Legislative Summary

The 89th General Assembly concluded its work at 11:45 pm on May 19, 2021. Despite the frustrations of the session, IASB is proud of its accomplishments which wouldn't have happened without your advocacy. We had more wins than losses (albeit some of those losses really hurt) and we were successful in both passing legislation as well as killing language or bills. Some legislative proposals that we didn’t like were made “less terrible” by our engagement. You can click on each of the tabs below to find out more information about our wins, how the budget impacts you and summaries of all the bills on which IASB engaged that passed into law. For more information or questions, please email Emily Piper or Phil Jeneary.
 

2021 LEGISLATIVE WINS

The 2021 legislative session provided several wins for public education and made progress on IASB's priorities. We have grouped them by topic area, and there are several bills within each section. Read more about these successes and the full bill summaries.
 
HF 868—Education Appropriations: Two items in this bill address mental health:
  • $3.2 million for Children's Mental Health School-Based Training and Support
  • Adds mental health professionals to operational sharing positions. The position will carry a weighting of three pupils.
SF 532—Statement of Professional Recognition: This bill directs the Board of Educational Examiners (BOEE) to create a statement of professional recognition for behavioral analysts and by January 1, 2022, a statement of professional recognition for mental health professionals. The bill states that the BOEE rules require any mental health professional providing mental health services to schools must obtain this statement unless a professional license or endorsement has already been issued to the individual by the BOEE.

SF 619—Omnibus Tax Bill: One provision of this bill provides for reimbursement parity for behavioral health and takes effect when the bill is signed into law. The governor has 30 days from the end of the legislative session to take action on bills passed in the prior three days.
HF 675—Substitute Teacher Authorizations: This bill allows a person with a substitute authorization license to teach in a PK-12 grade class for not more than ten consecutive days if they have at least an associate degree and not less than sixty undergraduate hours. The bill clarifies that someone seeking substitute authorization must still undergo a background check, pay applicable fees, and successfully complete the substitute authorization course. An administrator can also file a written request to the Board of Educational Examiners for an extension of the ten-day limit.

HF 722—Teach Iowa Scholar Program: This bill allows money collected from the teacher shortage loan program to be deposited in the Teach Iowa Scholar Program. The bill strikes language creating the Teacher Shortage Loan Forgiveness Repayment Fund and any remaining funds in that account and the Teacher Shortage Loan Forgivable Loan Repayment account on June 30, 2021 will be directed to the Teach Iowa Scholar Program.

HF 770—Licensure Renewal Requirements: This bill requires that rules adopted by the Board of Educational Examiners allow an individual to earn up to half of the credits needed for licensure renewal by completing an individualized professional development plan or by completing courses or programs offered by a professional development program, practitioner preparation institution or an AEA approved by the state board of education.

HF 868—Education Appropriations: Two provisions in this bill relate to teacher recruitment:
  • Creates a taskforce to increase teacher diversity in Iowa and to submit a report to the governor and General Assembly by December 15, 2021.
  • $250,000 to the Iowa Reading Research Center to help establish an endorsement for an advanced dyslexia specialist.
HF 868—Education Appropriations: One provision addresses an IASB priority relating to preschool:

A process for districts to petition the School Budget Review Committee (SBRC) to get a modified supplemental amount to cover the decline of preschool enrollments during the 2020-21 school year and an increase in enrollment for the 2021-22 school year.

HF 847—Education Omnibus: Two specific items relating to school funding:
  • Allows districts to transfer unobligated funds from the TLC program into the district's flexibility account
  • Adds work-based learning coordinator and special education directors as eligible positions for operational sharing incentives
SF 260—Medicaid Reimbursement: This bill requires a receiving district to provide information and documentation to the sending district for Medicaid eligible services in the case of an open enrolled student who receives special education services.

SF 269—Supplemental State Aid: This bill sets the supplemental state aid (SSA) rate at 2.4%. The bill includes an additional $10 to close the district cost per pupil gap and provides $800,000 in additional money to buy districts down to the statewide average for transportation costs.

HF 315—Programs for At-Risk Children: This bill allows money appropriated to the Department of Education to assist schools in developing program plans and early childhood education needs to also be used by the AEAs for the same purpose. The bill also strikes language about grant awards given to school districts needing to be a combination of preschool and full-day kindergarten.

HF 317—Funding for Children in Certain Facilities: This bill modifies the calculation used to determine the amount of funding a school district can request by changing the calculation from number of months to number of days that a student is enrolled in the district in order to provide education services to children living in approved or licensed shelter home or other approved facilities.

HF 602—Student Activity Fund: This bill allows districts to transfer general funds to the student activity fund to cover cocurricular and extracurricular activities. The board must pass a resolution before making a transfer.
HF 386—District Reporting Requirements: This bill removes the requirement that districts report expenditures to the Department of Education from any non-profit entity that is associated with the district. Districts are still required to report information to the community.

HF 828—Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Fees: This bill allows the Department of Transportation (DOT) and counties certified to issue CDL’s to charge a $25 dollar fee for acquiring that license. IASB raised concerns over the impact this could have on districts’ ability to find bus drivers and the additional cost districts could incur if they pay the cost for drivers to obtain their CDL.

HF 848—Broadband Expansion: This bill is the governor’s broadband expansion bill. The bill provides grants to internet companies that extend broadband service at or above specific upload and download speeds to a targeted service area, including schools.

SF 130—Board Member Compensation: This bill allows school board members who earn income as substitutes, food service workers or bus drivers to exceed the $6,000 compensation limit. This provision is only effective for the current school year.

SF 289—Education Flexibility: This bill updates or eliminates several provisions in law to give school boards and AEAs additional flexibility. These provisions include:
  • Updates the threshold AEAs must meet to request approval from the Department of Education when entering into a purchase or lease agreement to the competitive bid threshold.
  • Reduces publication requirements AEAs must meet when posting their budget to their website and a newspaper of general circulation.
  • Extends a board president's term an additional month in even numbered years to help close the prior fiscal years’ books in a timely manner.
  • Eliminates duplicative reporting for districts on dues paid to IASB and a report on community strategies for early literacy. IASB already collects dues information and will report it to the Department of Education.
HF 308—Eligibility Requirements for Concurrent Enrollment: This bill allows students to qualify for concurrent enrollment classes if they have shown proficiency in reading, math, and science based on assessment scores. Currently, students must meet specific requirements, and this provides an alternative route for students to take these courses. The school district and community college must jointly adopt proficiency measures that students must meet.

HF 605—ELL Weighting: This bill divides English language learners into two categories based on proficiency and provides additional weighting for those students. Students identified as an “intensive student” will get an additional .26 weighting. Students identified as an “intermediate student” will get an additional .21 weighting. This change will be effective for the 2021–22 school year.
HF 585—Safe and Sound Program
HF 628—Using TLC Funds for Class Size Management Strategies
HF 771—Self Administration of Respiratory Distress Medication
HF 795—Seizure Disorder Requirements
SF 2—Limiting Administrative Costs for School Districts
SF 103—Action Plan and Training Requirements for Students with Seizure Disorders
SF 159—Vouchers
SF 480— Public Records Requests Cost
SF 568—Requiring School Districts to Notify Voters of a Special Election
SF 587—Elimination of PERL
SSB 1213—Removing School Board Members for Violating Laws

 

BUDGET BILLS

A summary of all appropriations for FY 2022. School finance uses its own language—use this breakdown of key budget terms and concepts to better understand appropriations legislation.
 
SF 269—Supplemental State Aid: This bill sets the supplemental state aid (SSA) rate at 2.4%. The bill includes an additional $10 to close the district cost per pupil gap and provides $800,000 in additional money to buy districts down to the statewide average for transportation costs. Use this table to see the per pupil impact of this year's SSA rate.
FY 2022 Education Appropriations Act—HF 868: The legislature appropriated a total of $972.4 million in the FY 2022 Educations Appropriation Bill. This is an increase of $26.4 million (2.8%) compared to FY 2021. The bill includes funding for the Department of the Blind, the College Student Aid Commission, the Department of Education (for administration and other PK-12 grant programs), and the Regent Universities and schools.

The following table provides select information on the appropriations provided to the Department of Education. The overall increase for these select programs total $13.2 million (4.6%). Changes of note include:
  • An increase of $544,000 for general aid for the Early Childhood Iowa Program.
  • An increase of $2.0 million for the Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates Program (IJAG).
  • An increase of $250,000 for the Iowa Reading Research Center. The increase is designated for the establishment and oversight of the advanced dyslexia specialist endorsement.
  • An increase of $1.1 million for children’s mental health training. This funding is provided to the AEAs to provide training, support and services in the area of student mental health.
  • An increase of $6.5 million (3.1%) for Iowa’s community colleges.
  • The increases for the Therapeutic Classroom Incentive Fund, the Classroom Environment Professional Development, and Therapeutic Classroom Transportation were all approved during the 2019 legislative session in SF 2360 (Classroom Environment and Therapeutic Class Bill). However, the Therapeutic Classroom Incentive Fund was increased by $43,000 in HF 868 to account for the 2.4% supplemental state aid (SSA) per pupil increase enacted earlier in session.
An increase of $200,000 for nonpublic textbooks. This appropriation provides reimbursement to school districts for the costs of textbooks the district provided to nonpublic students.
In addition to the FY 2022 appropriations, the budget bill included policy language. Provisions include:

Addition to the Shared Operational Functions Provision: Adds mental health professionals who hold a statement of professional recognition issued by the Board of Educational Examiners (BOEE) to the list of positions eligible to be shared for supplementary weighting. Sharing of this position during the 2021-22 school year generates funding in FY 2023.

SBRC Modified Supplemental Amount for Fall Preschool Enrollments: Permits the School Budget Review Committee (SBRC) to grant a modified supplement amount (MSA) to districts that have an increase in their preschool enrollment in the fall of 2021 compared to the fall of 2020. It specifies that the SBRC review the preschool ending fund balance at the end of FY 2021 compared to the amount of funding generated for the preschool program in FY 2021 and if that percentage is 25.0% or less, the district will be granted the MSA amount. Additionally, the provision specifies that if any funding is provided to the SBRC for this provision, those funds will be awarded to those districts. If funding isn’t sufficient, the funding amounts will be prorated. This provision only applies to FY 2022. The governor intends to use federal monies to fund this provision.

New School District Accountability Measures: The bill provides several changes and additions to school district accountability that include:
  • Requires the DE to post general guidance that is accessible to members of the public who have concerns about school districts or school boards.
  • Requires the DE to develop and share with school districts standards for school district equity coordinators and a training program to be used by school districts.
  • Requires, if the petition requirement is met, school districts to add agenda items based on the successful petition. Specifies that if the petition is related to curriculum, that the district may halt the use of the curriculum until the public hearing is held and a decision is made.
  • Specifies that the school board shall provide free speech training each year to school district equity coordinators.
  • Codifies the existing practice for conducting district accreditation reviews and gives increased authority to the DE to recommend conditions on the use of funds or withholding funds.
Diverse Teacher Pool: Creates a task force to develop recommendations on creating a more diverse pool of candidates entering the teaching profession.
Standing Appropriations Act—SF 615: This bill includes the following that directly impact K-12 education funding:
  • A state aid reduction to the area education agencies (AEAs) totaling $15.0 million for FY 2022, matching the FY 2021 level of reduction.
  • No state funding for the instructional support program in FY 2022. The program has not received any state funding since FY 2011 and is currently funded solely with local taxes.

 

2021 BILL SUMMARY

Here is the full list of bills on which IASB was engaged on behalf of its members that passed the legislature and have either been signed by Governor Reynolds or are awaiting her signature. Each summary includes our registration status and why we chose to register that way. Read more about how we decide to register on each bill. If you want to know more about your legislator's voting record, you can use our Legislative Process guide to find out their vote on any bill or amendment.
 
These bills are anything that relates to requirements from school districts, including reports and curriculum, that ensure the duties of the school board are being met in transparent and effective ways. Read the summaries of these bills.
These bills ensure Iowa educators have the training and support they need to be effective in the classroom, from teacher prep programs to ongoing professional development. Read these bill summaries.
These bills cover any money coming into the school district and how it should be spent. Read these bill summaries.
These bills encompass almost anything else that pertains to school districts, from new charter school rules to elections. Read summaries on this wide array of bills.

 

BILLS THAT DIED

Here's a list of bills that died this session that IASB was registered on and had an interest in following.
 
HF 294—Telehealth Reimbursement for Behavioral Health (included in SF 619)
HF 318—Statewide Preschool Eligibility
HF 401—Dropout/At-Risk Cap Increased to 5% for all districts
HF 593—Establishing Career Academies
HF 600—Electronic Publication of Public Notices
HF 784—Reimbursement for Telehealth Services
HF 845—Shared Operational Function Expansion
HSB 133—Expanding and Improving Broadband Access
SF 64—Rural Teacher Shortage Area Loan Forgiveness Program and Fund
SF 92—Telehealth Reimbursement Rates
SF 131—Statewide Preschool Program Funding
SF 189—Statewide Preschool Program Funding for Four-Year-Olds
SF 223—Weighted Funding for the Statewide Preschool Program
SF 228—Electronic Publication of Public Notices
SF 258—School Resource Officers
SF 271—Modified Supplemental Amount Up To 5% for Dropout/At-Risk Programs
SF 371—Public School Reporting Requirements
SF 398—Grant Program for Mental Health Providers for School Districts
SF 453—Electronic Publication of Public Notices
SF 467—In-Person Instruction
SF 545—Learning Recovery Taskforce
SF 547—Minority Teacher Recruitment
HF 165—Reduced Funds for Districts that Violate Instructional Time Requirements
HF 185—Creating Liabilities for Exposure of Minors to Inappropriate Programming
HF 215—Vouchers
HF 250—Carrying or Possessing Weapons Without a Permit
HF 329—Vaccine Exemptions
HF 330—Vaccine Exemptions
HF 334—Participation in Sports Based on Biological Sex
HF 343—Carrying Weapons on School Grounds
HF 398—Vouchers
HF 465—Raising Compulsory School Attendance Age
HF 532—School District Supplemental Appropriation
HF 585—Safe and Sound Program
HF 628—Using TLC Funds for Class Size Management Strategies
HF 771—Self Administration of Respiratory Distress Medication
HF 795—Seizure Disorder Requirements
SF 2—Limiting Administrative Costs for School Districts
SF 103—Action Plan and Training Requirements for Students with Seizure Disorders
SF 127—Vouchers
SF 128—Vouchers
SF 159—School Choice Omnibus
SF 167—Prohibits Gender Identity Instruction in Elementary Schools without Parental Consent
SF 168—Special Education Services for Nonpublic Students
SF 224—Prohibits using a bathroom that does not correspond to a person’s biological sex
SF 409—Filing Complaints to Iowa Public Information Board
SF 480—Public Records Requests Cost
SF 555—Vaccine Exemptions
SF 587—Elimination of PERL
SSB 1213—Removing School Board Members for Violating Laws
HF 132—Online Continuing Education Course
HF 133—Extending Continuing Education Deadlines
HF 238—Parent Information Forms for Human Growth and Development Courses
HF 246—Iowa Reading Research Center Appropriation
HF 266—School District and AEA Enrollment Calculations
HF 316—District of Residence with Open Enrollment
HF 385—Open Enrollment Modifications
HF 414—Child Sexual Abuse and Sexual Assault Awareness
HF 415—Pledge of Allegiance (included in HF 847)
HF 503—School Climate and Bullying Prevention Workgroup
HF 564—Return-to-Learn Plans for Students with Concussions
HF 611—Teacher Compensation for Additional Temporary Assignments
HF 734—Funding Reading Research Center (language put into HF 868)
HF 778—School Building Demolition
HF 786—Public Records Requests Costs
HF 822—Political Lobbying
HSB 65—Rescinding Rule Requiring Seatbelts in New Buses
HSB 235—Prohibits Entering into Contracts with Companies that Censor Content
SF 42—Eliminates Common Core Requirements
SF 55—Carbon Monoxide Standards
SF 59—Prohibits School Activities During Presidential Caucuses
SF 80—Student Pronoun Preference
SF 89—Requiring Cursive Instruction
SF 174—Guns in schools
SF 183—Construction Manager At Risk (CMAR)
SF 222—School District and AEA Budget Enrollments
SF 265—Student Retention
SF 270—Child Sexual Abuse and Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention
SF 310—Transitional Bilingual Education Pilot Program
SF 425—Expanding the Definition of Open Meetings
SF 478—Protecting First Amendment Rights
SF 572—Statute of Limitations
SF 580—Big Tech Censorship
SF 590—Creation of Land Banks
SSB 1073—Purchase, Lease, or Lease-Purchase Powers

 
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If you have questions, email anyone on our government relations team:

Phil Jeneary, Government Relations Director
Emily Piper, Lobbyist
Shawn Snyder, Associate Executive Director, School Finance & Government Relations
Patti Schroeder, Finance Support Director