personnel employment status at a time so as to allow for the board’s full consideration in setting the school’s annual fiscal budget. To provide for the cost saving and time saving process of allowing for electronic delivery of standard contracts to professional employees while still assuring receipt of the electronic delivery prior to taking negative action for non-response. Every contract return in email version saves local districts the certified mail cost which is currently $5.75.

Status:  LAW

HB259 – Unpaid Leave

To provide for the orderly operation of district business in association with the financial limitations public schools face, to set out the requirements for voluntary and involuntary leaves of absence.

Status:  This bill has passed the House Floor and is headed to the Senate Education Committee.

HB260 – Last Best Offer and Mediation

To continue to allow for a mediation process in the event the parties are not able to come to agreement but to clarify that any such mediation be completed no later than June 10 of each year. To provide for a negotiations process between school personnel while at the same time providing clarification and detail to the process necessary to allow districts to have finality to costs prior to the conclusion of the annual budgeting process, allowing for the orderly operation of district business. In an effort to collect good data on the effectiveness of the imposition of a last best offer, a one year sunset clause is included.

Status:  This bill has passed the House Floor and is headed to the Senate Education Committee.

HB261 – Reduction in Force and Seniority

To provide for orderly business operations for public school districts and public charter schools when faced with the need to reduce professional personnel and allowing for such to be done without incurring additional costs and expenses when already strained financial resources of a public school have resulted in the need to engage in a staffing reduction. To provide that when considering a reduction in professional personnel, seniority cannot be the only factor used. To provide that a school district may set out policy for the equitable recall of those individuals who were subject to the reduction in force in an effort to collect good data on the effectiveness of the use of other criteria in addition to seniority when implementing a reduction in force, a one year sunset clause is included.

Status:  This bill has passed the House Floor and is headed to the Senate Education Committee.

SB1098 – Open Negotiations

To provide for a negotiations process that is open to the public.

Status:  This bill has passed both the House and Senate Floors and is headed to the Governor.

SB1147 – One Year Agreement/Evergreen

To provide for the orderly operation of public school district and public charter school business. To provide for a one year duration of all agreements with regard to salaries, benefits, and any items with a direct or indirect cost to the school district’s budget, and to allow for a two year duration of all agreements with regard to other items between a public school district or pubic charter school and the professional personnel of the district, consistent with the timing of and duration of the fiscal year of the school.

Given the timing and duration of such agreements, the fact-finding process, and expensive advisory process, is neither cost-effective nor timely. In an effort to collect good data on the effectiveness of one-year agreements, a one year sunset clause is included.

Status:  This bill had an initial hearing in Senate Education last week and will be voted on Monday.

SB1148 – Reducing Salaries

To provide for the orderly operation of district business in association with the financial limitations public schools face, allowing for uniform application of an increase or reduction of salary for professional personnel or for the uniform application to lengthen or shorten the contract for professional personnel. To set out the date of July 1 as the last date that all contracts must be distributed. To provide for the issuance of letters of intent if the school district chooses. To allow for a single informal review should the length of term or salary be reduced. In an effort to collect good data on the impacts and effectiveness of giving local school boards this ability, a one year sunset clause is included.

Status:  This bill had an initial hearing in Senate Education last week and will be voted on Monday.

SB1149 – 50% + 1 and Majority Ratification

To provide for a negotiations process whereby there is assurance of majority representation, if requested by the local school board; and to provide for majority ratification, confirming good faith activities by both parties, allowing for the orderly operation of district business.

Status:  This bill is scheduled to be heard on Tuesday.

SB1150 – De Novo Hearings

To limit the impact of costly litigation of employment disputes based upon state statutory claims while retaining due process rights and a teacher’s right to sue for federal and other such applicable claims.

Status:  This bill is scheduled to be heard on Wednesday.

Competing Business Personal Property Tax Bills

This past week, the House Revenue and Taxation Committee had two open meetings.  Many people testified on both sides of this issue, but most testified in favor of the bill that the Association of Counties, Association of Idaho Cities, and the Idaho School Boards Association had submitted.  Unfortunately, the Committee did not vote on either of these bills.

Instead, new legislation is being drafted with more amendments.  It is my understanding that it will be printed in House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday and go back to the House Revenue and Taxation Committee later that week for more discussion and hopefully a vote by the Committee.

USE IT OR LOSE IT

I know many of you have been concerned about the current use it or lose it provision.  The IASA did get HB275 printed this last week.  This bill keeps the provision in place that allows school districts to hire 9.5% fewer teachers than they are eligible to hire.  This bill also has a one year sunset clause.  The purpose of the sunset clause is to see if the Governor’s Education Task Force addresses this issue.  If they do not, we will most likely rewrite this legislation to allow for a phase out of no lower than 5%.  This bill has passed the House Education Committee and is currently on the House Floor.

UPDATE ON THE JOKI LAWSUIT

Last week the court heard a number of pending motions in Dr. Joki’s lawsuit.   This included a Motion to Dismiss for the State Defendants (i.e.  The Idaho Legislature, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, etc).    During this hearing, the Judge ruled in favor of the State Defendants and dismissed the claims against them.    What this means is that the causes of action that were being pursued against the state (as opposed to the various school districts) no longer exists.   The Court found that there was no causal link between school districts who charged fees and the state.   The second cause of action, which Mr. Huntley indicated was about funding for school facilities, was dismissed due to the failure of Dr. Joki to follow the statutory requirements to file a constitutional claim against the state.    Even if those prerequisites had been followed, the court indicated that it would throw the case out anyway because it was not pled properly.   It is fair to state that the hearing’s argument was the first time anyone knew that this second cause of action had anything to do with school facilities.

Dr. Joki and Mr. Huntley have stated on a number of occasions that the state and not the school districts was the true target.    During the hearing, comments to the contrary were stated, leading us to believe that it is unlikely that Dr. Joki and Mr. Huntley will stop the action against the schools and appeal the dismissal of the state defendants.

Good news for a number of the school district defendants did come out of this hearing.   Mr. Huntley was pressured by the Court and consented to dismiss out all of the school districts that had not yet been served in the lawsuit   So, for the lucky approximately 50 Districts who have not been formally served the lawsuit, they have been dismissed out of the case.   The schools dismissed from the School Consortium have received or will specifically receive notice that they are no longer part of this lawsuit.

On April 1st there is another round of hearings scheduled before the Court.   These hearings will relate to the first round of attempt to dismiss additional school defendants from the suit as well as our attempt to prevent Dr. Joki from certifying his lawsuit as a class action.   Given comments made by the Court during the hearing of last week, we have hope that there will be an additional dismissal of school districts from the lawsuit.

OTHER LEGISLATION

HB0065 – FY13 Funding from SCF

This legislation brings back the $30.1 million in funding for FY13 that was lost in the repeal of Students Come First.

Status:  Passed the House Floor and is headed to the Senate Education Committee.

Note:  I believe this bill will be heard in Senate Education and that it will move through without any edits.

HB72 – Charitable Contributions to School Foundations

Under current Idaho Code Section 63-3029A, voluntary donations to qualified higher education institutions, elementary or secondary institutions and specified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations located in Idaho receive an income tax credit for charitable contributions. In order to take advantage of these credits, many eligible entities are required to form separately governed nonprofit foundations that are tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3).  This amendment would establish a mechanism through the Idaho Community Foundation whereby small organizations would have the option to deposit their funds into a dedicated account. This dedicated account would be established to exclusively support the charitable purpose that would otherwise qualify the donor for the tax credit.

Status:  LAW

HB0084 – Clarifies Procedures for Inspection After Building Deemed Unsafe

This legislation deals with those school districts that have a building that has been deemed unsafe by the Division of Building Safety but the school district is still unable to get a bond passed.  It clarifies several issues.  This legislation would amend section 33-909, Idaho code to specify that all approved projects remain under the purview of the panel until finalized. These changes will eliminate any jurisdictional conflicts with local agencies by specifying the Division of Building Safety’s responsibility in regards to inspection and issuance of certificates of occupancy.

Status:  LAW

HB205Repealing the Freeze on the Grid for Education Credits

This legislation deals with the frozen movement on the state’s funding grid for educator salaries for those educators who earned additional college credits applicable to FY11. SB 1184 (2011) previously repealed this freeze. The repeal of SB 1184 through Proposition 3 reinstated the freeze. This legislation reinstates the repeal of the freeze, which will allow school districts to receive full state funding for actual college credits earned by their professional educator employees.

Status:  This bill was put on hold for several days in the Senate Education Committee but is scheduled for a hearing on Monday.  There will likely be friendly amendments to this bill.

HB206 – Facility Funding for Charter Schools

This legislation includes the financial components of the recommendations made by a group of stakeholders that met and examined Idaho’s charter school laws from June 2012 through February 2013. The two recommendations with fiscal impact include a new requirement that charter schools pay an authorizer fee to the entity that authorized their charter and oversees their performance. The purpose of this fee is to help defray the authorizer’s cost of providing oversight, and in defraying such costs, to encourage more school districts to act as authorizers for charter schools.

The second recommendation with a fiscal impact involves the creation of a state facilities funding stream for charter schools. Currently, charter schools have no discrete, identified source of revenue to pay for their facility costs. School districts pay for facilities through voter authorization of bond and plant facility levies. In addition, school districts have received state subsidies for bond levy repayment costs since FY04. Charter schools, lacking these sources of revenue, must divert state funds intended for employee salaries and operating costs to pay for facilities.

The state facilities funding created for charter schools by this legislation is pegged to a percentage of the average amount of facility levy funds being raised by school districts, on a per student basis.

For FY14, the distribution would be equal 20% this amount. For FY15, this percentage would increase to 30%. After this, the percentage would increase or decrease in 10% increments, based on triggers built around the level of increase or decrease in the public schools appropriation. The percentage is limited to a low of 20% and a high of 50%.

Status:  This bill has passed the House Floor and had a partial hearing in the Senate Education Committee.  It is scheduled to be heard again on Monday.

HB218 – School Bond Amortization

A number of provisions in the Idaho Code governing issuance of school bonds need to be updated, modernized and made consistent with other provisions of Idaho Code. The legislation eliminates obsolete provisions. It also replaces vague language with objective measures of when a school district’s bond amortization plan requires the approval of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and specifically limits bond amortization to no more than 30 years. The legislation eliminates conflicting provisions relating to refunding/refinancing bonds, and makes a technical correction for refunding bonds relating to compliance with the State bond guaranty program under Chapter 53 of Title 33, Idaho Code.

Status:  This bill passed the House Floor and the Senate Education Committee and it is headed to the Senate Floor.

HB221 – Charter School Oversight

This legislation includes the governance and oversight components of the recommendations made by a group of stakeholders that met and examined Idaho’s charter school laws from June 2012 through February 2013. The major recommendations in this legislation are as follows:

1.) Eliminate notices of defect.

2.) Require periodic renewals of all public charter schools.

3.) Create performance contracts for charter schools.

4.) Create a process that allows school-district authorized charter schools to become LEAs.

5.) Allow the State Department of Education to reduce the front-loading of charter school funding if notified by the school’s authorizer that the school is fiscally unsound.

6.) Provide for procedures upon dissolution of a charter school.

7.) Allow additional authorizers (Colleges & Universities and certain approved 501(c)(3) organizations).

8.) Establish standards and oversight for 501(c)(3) organizations that wish to become charter school authorizers.

9.) Allow for direct approval of public charter schools by Colleges & Universities and approved 501(c)(3) organizations, while maintaining the law’s current school district notification and feedback procedures.

10.) Reform the qualifications and appointing authorities for members of the Public Charter School Commission, to better align Idaho law with best practices.

Status:  This bill has passed the House Floor and will be heard in the Senate Education Committee on Monday.  There will likely be friendly amendments to this bill.

HB224 – Contract Transition

This legislation clarifies that the employments contracts signed by educators for the 2012-2013 school year will continue to be governed by the laws that existed at the time the contracts were entered into. While the state’s legal guidance to school districts has been that this is already the case, this legislation provides greater certainty, and in doing so, seeks to prevent unnecessary lawsuits.

Status:  This bill passed the House Floor and Senate Education Committee and is currently on the Senate Floor.

HB225 – Flooring Protection Clarification

This legislation clarifies which version of Section 33-1003, Idaho Code is current law. After the repeal of SB 1108 (2011) through Proposition 1, the Attorney General’s Office has written that the version established separately and more recently by HB 603 (2012) takes precedence over the 2010 version of the statute. The published version of Idaho Code, however, does not recognize the changes brought about by HB 603 in 2012, and show Section 33-1003 reverting to its 2010 version after the repeal of SB 1108. This legislation clarifies that it is the version passed in HB 603 by the 2012 Legislature that is the current version of Section 33-1003. HB 603 (2012) established a self-funded, 97% ADA funding protection for Idaho school districts, starting in FY13. This replaced the 97% state funded ADA funding protection that was put in place for one year only for FY12.

Status:  This bill passed the House Floor and Senate Education Committee and is currently on the Senate Floor.

HB226 – Alternative School Funding

This legislation provides a way to calculate support units for the Idaho Youth Challenge program.  Under the state’s current laws and rules, the State Department of Education would be unable to recognize all of the students who attend the program, due to its accelerated, cohort-based approach to education.

Status:  This bill passed the House Floor and Senate Education Committee and is currently on the Senate Floor.

HB227 – Tax Credits

This bill provides a credit on state income taxes to individuals and corporations that make donations to scholarship granting organizations (SGO’s) that provide scholarships to qualified K-12 students attending approved schools.

FISCAL NOTE

The bill provides a tax credit to individuals and corporations that make donations to scholarship granting organizations (SGO’s). For individuals, the credit is equal to the full amount of the donation. For corporations, the credit is equal to the full amount of the donation up to 50% of the corporate taxpayer’s total state tax liability. The total amount of credits is limited to $10 million in each fiscal year. If the cap is reached, the cap will automatically increase according to the increase in the consumer price index. There are restrictions on which students qualify for scholarships under the program. Eligibility is limited to students who:

a.) have household incomes less than 150% of the maximum income that can be earned to qualify for the national free and reduced price lunch program (185% of the federal poverty level), and

b.) attended a public school in the preceding semester, are entering kindergarten or first grade, or are starting school in Idaho for the first time, and

c.) reside in Idaho and attend a school located in Idaho while receiving an educational scholarship.

Projected state savings: $3,350,672

Projected local savings: $2,490,900

Projected savings overall: $5,841,572

Status:  This bill has been held and a new bill has been printed.

HB275 – Use it or Lose It

This legislation allows Public Schools use it or lose it flexibility in staffing certificated positions.  A district may employ nine and one-half percent (9.5%) fewer positions without a reduction in the number of funded positions being imposed.

Status:  This bill has passed the House Education Committee and is currently on the House Floor.

HB286 – School Vouchers

This bill provides a credit on state income taxes to individuals and corporations that make donations to scholarship granting organizations (SGO’s) that provide scholarships to qualified K-12 students attending approved schools.

FISCAL NOTE

The bill provides a tax credit to individuals and corporations that make donations to scholarship granting organizations (SGO’s). For individuals, the credit is equal to the full amount of the donation. For corporations, the credit is equal to the full amount of the donation up to 50% of the corporate taxpayer’s total state tax liability. The total amount of credits is limited to $10 million in each fiscal year. If the cap is reached, the cap will automatically increase according to the increase in the consumer price index. There are restrictions on which students qualify for scholarships under the program. Eligibility is limited to students who:

a.) have household incomes less than 150% of the maximum income that can be earned to qualify for the national free and reduced price lunch program (185% of the federal poverty level), and

b.) attended a public school in the preceding semester, are entering kindergarten or first grade, or are starting school in Idaho for the first time, and

c.) reside in Idaho and attend a school located in Idaho while receiving an educational scholarship.

Projected state savings: $3,350,672

Projected local savings: $2,490,900

Projected savings overall: $5,841,572

Status – This bill has passed the House Revenue and Taxation Committee and is headed to the House Floor.

HB295 – Calculation of Education Support Units

This legislation restores the ability of the State Department of Education to calculate support units to the nearest hundredth, rather than the nearest tenth. This ability was lost through the repeal of S1184 and related laws through Proposition 3, which caused a reversion to Idaho’s 2010 version of Section 33-1002. Calculating to the nearest hundredth allows funding to more accurately follow each student.

Status – This bill has passed the House Revenue and Taxation Committee and is headed to the House Floor.

HB307 – Use of Funds Related to 1.67% Placed Back on the Grid

Reductions in state funding for salary-based apportionment during the FY10-FY12 period caused school districts to reduce the number of certificated instructional positions, reduce the number of contract days, or a combination of the two. This legislation directs that the additional 1.67% in salary-based apportionment funds that will be distributed to school districts as a result of the removal of the “5th factor” shift in salary-based apportionment be utilized in FY14 either to increase the number of certificated instructional positions or number of contract days, as compared to FY13, or a combination of the two.

Status – This bill has passed the House Revenue and Taxation Committee and is headed to the House Floor.

HCR003 – Cursive Writing

This is a concurrent resolution, not a statutory change.  This concurrent resolution requests that the State Board of Education commence rulemaking to provide that cursive handwriting be taught in the public schools of the State of Idaho.

Status:  ADOPTED

SB1005 – Prohibits SBOE from Passing Online Requirement

This legislation establishes a prohibition on the establishment of online class requirements for high school graduation by the State Board of Education or the State Department of Education without the express authorization of the Idaho Legislature.

Status:  WILL LIKELY NOT BE HEARD

SB1026 – Signatures for Referenda

While this legislation is not education related, if passed, it will have an impact on any referenda that may be brought forward in the future.  This legislation addresses the balance between urban and rural voters in the question of qualifying initiatives or referendums for the ballot. It would require collecting signatures of not less than 6% of registered voters in each of at least 22 Idaho legislative districts, provided that the total number of signatures equals at least 6% of the number of registered voters in the state.

Status:  This bill was pulled and rewritten in a new form.

SB1028 – Mastery Advancement Program

This bill would end the pilot phase for the Mastery Advancement Program, removing language limiting the availability to school districts and the duration of the program.

Status:  LAW

SB1054 – High School Reading Requirement

This bill would require all high school students to read Atlas Shrugged before graduating.  The sponsor indicates that in an age when personal responsibility is waning, this high school graduation requirement will stimulate debate.

Status:  WILL NOT BE HEARD

SB1055 – Posting Information on the District Website

This legislation reinstates requirement that school budgets and master labor agreements be posted on a district’s website.

Status:  This bill passed both the Senate and House Floors and is headed to the Governor for signature.

SB1056 – Denying Enrollment for Convicted Felons

This legislation would require the School Board to deny enrollment at any of its schools to anyone who has been imprisoned for one year or more, unless five years or more have elapsed since their pardon.  We have strong reservations about this bill and the requirement that all students remain in school.  In addition, the Department of Corrections also has concerns about this legislation

Status:  THIS BILL WILL NOT BE HEARD

SB1057aa – Instructional Staff Time Allowance to Visit Parents

The purpose of this bill is to facilitate kindergarten teachers visiting with parents to help strengthen the working relationship between the teacher, the parents or guardians, and the student.

Status:  This bill passed the Senate Floor and House Floors and is headed to the Governor.

SB1085 – School Counseling Act

This legislation would direct that Idaho schools provide, on a full time basis, a ratio of one (1) school counselor per three hundred twenty-five (325) students, as well as providing for an experience and education multiplier to determine counselors’ salaries.

Status:  THIS BILL WILL LIKELY NOT BE HEARD

SB1086 – Education Class Sizes

This legislation would establish a maximum number of students assigned to each teacher, with these limits being eighteen (18) students per class for grades K through 3, twenty-two (22) students per class for grades 4 through 8, and twenty-five (25) for grades 9 through 12.

Status:  THIS BILL WILL LIKELY NOT BE HEARD

SB1087 – Academic Progress for Driver’s Licenses

Proof of attendance in school has been a requirement for obtaining a driver’s license for applicants under the age of 18. This bill would also require applicants to provide proof that they are making satisfactory academic progress. The express intent of this bill is to provide an incentive for improving student learning.

Status:  THIS BILL DID NOT PASS THE SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE SO IS DEAD

SB1088 – School District Consolidation

This legislation provides for a protocol to identify districts that would see financial savings by consolidating services, as well as providing for incentives to encourage consolidation.

Status:  THIS BILL WILL LIKELY NOT BE HEARD

SB1089 – Teacher Early Retirement Incentive Program

This legislation repeals the Early Retirement Incentive program for teachers. This program distributes bonuses to teachers who are at least age 55 and are retiring before age 63 and before reaching their PERSI Rule of 90. The bonuses are paid over the summer, after completion of their teaching duties. The program was originally established in 1996 as a way to encourage the retirement of teachers who did not wish to receive technology training and incorporate technology into instruction. All remaining teachers have long since received this training, and it has been a requirement in Idaho teacher preparation programs for many years. It has been claimed that this program saves the state money by encouraging more higher paid, veteran teachers to retire and be replaced by younger, lower paid teachers. However, Idaho’s actual experience has shown that the number of teachers retiring early has remained essentially unchanged during the most recent two years, in which the program was repealed, as compared to the previous five years. Thus, the program does not appear to have functioned as an incentive to encourage more teachers to retire, but rather, as an extra bonus to those who would have retired regardless. This legislation ensures that these scarce dollars remain in the classroom, as they have been in FY12 and FY13, and are not diverted to pay bonuses to those who are no longer teaching.

Status:  This bill passed the Senate and House Floors and is headed to the Governor.

SB1090 – Financial Emergency

Amends Idaho Code § 33-552 “Financial Emergency” by lowering two separate requirements for a local school district to declare a financial emergency, should financial conditions exist that would require the district to reduce personnel costs. Requires that the Reduction in Force (RIF) decisions, which are at the sole discretion of the board of trustees, not be made solely on seniority or contract status; further requires school districts to adopt policies establishing the methods to recall individuals who have been part of a RIF.

Status:  This bill was passed the Senate Education Committee and is headed to the Senate Floor.

SB1091a – IDLA Funding

This legislation creates a stable, long-term funding formula for the Idaho Digital Learning Academy (IDLA), establishes a portal for online classes, reestablishes the dual credit for the early completers program and makes technical changes to the “8 in 6” legislation.

Status:  This bill was amended and passed the Senate and House Floors and is headed to the Governor.

SB1092 – Increased Funding for Math and Science Teachers

This legislation reinstates ongoing formula-driven funding for school districts and public charter schools to meet the state’s increased high school graduation requirements for math and science courses, which start with the Class of 2013. SB 1184 (2011) previously provided this funding to hire additional math and science teachers, or pay for the necessary online math and science classes, at local school district discretion. The repeal of SB 1184 through Proposition 3 eliminated this funding for schools.

Status:  This bill passed the Senate and House Floors and is headed to the Governor.

Karen’s Note:  It was interesting that that the IEA testified against this bill in both the Senate and the House.  We are unclear what the motive was, but they indicated that they would prefer to wait for the Governor’s Education Task Force to make recommendations.

SB1093 – Transportation Funding

This legislation codifies the Legislature’s approach to budgeting for public school pupil transportation costs and discretionary funds, which has been in place for FY11, FY12 and FY13. Under this approach, intent language was included in the appropriation bill which set aside the provisions of Section 33-1006, Idaho Code, reduced pupil transportation reimbursements by $7.5 million, and transferred the savings to state discretionary funds for public schools. This legislation eliminates the need to continue setting aside Idaho Code through intent language by moving that language into Idaho Code.

Status:  This bill passed the Senate Floor and House Education Committee and is currently on the House Floor.

SB1097a – Educating Out of State Students

This legislation will prevent Idaho school districts from having to use Idaho taxpayer funds to educate out-of-state students who are placed in Idaho group homes.

Status:  This bill was amended and passed the Senate and House Floors and is headed to the Governor.

SB1098 – Open Negotiations

To provide for a negotiations process that is open to the public.

Status:  This bill passed the Senate Floor and House Floors and is headed to the Governor.

SB1133 – School Security Plans

Intent of this legislation is to bring the complimentary core competencies of Local School Boards and Local Law Enforcement together to create, then continuously measure and improve the effectiveness of, the security and safety measures in Idaho’s K-12 Schools and transportation systems.

Having a much better understanding of the available resources within the local districts, the County Sheriffs, or their designees, will work with the local School Boards in creating, training to, and measuring the effectiveness of, individual school security and safety plans. To ensure continuous improvement, these plans will annually be measured for effectiveness, have student/staff training held, identify issues and corrections to those issues made. These measures will then be reported annually to the State Department of Education, securely (FOUO), to act as a central repository of measure for school safety and security that are to be used in the case of an incident, as well as a repository for lessons learned that can be used in other Districts.

The results of all metrics regarding school security and safety are added to and will be exempt from Freedom of Information Act Requests in accordance with ID code 9-340B (Records Exempt from Disclosure).

Status:  This bill passed the Senate Floor and is headed to the House Education Committee.

 

OTHER ISBA LEGISLATION

Funding – Resolution #1

This resolution contains many elements – all related to funding of public education in some way.  Below is a breakdown of the pieces we are currently working on:

Bringing Back Use it or Lose it on a Permanent Basis

This bill passed the House Education Committee and is currently on the House Floor.  While we had hoped to have a permanent bill, this bill will have a one year sunset. There is an expectation that the Governor’s Education Task Force will address this issue.  We will continue to support this legislation.

Lottery Funds and Building Maintenance

One of the elements found in our Resolution #1 was to move the Lottery Funds back into building maintenance rather that allowing it to be used as discretionary funds.  While the Governor’s proposed budget did make that change, Superintendent Luna’s budget proposal contained one-quarter of the replacement dollars.  He indicated that if approved, he will ask for full replacement next year.  We will support the Superintendent’s budget on this issue.

Charter School Oversight – Resolution #2

As previously indicated, we were able to come to agreement with the IASA, SDE, the Charter School Network, and the Charter School Coalition.  There are definitely parts we like and parts that we don’t particularly care for.  I always say that when both parties like some and don’t like some that it is probably a good piece of legislation. That is the case here.

We agreed to print two bills.  One bill will have all the charter school oversight language in it (we like this part) and the ability for multiple authorizers (not so crazy about this).  The second bill will contain funding that will go to authorizers (we like this part) and funding to charter schools for facilities (again, not so crazy about this).  Both bills have been printed.  HB206 and HB221.

There will be a net fiscal impact because of the facilities funding piece, but we feel that we struck as good a deal as we could.  We agreed to support the oversight bill and remain quiet on the facilities funding bill.

PERSI Retirement for Employees in Four Day School Weeks – Resolution # 5

We have had several meetings with PERSI and have discussed the issue with superintendents in four day school weeks.  Because this is a rule amendment and not a legislative issue, we have a little more time to complete this.  We do believe that PERSI is making some assumptions that may not be accurate and thus affecting the retirement of four day school week employees.  Once the legislature has slowed down, we will pursue this more fully.

Increasing Supplemental Levies to Three (3) Years – Resolution #7

This legislation would allow school districts to run a supplemental levy for 1, 2, or 3 years.  Currently, the maximum length of time for a supplemental levy is two years.  We have had this resolution before and have been unable to find a sponsor for the legislation.  The Boundary County School District is currently working to find a sponsor.

Non-Certificated Personnel Grievance – Resolution #8

Both the Kellogg and Meridian school districts have agreed on language on this bill.  This legislation may be sidelined for this year.  We have a lot on our plates and aren’t sure we can get this done this year.  We will hold this for next year.

Link to Legislation:

If you want to view the actual language of any piece of legislation, click here.

 

 

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