These are summaries of bills that are moving through the legislative process. Because there are a large number of education bills introduced each legislative session, we only provide summaries of bills that have a passed a committee in the House or Senate.
If you have further questions on any of these bills or any that have been introduced, please contact IASB Lobbyist Emily Piper or IASB Government Relations Director Michelle Johnson.
Bills That Died This Session
New Department of Education Director Chad Aldis was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 37-13 on Monday, April 17.
HF 604 – Teacher Protection and Removing Disruptive Students: The Senate used a strike after amendment to significantly change and improve the bill to make it much more workable for school districts.
This bill allows teachers to file a complaint with the ombudsman’s office if there’s violence in their classroom that they feel hasn’t been addressed by the school’s administration. Retaliation in the form of disciplinary action against teachers for reporting an issue to law enforcement or the ombudsman is prohibited.
Teachers must report to the principal, within 24 hours, any threat of violence or incident of violence that results in injury, property damage or assault by a student. Teachers may notify the parents of the student who made the threat or caused the incident and the parents of the student to whom the threat or incident was made. The principal must notify, within 24 hours of the teacher reporting it, the parents of the student who made the threat or caused the incident and the parents of the student to whom the threat was made or the violence occurred.
Additionally, the Department of Education will develop model polices for different grade levels that school districts would use to address threats of violence or incidents of violence resulting in property damage or assault. The policies must:
Incorporate strategies that are designed to correct the student’s behavior
Provide for parental conferences and, if appropriate, mental health counseling sessions
Be consistent with all state and federal laws and regulations that apply to special education
Provide escalating levels of discipline each time the student makes a threat of violence or causes an incident
Allow the school district to select the level of discipline they determine is appropriate for the level of violence
Allow the school district to suspend, expel, permanently remove from a class, or place a student in an alternative learning environment, such as a therapeutic classroom
If a student who makes a threat of violence or causes an incident has an individualized education program (IEP), there must be an IEP meeting
Be published on the district website and in the student handbook
Districts must provide a student handbook to the parent of each student, and parents must acknowledge that they received a copy, either electronically or in writing.
With the changes adopted by the Senate, IASB changed its registration from opposed to undecided because the flexibility provided to districts addressed our original concerns. The bill, as amended, passed the Senate by a vote of 49-0. The House concurred with the amendment and passed the bill by a vote of 94-0. It now goes to Governor Reynolds for her signature.
HF 614 – Out-of-State Teacher Licensure: This bill allows teachers to be licensed in Iowa if they have a full license from another state or country, have met all the requirements for licensure in another state except any assessment required by the state, or the applicant completed a teacher prep program in another country.
IASB is registered undecided on the bill. We think it’s a good way to get more teachers into Iowa classrooms but want to ensure they’re meeting all standards for licensure. The bill passed the House by a vote of 96-0 and passed the Senate by a vote of 49-0. It will now be sent to Governor Reynolds for her signature.
HF 672 – License Renewal Requirements for Advanced Degree Holders: This bill removes renewal requirements for teachers and administrators who have a master’s or doctoral degree and have been practicing for ten years. If they hold an evaluator approval endorsement, that still must be renewed every ten years. Additionally, they will still be subject to a background check every five years.
IASB is registered undecided on the bill, but we are generally supportive as it removes one burden from experienced teachers and administrators, while still requiring regular background checks. The bill passed the House by a vote of 98-0 and passed the Senate by a vote of 49-0 and goes to the governor for her signature.
HF 430 - Mandatory Reporters, Complaints Against Practitioners, BOEE Makeup: This bill was amended again by the Senate to make it a much better bill than the previous version. It makes any school employee 18 and older a mandatory reporter. If a licensed school employee is making a report on another licensed school employee, the identity of the person making the report will be kept confidential.
It requires the Department of Education to develop a process for reporting and investigating if a school employee is reasonably believed to have engaged in inappropriate behavior with a student. The process prohibits a school district from entering an agreement that:
Would prevent the district from talking about an incident, past performance or actions, or past allegations leading to discipline of a former employee with future employers
Waives liability of an employee’s previous actions or allegations of past wrongdoing
The process will require school districts to:
Provide all information and documentation related to an incident involving an employee licensed by the Board of Educational Examiners (BOEE) to the BOEE if that employee resigns or is terminated during the investigation.
Finish an investigation of an employee not licensed by the BOEE, even if the employee resigns or is terminated during the investigation.
Conduct a review of a potential employee’s employment history by contacting previous employers and checking the BOEE’s public license information to determine if there are any cases pending or licensure sanctions.
Keep reference information on employees and respond to requests for such information from potential employers. Unfounded and closed investigations do not need to be reported. School districts are immune from liability if they don’t knowingly disclose false information. They are also immune from civil liability from discussing an employee’s past incidents, actions, or allegations that led to discipline or resignation.
If a district is found to have not followed the established process, the administrator who did not ensure compliance will be subject to a BOEE hearing. This applies whether or not the employee under investigation is licensed by the BOEE.
If a district intentionally conceals information on a founded incident, they will be subject to a BOEE hearing.
Rules will be developed to require the BOEE to:
Finalize an investigation even if the employee resigns or surrenders their license during the investigation.
Keep all written complaints. Complaints that are unfounded will be kept confidential.
Notify the public if a licensed practitioner is under investigation with a finding of probable cause.
Evaluate complaints that did not result in discipline if similar complaints are filed against the same licensed practitioner.
Investigate an administrator that employs someone under investigation.
The BOEE makeup is changed to include:
Four members of the public, including two parents and one school board member.
Eight licensed practitioners, including three administrators and an employee of a nonpublic school. The rest will be any of the following: elementary teachers, secondary teachers, special education teachers, counselors, or school service personnel.
Department of Education director or their designee.
Before hiring someone who is licensed by the BOEE, districts must check the BOEE’s public license information to ensure there is not a case pending or any licensure sanction.
IASB is registered undecided on the bill after working to ensure the intent of the bill, keeping bad actors out of schools, was achievable for school districts through a defined process. The bill, as amended, passed the Senate 48-0. The House concurred in the amendment, sending the bill to the governor for her signature.
SF 391 – Governor's Education Flexibility Bill: This bill was proposed by the governor and includes changes in several areas. It has undergone several amendments from each chamber. The bill was most recently amended by the Senate to include CPR training as a graduation requirement, require three years of a world language for graduation, and provide a P.E. exemption for students enrolled in a school-sponsored activity. Additionally, the bill:
Eliminates references to the “comprehensive school improvement plan,” but still requires a report to the Department of Education to be in compliance with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Districts must still have a plan for everything that was included in a comprehensive school improvement plan, they just don’t have to compile it into one plan.
Removes requirement for teacher librarians to have a master’s degree and allows a district to hire a librarian who worked for a public library.
Limits virtual instruction to 5 days or 30 hours. Online offering that are part of the educational program, whether all virtual or not, are exempted.
Eliminates enrollment threshold (600 students) for allowing a community college to teach a course in a district. The community college can teach any course and is no longer limited to math or science courses. The good faith effort requirement to find a licensed teacher for these courses before turning to the community college is removed.
Allows sequential courses to be taught in the same classroom.
The bill now clarifies that schools that operate primarily with online instruction will still be allowed and are not subject to the limit of five days or 30 hours. Additionally, the requirements of financial literacy can be met through coursework in different classes and the half credit of personal finance literacy is not required for graduation.
IASB is registered in support of this bill because it generally offers school districts additional flexibility. The bill has passed each chamber previously, and with the most recent amendment, it passed the Senate by a vote of 34-16. The House concurred with the amended version by a vote of 60-36. It will now go to Governor Reynolds for her signature.
- Division I: Educational Program
Human growth and development instruction must be age appropriate. The health curriculum will remove instruction on AIDS, HPV and the availability of an HPV vaccine.
A district’s library program is designed to “support the student achievement goals of the total school curriculum” and contains only age-appropriate materials, which means materials do not contain descriptions or pictures of a sex act defined in Iowa Code section 702.17. Violations of these provisions by a school district will be met with a warning. Additional violations will require a hearing with the BOEE and may result in disciplinary action for the employee charged with the violation.
- Division II: School Responsibilities
A district cannot give false or misleading information to parents about their student’s gender identity or intention to transition.
If a student requests an accommodation to affirm their gender identity from a licensed practitioner employed by the school district, including to use different pronouns, the teacher must report it to an administrator and the administrator must report it to the student’s parent or guardian.
Districts must receive parental consent before administering an examination or survey on students’ mental, physical, or emotional health. Districts must also provide a copy or link to the survey; however, this doesn’t apply to hearing or vision exams.
Districts must receive written consent from a parent before requiring a student to take survey related to topics like political affiliation, sexual behavior, mental or psychological problems of the student or family members, religious beliefs, or income. Districts must provide parents with information on the survey, including who created it, who sponsors it, how the information is used, and how the information is stored.
Transparency - Districts must publish all the following on their website:
Explanation of the policies in place to allow parents to request removal of materials used in the classroom or library. The identity of the parent who requests the removal must be kept confidential.
Explanation of the policies in place to request a review of the school board’s decisions, including the petition process.
A policy allowing residents of the district and parents/guardians of a student in the district to review instructional materials used in the classroom and a method for parents to request their student not receive certain materials. Each parent must receive a copy of this policy every year.
The district’s library catalog. Districts that don’t already have this capability will have until July 1, 2025 to provide an electronic catalog of their library books.
- Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Instruction: Districts cannot provide any curriculum, program, survey, material, activity, announcement or materials relating to gender identity or sexual activity to students in grades K-6.
- Library Materials Review Committee: School boards will not be allowed to have a student on a reconsideration or review committee for whether library books should be removed.
- Intra-District Enrollment: Parents can enroll their student at a different attendance center in their district if they report evidence of peer-to-peer bullying. The evidence of bullying must be on video recorded at the school or directly viewed. For the student to change attendance centers, there must be sufficient classroom space and any necessary special education services available at the new building.
- Parental Notice of Injury, Harassment, or Bullying: School district employees may notify parents if the employee saw the student being bullied or harassed. Additionally, school district policy on bullying and harassment must include a procedure for reporting an allegation and include the job title of the school employee responsible for receiving those reports. A school official will be required to notify the parents of a student that may have been the victim of bullying or harassment within 24 hours.
- Division III: Private Instruction and Special Education:
- Division IV: Parents and Guardians Rights:
This section clarifies that parents have the ultimate responsibility for the upbringing of their child, including their education. It doesn’t prohibit medical attention in an emergency care situation, which could result in harm for the child if medical attention isn’t given.
IASB remains registered opposed to the bill because it includes provisions that would put districts and boards at risk of legal action for violating the federal interpretation of Title IX and Iowa’s civil rights code. The bill, as amended, passed the Senate by a vote of 34-16. The House concurred with the amended version by a vote of 57-38. The bill is now sent to Governor Reynolds for her signature.
SF 577 – Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund (RIIF) Appropriations: This budget includes money for administrative projects at many state departments, including $600,000 for continued development and implementation of an educational data warehouse that can be used by teachers, administrators, parents, and AEA staff. The Department of Education can use some of the money for an e-transcript system that tracks students as they move through their education at multiple schools.
IASB is registered undecided on the bill. It passed the Senate by a vote of 42-6 and passed the House by a vote of 84-6. The bill was then signed into law by Governor Reynolds on June 1, 2023.
SF 578 – Standing Appropriations: This bill encompasses many areas, but there a few items of interest to school districts and public education:
Still no state funding for Instructional Support
The standard AEA cut was increased another $5 million this year, bringing the total cut to the AEAs to almost $30 million.
IASB is registered against the bill because of the cut to AEAs, making it more difficult for them to provide valuable services to school districts. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 31-16 and passed the House by a vote of 55-38. The bill was then signed by the governor on June 1, 2023.
SF 560 - Education Appropriations: The bill provides a total general fund appropriation of $982.9 million for FY 2024. It is an overall Increase of $25.3 million (2.6%) compared to FY 2023. Additionally, the bill provides overall FY 2024 General Fund appropriations to the Department of Education (including K-12 programs and Community Colleges) totaling $419.2 million, an increase of $18.3 million (4.6%). Major changes include:
An increase of $1.0 million (12.3%) for Jobs for America’s Grads (IJAG)
An increase of $0.9 million (150.0%) for the Iowa Reading Research Center
An increase of $25,000 (0.8%) for the Student Achievement/Teacher Quality program
An increase of $7.2 million (3.2%) for Community College General Aid
An increase of $1.9 million (40.4%) for the National Guard Service Scholarship
An increase of $1.3 million (2.6%) for the Tuition Grant Program
A new appropriation of $275,000 for the Last Dollar Scholarship Grant Program
A new appropriation of $6.5 million for the Iowa Workforce Grant and Incentive Program
A new appropriation of $200,000 for the LEAD-K initiative
A reduction of $852,000 to eliminate nonpublic textbook services
A reduction of $230,000 to eliminate the appropriation for the Online State Job Posting System
There are several other line items that have an impact on K-12 schools:
Within the University of Northern Iowa’s budget, Educators for Iowa: $1.5 million appropriation. This money could be used to pay stipends or provide tuition reimbursement for teacher prep students who are student teaching.
Therapeutic Classroom Incentive Fund: $2.3 million appropriation
Therapeutic Classroom Transportation Claims Reimbursement: $500,000
Teach Iowa Scholar: $650,000 appropriation. This money is used to provide student loan repayment to teachers.
Budget bills also include some policy provisions. Included in this year’s education budget:
Making teacher prep programs eligible for the Iowa Workforce Grant and Incentive Program. Students receive $2,000 per semester for up to four semesters.
The Department of Education will create a task force to evaluate dropout prevention and at-risk programs. Specifically:
How schools use state funding for dropout and at-risk programs
The effectiveness of the programs
Whether state funding for the programs should be used for an iJAG specialist instead
How to best utilize state funding for dropout and at-risk programs
In a correction to the ESA bill, any money left in a district’s Talented and Gifted fund at the end of a budget year can be spent on Teacher Salary Supplement (TSS).
The Department of Workforce Development will establish a job posting website for school districts, AEAs, charter schools, nonpublic schools and the Department of Education. School districts must submit their job openings to the Department of Workforce Development. This has previously been managed by the Department of Education.
IASB is registered undecided on the bill. It passed the House by a vote of 59-33 and passed the Senate by a vote of 32-16. The bill was then signed into law by Governor Reynolds on June 1, 2023.
HF 602 – Suicide Prevention Hotline on Student ID Cards: This bill requires school districts to print the phone and text numbers for Your Life Iowa on student ID cards for students in grades 7-12.
IASB is registered in support of this bill. It’s an easy and practical way for students to have access to an important lifeline in a time of crisis. The bill passed the House by a vote of 94-1 and the Senate by a vote of 48-0. The bill was then signed into law by Governor Reynolds on June 1, 2023.
HF 718 – Property Tax Omnibus: This bill is the property tax compromise agreed upon between the House and Senate. There was a strike after amendment, which replaces the entire bill, that includes several divisions impacting school districts.
Division III: Public Education and Recreation Levy (PERL)
Voters in a school district will no longer be able to approve PERL in their district, but school districts with PERL currently in place are allowed to keep it.
Division VII: Property Tax Incentives
This division addresses property tax exemptions for properties in a revitalization area. It clarifies that those exemptions will not apply to school levies on residential properties.
Division X: Budget Statements to Taxpayers
This division establishes budget statements that will be sent to taxpayers by the county auditor. The bill requires, by March 15 of each year, that school districts provide a report to the Department of Management with all the following information:
For the current fiscal year:
Actual property taxes certified for all the school district’s levies
Combined property tax rate/$1000
Combined effective property tax rate
For the upcoming budget year:
Proposed combined amount of property tax dollars to be certified for all the school district’s levies
Proposed combined property tax rate/$1000 for all levies
If the proposed amount of property taxes is more than the previous fiscal year, a detailed statement of the reasons for the increase.
The school district’s website information because all this information must be posted on the district website in addition to budget information from prior fiscal years.
Once the Department of Management has calculated and compiled all this information, they will give it to the county auditor. The county auditor will then send the information to taxpayers by March 20. Also included in this information will be an example calculated by the Department of Management of the amount of property tax on a residential and a commercial property valued at $100,000 that compares the current fiscal year to the proposed property tax rate, including the percentage difference in such amounts. The auditor must also provide the percentage of total property taxes that are levied by each taxing authority (school district, city and county).
School districts will be required to hold a public hearing specifically for their proposed property tax amount. It must be separate from the required public hearing on a district’s certified budget. Notice requirements apply to this hearing: publish notice between 10 and 20 days before the hearing in a newspaper and on the district website. Additionally, if a district has social media accounts, they will have to publish the meeting notice or a link to it on each account.
Division XIII: Bond Elections
School districts will only be allowed to hold a bond election once a year on the November general election date. Prior to the bond election, each registered voter in the district will receive a notice of the election as well as the full text of the bond measure.
IASB is registered undecided on the bill. While we don’t like the reduction to one bond election allowed throughout the year, the other provisions of the bill are workable for school districts. The bill, as amended, passed the Senate by a vote of 49-0 and passed the House by a vote of 94-1. It now goes to Governor Reynolds for her signature.
HF 256 – Minimum Age for Licensure by BOEE: This bill allows the Board of Educational Examiners (BOEE) to issue a para-educator certificate to an applicant who is 18 years or older.
IASB is registered undecided on the bill. We see the advantages of being able to get more people into the classroom once they complete their certification but did express concerns about an 18-year-old being placed in a classroom of high school students. The bill passed the House by a vote of 95-0 and passed the Senate by a vote of 49-0. It was signed by Governor Reynolds on May 3, 2023.
SF 250 – Disbursements from Computer Science Professional Development Fund: This bill allows funds from the computer science professional development incentive fund to be spent through September 30 in a given year, rather than requiring them to be spent by the end of a school district’s fiscal year (June 30).
IASB is registered in support of this bill because it offers more flexibility and provides teachers more time to take advantage of this professional development over the summer, instead of limiting them to the fiscal year. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 50-0 the House by a vote of 95-0. The bill was then signed into law by Governor Reynolds on May 3, 2023.
HF 553 – Affirmative Defense for Cybersecurity Incidents: This bill lays out the requirements for using an affirmative defense if there’s a cybersecurity breach. A cybersecurity program must provide protection of personal information and evaluate the loss from a data breach. The program must conform to an industry-recognized cybersecurity framework.
IASB is registered undecided on the bill and it passed the House by a vote of 97-0 and the Senate by a vote of 50-0. This bill was signed into law by Governor Reynolds on May 3, 2023.
HF 68 – Education Savings Accounts: This is the governor’s education savings account plan. The bill outlines a three-year plan for fully implementing the program.
Year One: All public school students and nonpublic school students whose families make at or below 300% of the federal poverty level are eligible.
Year Two: All public school and nonpublic school students whose families make at or below 400% of the federal poverty level are eligible.
Year Three: All public school students and all nonpublic school students are eligible.
Each education savings account is funded with $7,598. School districts will receive $1,205 for each resident student that uses an ESA to attend a nonpublic school, including students who have never enrolled in the public school but are a resident of the district. Additionally, the bill extends operational sharing incentives until 2034.
IASB is registered opposed. Public schools accept all students, are accountable to their communities, parents and taxpayers for the funds they do receive, and provide transparency that is not required of private schools. The bill passed the House by a vote of 55-45, passed the Senate 31-18, and was signed into law by Governor Reynolds on January 24, 2023.
SF 192 – Supplemental State Aid: The House and Senate have come to an agreement on this year’s supplemental state aid rate: 3%. At this rate, the regular per pupil amount will increase by $222, making the FY 2024 per pupil amount $7,635. This means 72 districts will be on the budget guarantee for a total of $5.5 million.
Additionally, transportation aid will also increase by 3%, an increase of $880,000 for a total of $30.3 million. 204 districts will receive aid.
This bill also provides funding for the property tax replacement payment. It extends this property tax relief provision through FY 2024. It increases state aid by $15.3 million and will total $114.8 million in FY 2024. This is dollar-for-dollar property tax relief and increases the cost of state aid without providing new money to districts. The per pupil property tax relief amount is $201. Meaning of the $7,635, $201 of that is pure property tax relief.
IASB is registered undecided. We know that 3% is not sufficient to cover the rising costs districts face, but we appreciate that it’s higher than the original proposals of 2% or 2.5%. SF 192 passed the Senate by a vote of 34-15. It passed the House 59-40, with four Republicans voting no: Representatives Ingels, Jones, Lohse, and Moore. The bill was signed into law by Governor Reynolds on February 7, 2023.
SF 482 – Prohibiting Entering Restroom that Doesn’t Match Biological Sex: This bill prohibits school districts from allowing a student to use a multiple occupancy restroom, changing room or other facility that does not conform with the student’s biological sex. It does allow a district to make accommodations for any student, for any reason, if the student seeks additional privacy. The parent/guardian must consent to such request. The bill is effective upon enactment. Learn more about SF 482.
IASB is registered opposed to the bill as it creates legal uncertainty for districts and the potential that a district could be sued under either state or federal law. The bill passed the Senate 33-16 and the House 57-39. Governor Reynolds signed the bill into law on March 22, 2023, making the bill effective immediately.