2019 Legislative Session Bill Summaries

Below are summaries of bills important to IASB that are moving through the legislative process this session.

Bills on the Move This Week

Standards & Accountability 

SF 394 – Online Learning Requirements: This bill allows public and accredited nonpublic schools to offer an online learning course to meet the state’s “offer and teach” requirement.

The online course must be through the Department of Education’s Iowa Learning Online (ILO) platform, an online course created and offered by the school district, or through a private provider as long as it is approved by the department of education.

The bill also adds courses developed by a partnership or consortium of schools that have developed a course; defines a partnership or consortium as two or more school districts or accredited nonpublic schools, or a combination of both; if required courses are inapplicable or waived, that specified course must be provided by the online course or by a good-faith effort by the public or nonpublic school.

IASB is registered in support of the bill because it allows district flexibility in offering courses and helps districts fulfill certain aspects of required coursework that may be hard to provide. The bill passed the House on a 96-0 vote. The bill already passed the Senate on a 49-0 vote and will now go to Governor Reynolds for her consideration.

SF 603 – Concurrent Enrollment: This bill updates the current concurrent enrollment law to provide additional weighting and allow schools to use concurrent enrollment to meet math and science needs. Specifically, the bill states:

  • Increases weighting for liberal arts courses from .46 to .5;
  • A school district will have been deemed to meet the offer and teach requirement of a unit of math or science if they are in a sharing agreement with a community college and as long as the number of students enrolled in the class is at least five, and the total enrollment of district does not exceed 600;
  • A school district with enrollment above 600 students can enter into an agreement with a community college to meet a science, math, or CTE requirement under offer and teach will have been deemed to have met the standard but will not receive supplementary weighting;
  • Bill adds definitions for “full-time” and “part-time” student as a full-time student enrolled in 24 or more postsecondary credit hours. The cost of coursework in excess of full-time will be the responsibility of the student or guardian;
  • Expands concurrent enrollment to include academic and CTE courses offered to students of accredited nonpublic schools under a contract with a community college;
  • Non-public students are eligible for weighting if the number of students enrolled in the class exceeds five, and the total enrollment in grades 9-12 does not exceed 200;
  • The state will pay the community college directly for courses offered to non-public school students.

IASB is registered in support of the bill because it gives districts additional funds and options to expand concurrent enrollment courses to students. The bill passed the Senate on a 49-0 vote and heads to the House for their consideration.

Educator Quality

HF 637 – Reporting of Misconduct on School Employees: This bill would add to information required to be reported to the board of educational examiners relate to employee misconduct. 

Within 30 days of action taken, a school board, AEA board, school superintendent, chief administrator of an AEA, those in charge of an accredited nonpublic school must report to the BOEE any instance of disciplinary action taken against a licensed school employee, as well as the nonrenewal or termination of a person’s contract, resignation for reasons of alleged or actual misconduct when a person held a license. Additionally, an employee of the department of education who is made aware of alleged misconduct by an individual licensed by the board must report the alleged misconduct.

IASB is registered neutral on the bill. The bill passed the Senate on a 50-0 vote. The bill already passed the House on a 98-0 vote and will be sent to Governor Reynolds for her consideration.

Fiscal Responsibility & Stewardship

HF 596 – Whole Grade Sharing Incentive Extension: This bill would extend the whole grade sharing and district reorganization incentives for an additional five years, through 2024.

IASB registered in favor of the bill because it gives districts going through or looking at whole grade sharing/reorganization the assurance of the incentives. The bill passed the House on a 97-0 vote. The Senate companion bill (SF 602) is eligible for debate on the floor.

Governance

HF 598 – Siblings in Same Classroom: The original bill would require school districts to assign siblings who are at the same grade learning level to be in the same classroom if the siblings’ parents or guardian requests it. The bill was amended requiring administrators to meet with parents or guardians of siblings prior to assigning classrooms for grades K-5. The bill also states that after the first grading period, the school principal may reassign one or more siblings to a different classroom if having siblings in the same classroom has become disruptive. A parent or guardian may appeal the assignment of siblings by the principal to the school board.

IASB is registered neutral on the bill because it will potentially take away district flexibility on classroom assignments. The bill passed the House on a 91-5 vote and already passed the Senate on a 44-5 vote. The bill heads to Governor Reynolds for her consideration.

HF 690 – Children’s Mental Health System: This bill would create a Children’s Mental Health System, a system advisory board, and certain children’s behavioral health services.

The bill came from recommendations from the governor’s task force on children’s mental health. The bill touches on several issues:

  • Creates a children’s behavioral health state board to provide guidance on implementation and management of the health system. Members are appointed to four-year staggered terms;
  • A child can receive services from the children’s program if they are under 18, a resident of Iowa, diagnosed with a serious emotional disturbance, the family has a household income equal to or less than 500% of the federal poverty level, except if the family income is between 150% but not more than 500% will be subject to a copayment, a single statewide sliding fee scale, or additional cost-sharing requirements. The bill does not apply to intellectual disability services or brain injury services for children;
  • The Director of the Department of Human Services will ensure that children’s behavioral health core service domains are covered services for the medical assistance program. The medical program will reimburse Medicaid enrolled providers for covered services when medically necessary.;
  • Given appropriate funding, each mental health and disability region is required to pay for these services for eligible children, unless a child is on a waiting list or the child does not meet the eligibility criteria for such services;
  • DHS must adopt rules from recommendations made by the state board to define the services included in the core domains;
  • Each mental health and disability services region must submit plans to DHS on the implementation of the children’s behavioral health services no later than April 1, 2020;
  • Requires the administrator of the division of mental health and disability services to establish and maintain a data collection and management information system oriented to the needs of children using the mental health system, providers, DHS, and other programs or facilities in accordance with the disability services system data source;
  • The system will be used to identify, collect, and analyze service outcome and performance measures data in order to assess the effects of the services on children.The administrator will annually submit a report to the state board and the public that outlines information collected by DHS indicating the changes and trends in the mental health system;
  • The bill expands to add a school attendance category among categories that information is collected in order to attain outcomes;
  • One member representing the education system in the region designated by the regional children’s advisory board will sit on the regional governing board;
  • Adds a statewide 24-hour crisis hotline.

IASB is registered neutral on the bill. The bill passed the Senate on a 46-2 vote and already passed the House on an 83-14 vote. The bill will be sent to Governor Reynolds for her consideration.

HF 692 –Tracking and Counting of Absentee Ballots:  This bill as passed by the House addressed only the use of bar codes for verification of absentee ballots.  It was amended in the Senate State Government Committee to replace that bill with the provision of SF 575, previously approved by the committee but not debated on the Senate floor.   As the bill pertains to school elections, there are several provisions:

  • Requires all bond ballots to include language on current and expected property tax rate and the impact on the average home in the district.
  • Eliminates the December special election date in even numbered years;
  • Changes special election dates in odd-numbered years to the second Tuesday in January, last Tuesday in April, second Tuesday in September, first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. For even numbered years: second Tuesday in January, last Tuesday in April or second Tuesday in September;
  • Shorten voting hours to be open no longer than 7 p.m. on election day;
  • Allow the board secretary to seat the new board at a special meeting in advance of the first regular meeting after the canvass for the regular school election;
  • In the case of a vacancy, the person elected should qualify within ten days from the final canvass of the election by the county board and will hold the office of the unexpired term until a successor is elected or appointed;
  • Changes the term of office for a school board member from a specific date to when the board holds its organizational meeting.

IASB registered opposed to SF 575 (and is now opposed to HF 692 with the amendment) because of the elimination of the December election date in even numbered years and the additional ballot requirements for bonds. The bill passed the Senate on a 31-18 vote. The bill will head back to the House because of the amendments. If the House agrees, the bill will be sent to Governor Reynolds for her consideration.

SSB 1193 – Empower Rural Iowa Act: This bill provides incentives for broadband and workforce housing. This bill is one of Governor Reynolds legislative priorities for the 2019 session. There are a few provisions linked to education:

  • Adds the definition of “facilitate” to mean a communication service provider’s ability to provide broadband service at or above the download and upload speed to a home, school, farm or business within a reasonable time and price at the request of the consumer;
  • Strikes the requirement that broadband service be at or above 25 megabits/second to say that broadband service should be at or above download and upload speeds set by the chief information officer’s office by rule. A representative of schools is included in the office;

IASB is registered in support of the bill because it helps connect rural schools and communities with high speed broadband internet access. The bill passed out of the Senate Ways and Means committee.

SF 283 – Conflicts of Interest in Government Contracts:
This bill allows government entities, such as school boards to increase the dollar threshold in which they can pay for services by the school board member to the district, such as substitute teaching. The current threshold is $2,500 and the bill increases that to $6,000. The bill does not include a growth factor.

IASB registered in support of this bill as it allows districts the flexibility to contract with school board members who might be retired educators to substitute teach in hard to fill positions or to serve as coaches. The bill passed the House on a 97-0 vote. The bill already passed the Senate on a 45-3 vote. The bill heads to Governor Reynolds for her consideration.

SF 631/HF 779 – Omnibus Tax Bill/STO Increases: The Senate version of the bill increases the amount available for the school tuition organization tax credits from $13 million to $17 million.  The House version of the bill increases the amount available for the school tuition organization tax credits from $13 million to $14 million. IASB is registered opposed to both bills based our resolution that opposes an increase in tax credits because it puts pressure on the ability of the general fund to adequately support public schools. Both bills have been approved by their respective chamber’s Ways and Means Committee and are eligible for floor debate.

School Infrastructure

HF 546 – SAVE Extension: This bill would extend the SAVE (Secure an Advanced Vision for Education) fund until January 1st, 2051. The bill has several provisions similar to the one that passed the Iowa House in 2018:

  • Extending the sunset date to January 1st, 2051;
  • Increasing the amount of SAVE money going to direct property tax relief.The PTER (Property Tax Equity Relief) fund will receive 3.1% each year, and half of the incremental increase in funds transferred for school aid formula property tax relief;
  • Creates a foundation base supplemental payment fund to provide direct property tax relief to all school districts through the school aid formula. This funding will come from the other half of the funds generated from the incremental increase;
  • Requires the incremental increase for additional property tax relief through the school aid formula to occur when annual growth in SAVE is 2% or greater. It caps the amount transferred from SAVE to PTER and the foundation base supplemental payment at 30%;
  • Establishes a career academy fund of one million dollars, but not to exceed five million dollars to go towards giving districts competitive grants to establish a career academy;
  • Adoption of a new revenue purpose statement for use of SAVE funds by January 1, 2031.
  • Public hearing and opportunity for citizens to have a 14-day window to petition for an election if district is going to bond against SAVE funds for any eligible use other than athletic facilities.
  • Public hearing and opportunity for citizens to have a 14-day window to petition for an election if district is going to use SAVE funds, pay as you go bond against future revenue for the construction or remodeling of athletic facility that is not connected to an attendance center.
  • Clarifies that school safety and security infrastructure are allowable expenses under the definition of school infrastructure.

IASB is registered in support of this bill as it fulfills an IASB legislative priority. The bill passed out of the Senate Ways and Means committee and will be placed on the Senate debate calendar. The House already passed the bill on a 96-3 vote.

Bills Signed by the Governor

SF 159 - Completion of Teacher Preparation Program and Initial Licensure: This bill allows the Department of Education to set the minimum passing score to complete the practitioner preparation program in order to receive an initial teaching license. Currently, students must achieve a score above the 25th percentile to get licensure. The bill also provides additional measures:

  • Department of Education must waive the assessment requirements for one year for someone who has completed a teacher prep program, but below the minimum score in another state;
  • Board of Educational Examiners must create a nonrenewable one-year license for applicants who obtain a waiver and present it within 30 days of issuance;
  • An applicant who is applying for a one-year waiver must provide documentation from the school district or accredited nonpublic school that an offer has been made and that the school made a good faith effort (amended) but failed to fill the position with an Iowa-licensed teacher.
  • Department of Education shall utilize scores required for similar tests in the states contiguous to Iowa; and the supply and demand imbalance on content areas or teaching positions currently experienced in Iowa for setting the minimum passing score.
  • A student who passes a teacher preparation program and have also passed the PRAXIS assessment even if the department sets a different score.

IASB is registered in support of the bill because it provides districts with flexibility to hire teachers in hard to fill subjects or areas. The bill passed the Senate on a 48-0 vote and passed the House on a 71-28 vote. Governor Reynolds signed the bill into law on April 16, 2019.

Standards & Accountability

SF 139/HF 420 – Financial Literacy Requirement: This bill delays the requirement that all high school students in public and accredited nonpublic schools take a one-half unit course in personal finance literacy to the 2022-23 graduating class, instead of the 2018-19 graduating class.
 
IASB is registered in support due to previous legislation that passed last session that would have required this for the 2019 graduating class. Given the short notice, several districts would not have been able to comply with the law. This provides districts time to create and properly administer the course. The bill passed the Senate on a vote of 48-0 and was sent to the House for consideration. The House bill passed the House Education Committee.
 
SF 394 – Online Learning Requirements: 
This bill allows public and accredited nonpublic schools to offer an online learning course to meet the state’s “offer and teach” requirement.

The online course must be through the Department of Education’s Iowa Learning Online (ILO) platform, an online course created and offered by the school district, or through a private provider as long as it is approved by the department of education.

The bill also adds courses developed by a partnership or consortium of schools that have developed a course; defines a partnership or consortium as two or more school districts or accredited nonpublic schools, or a combination of both; if required courses are inapplicable or waived, that specified course must be provided by the online course or by a good-faith effort by the public or nonpublic school.

IASB is registered in support of the bill because it allows district flexibility in offering courses and helps districts fulfill certain aspects of required coursework that may be hard to provide. The bill passed the Senate on a 49-0 vote and has passed the House Education committee.

SF 488 – Concurrent Enrollment: This bill updates the current concurrent enrollment law to provide additional weighting and allow schools to use concurrent enrollment to meet math and science needs. Specifically, the bill states:

  • Increases weighting for liberal arts courses from .46 to .5;
  • A school district will have been deemed to meet the offer and teach requirement of a unit of math or science if they are in a sharing agreement with a community college and as long as the number of students enrolled in the class is at least five, and the total enrollment of district does not exceed 600;
  • A school district with enrollment above 600 students can enter into an agreement with a community college to meet a science, math, or CTE requirement under offer and teach will have been deemed to have met the standard but will not receive supplementary weighting;
  • Bill adds definitions for “full-time” and “part-time” student as a full-time student enrolled in 24 or more postsecondary credit hours. The cost of coursework in excess of full-time will be the responsibility of the student or guardian;
  • Expands concurrent enrollment to include academic and CTE courses offered to students of accredited nonpublic schools under a contract with a community college;
  • Nonpublic students are eligible for weighting if the number of students enrolled in the class exceeds five, and the total enrollment in grades 9-12 does not exceed 200;
  • The state will pay the community college directly for courses offered to nonpublic school students.
IASB is registered in support of the bill because it gives districts additional funds and options to expand concurrent enrollment courses to students. The bill passed out of the Senate Appropriations committee.

Educator Quality

SF 159 – Completion of Teacher Preparation Program and Initial Licensure: This bill allows the Department of Education to set the minimum passing score to complete the practitioner preparation program in order to receive an initial teaching license. Currently, students must achieve a score above the 25th percentile to get licensure. The bill also provides additional measures:

  • Department of Education must waive the assessment requirements for one year for someone who has completed a teacher prep program, but below the minimum score in another state;
  • Board of Educational Examiners must create a nonrenewable one-year license for applicants who obtain a waiver and present it within 30 days of issuance;
  • An applicant who is applying for a one-year waiver must provide documentation from the school district or accredited nonpublic school that an offer has been made and that the school made a good faith effort (amended) but failed to fill the position with an Iowa-licensed teacher.
  • Department of Education shall utilize scores required for similar tests in all of the states contiguous to Iowa; and the supply and demand imbalance on content areas or teaching positions currently experienced in Iowa for setting the minimum passing score.
  • A student who passes a teacher preparation program and have also passed the PRAXIS assessment even if the department sets a different score.

IASB is registered in support of the bill because it provides districts with flexibility to hire teachers in hard to fill subjects or areas. The bill passed the Senate on a 48-0 vote.

Fiscal Responsibility & Stewardship

HF 592 – Eligibility of Statewide Preschool: This bill originally changed the date in which a child would be eligible for the statewide preschool program from September 15 to March 15. This would allow five-year-old children to attend the statewide preschool program. The bill was amended in committee to remove the change in the eligibility date and to allow weighting for any four or five-year-old attending preschool.
 
IASB is registered in support of the bill. The bill passed out of the House Education committee and has been assigned to the House Appropriations committee.
 
HF 596/SF 138 – Whole Grade Sharing Incentive Extension: This bill would extend the whole grade sharing and district reorganization incentives for an additional five years, through 2024.
 
IASB registered in favor of the bill because it gives districts going through or looking at whole grade sharing/reorganization the assurance of the incentives. The bill passed out of the House Education committee. The Senate bill passed out of the Senate Education Committee.HF 720 – Funding for Students in Adjudicated Facilities: This bill determines the fund weighting for students living in certain care facilities and who are enrolled in public schools. The bill would provide weighting equal to special education funding (1.08) if that child is living in a licensed individual or agency child care facility and it is determined that it is not in the child’s best interest to remain in their current school. The bill was amended in committee to narrow the focus to just adjudicated residential facilities.

IASB is registered neutral on the bill because of concerns over the scope of the bill and the potential costs. The bill passed out of the House Education committee.
 
HF 758 – Education Appropriations: The bill a
ppropriates $954.0 million in FY 2020 for PK-12, Community Colleges, Regents Universities, and other education programs.


Major changes impacting PK-12 programming:

  • An increase of $356,000 for Career and Technical Education. This amount will be allocated to regional career and technical education planning partnerships.
  • An increase of $1.0 million for general aid for the Early Childhood Iowa Fund. The increase will be allocated to local Early Childhood Iowa boards.
  • An increase of $300,000 for the Statewide Student Assessment. However, the increase is designated to offset costs of providing the assessment to nonpublic schools by the Iowa Testing Program.
  • An increase of $50,000 for the statewide clearing house associated with the work-based learning included in the Future Ready Iowa Initiative.
  • An increase of $1.0 million for the Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates (IJAG) program.
  • $500,000 for the Iowa Learning Online Initiative. In FY 2017 and FY 2018, this initiative was supported by E-Rate dollars.
  • A new appropriation of $3.0 million for Children’s Mental Health School-Based Training and Support. The funding will be allocated to Area Education Agencies (AEAs) to be used as follows:
    • $1.4 million for mental health awareness training in schools
    • $1.4 million for identifying approaches to meet mental health needs in schools and strengthen community support for students
    • $200,000 for a mental health resources clearinghouse to be used by schools and community providers

Additionally, the bill maintains the state aid reduction to Area Education Agencies (AEAs) at $15.0 million (same level as in FY 2019) and eliminates the FY 2020 state aid appropriation for the Instructional Support Program (note that this has not received any state funding since FY 2011).

Community Colleges General Aid: The bill provides a $7.0 million increase (3.45 percent) in general aid to Community Colleges.

IASB is registered undecided on the bill because there are provisions we support as well as provisions we oppose. The bill passed the House by a vote of 58-38 and is now in the Senate Appropriations committee. 

SF 316 – Special Education Interim Committee: This bill would require the creation of a special education interim study committee to review and make recommendations regarding special education program requirements and outcomes for students with IEPs (individualized education programs). The committee will have representatives from the Department of Education, Area Education Agencies, school boards, school administrators, special education teachers, general education teachers, mental health professionals and parents which children who have IEPs and those that don’t. The committee will report its findings and recommendations to the legislature and Iowa’s federal representatives by December 18, 2020.
 
IASB is registered in favor of the bill because we need to ensure students are receiving the funding and education they need to succeed. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 49-0 and has passed the House Education committee.
 
SF 445 – ELL Weighting: This bill would increase the weighting level for students identified as limited English proficient from .22 to .296.
 
IASB is registered in favor of the bill because it provides additional resources to districts to help provide additional services to ELL students. The bill passed out of the Senate Education committee.

SF 547 – Vouchers: This bill would provide a voucher for public school students to attend a private or religious school. The bill was amended to limit the voucher to only students who have an IEP or 504 disability plan.
 
IASB is registered opposed to the bill as our members have clearly stated opposition to any voucher program. The bill is in the Senate Appropriations committee. 

Governance

HF 690 – Children’s Mental Health System: This bill would create a Children’s Mental Health System, a system advisory board, and certain children’s behavioral health services.
 
The bill came from recommendations from the governor’s task force on children’s mental health. The bill touches on several issues:

  • Creates a children’s behavioral health state board to provide guidance on implementation and management of the health system. Members are appointed to four-year staggered terms;
  • A child can receive services from the children’s program if they are under 18, a resident of Iowa, diagnosed with a serious emotional disturbance, the family has a household income equal to or less than 500% of the federal poverty level, except if the family income is between 150% but not more than 500% will be subject to a copayment, a single statewide sliding fee scale, or additional cost-sharing requirements. The bill does not apply to intellectual disability services or brain injury services for children;
  • The Director of the Department of Human Services will ensure that children’s behavioral health core service domains are covered services for the medical assistance program. The medical program will reimburse Medicaid enrolled providers for covered services when medically necessary.;
  • Given appropriate funding, each mental health and disability region is required to pay for these services for eligible children, unless a child is on a waiting list or the child does not meet the eligibility criteria for such services;
  • DHS must adopt rules from recommendations made by the state board to define the services included in the core domains;
  • Each mental health and disability services region must submit plans to DHS on the implementation of the children’s behavioral health services no later than April 1, 2020;
  • Requires the administrator of the division of mental health and disability services to establish and maintain a data collection and management information system oriented to the needs of children using the mental health system, providers, DHS, and other programs or facilities in accordance with the disability services system data source;
  • The system will be used to identify, collect, and analyze service outcome and performance measures data in order to assess the effects of the services on children.  The administrator will annually submit a report to the state board and the public that outlines information collected by DHS indicating the changes and trends in the mental health system;
  • The bill expands to add a school attendance category among categories that information is collected in order to attain outcomes;
  • One member representing the AEA administrators in the region designated by the regional children’s advisory board will sit on the regional governing board.

IASB is registered neutral on the bill. The bill passed the House by a vote of 83-14 and is eligible for debate in the Senate.
 
HF 598 – Siblings in Same Classroom: The original bill would require school districts to assign siblings who are at the same grade learning level to be in the same classroom if the siblings’ parents or guardian requests it. The bill was amended in committee requiring administrators to meet with parents or guardians of siblings prior to assigning classrooms for grades K-5.
 
IASB is registered neutral on the bill because it will potentially take away district flexibility on classroom assignments. The bill passed the House by a vote of 91-5 and passed the Senate Education committee.

HF 637 – Reporting of Misconduct on School Employees: This bill would add to information required to be reported to the board of educational examiners relate to employee misconduct.
 
Within 30 days of action taken, a school board, AEA board, school superintendent, chief administrator of an AEA, those in charge of an accredited nonpublic school must report to the BOEE any instance of disciplinary action taken against a licensed school employee, as well as the nonrenewal or termination of a person’s contract, resignation for reasons of alleged or actual misconduct when a person held a license. Additionally, an employee of the department of education who is made aware of alleged misconduct by an individual licensed by the board must report the alleged misconduct.
 
IASB is registered neutral on the bill. 
The bill passed the House on a 98-0 vote and passed the Senate Education committee. 

HF 755 – Radon Testing: This bill would require schools to test for radon at each attendance center at least once by July 1, 2024, and once every five years after. Districts must also place the results of testing on their district website. The bill contains several key measures:

  • Extends the date that schools must have radon testing completed to July 1, 2024;
  • If the results of the short-term test are at or above four picocuries per liter, a second short-term test must be completed within sixty days;
  • If the average of the two short-term tests are at or above four picocuries per liter, the board shall hire a credentialed person to develop a radon mitigation plan and complete the mitigation within two years except if the district has plans to construct a new building or renovate the building within five years and will include mitigation;
  • Districts can pay for testing and mitigation from SAVE or PPEL funds.

IASB is registered undecided and the bill is in the House Appropriations committee. 

SF 186/HF 499 – Capacity of Vehicles Transporting Students: This bill adds vehicles designed to carry less than eleven people as an exemption from the definition of a school bus. These vehicles can only be used to transport students to activities or transport a student home due to illness or in case of emergency.

IASB is registered neutral on the bills due to their limited scope but ability to aid certain districts. SF 186 passed out of the Senate Transportation committee. HF 499 passed the House by a vote of 95-0 and is eligible for debate in the Senate. 

SF 197 – Use of Vehicles to Transport Students: 
This bill would allow pick-up trucks designed to carry nine passengers or less and weighing 10,000 pounds or less to be used as school buses. The bill prohibits the pick-up from carrying more passengers than there are seat belts. School districts do have the authority to prohibit the use of pick-up trucks as school buses if they choose.

IASB is registered neutral on the bill because it allows districts the flexibility to spend money on programs that might require a truck instead of a bus. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 49-0 and is eligible for debate in the House.
 
SF 283 – Conflicts of Interest in Government Contracts: This bill would allow government entities, such as school boards to increase the dollar threshold in which they can pay for services by the school board member to the district, such as substitute teaching. The current threshold is $2,500 and the bill increases that to $6,000. The House version was amended to remove the growth factor of increasing the dollar amount. The Senate bill does not include a growth factor.
 
IASB registered in support of this bill as it allows districts the flexibility to contract with school board members who might be retired educators to substitute teach in hard to fill positions or to serve as coaches. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 45-3 and is eligible for debate in the House.
 
SF 437 – Eligibility for Extracurricular Activities: This bill requires the Iowa High School Athletic Association and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union to develop policy that would avoid students having to serve multiple periods of ineligibility (double jeopardy) for one violation of school policy.
 
IASB is registered neutral on the bill until the policy has been developed and reviewed. 
The bill passed the Senate on a vote of 49-0 and passed the House Education committee. 

SF 502 – Whistleblower Protections: This bill outlines the procedures to notify employees of whistleblower protections through the Ombudsman’s Office. The bill states that an aggrieved employee may recover civil damages in an amount of to three times the employee’s annual salary and benefits. The bill also allows disclosure of information by an employee to a third-party human resource professional for injunctive relief if those services are contracted. Employers must inform new employees of the authority of the ombudsman to investigate complaints and provide information on how to contact the ombudsman including the telephone number.

IASB is registered neutral on the bill because it elevates internal complaints to the state level. The bill passed the Senate on a 49-0 vote. The bill heads to the House for consideration.

School Infrastructure

HF 546 – SAVE Extension: This bill would extend the SAVE (Secure an Advanced Vision for Education) fund until January 1st, 2051. The bill is nearly identical to the one that passed the Iowa House in 2018:

  • Extending the sunset date to January 1st, 2051;
  • Increasing the amount of SAVE money going to direct property tax relief. The PTER (Property Tax Equity Relief) fund will receive 2.1 percent plus two-thirds of an additional 10 percent (phased in a 1 percent a year if revenue growth exceeds 2 percent);
  • Creates a foundation base supplemental payment fund to provide direct property tax relief to all school districts. One-third of the funds generated by the 10 percent transfer noted above are dedicated to this fund.
  • Establishes a career academy fund of one million dollars, but not to exceed five million dollars to go towards giving districts competitive grants to establish a career academy;
  • Adoption of a new revenue purpose statement for use of SAVE funds by January 1, 2031.
  • Public hearing and opportunity for citizens to have a 14-day window to petition for an election if district is going to bond against SAVE funds for any eligible use other than athletic facilities.
  • Public hearing and opportunity for citizens to have a 14-day window to petition for an election if district is going to use SAVE funds, pay as you go bond against future revenue for the construction or remodeling of athletic facility that is not connected to an attendance center.
  • Clarifies that school safety and security infrastructure are allowable expenses under the definition of school infrastructure

IASB is registered in support of this bill which fulfills an IASB legislative priority. The bill passed out of the House on a 96-3 vote. The bill heads to the Senate for their consideration.  SF 74, the Senate companion to the House bill, is currently before the Senate Ways and Means Committee.