Dems: Education Committee Report – Week 4, 2019

February 6, 2019
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COMMITTEE ACTION:

SSB 1034 – Eliminates voluntary diversity plans as a reason to deny open enrollment

SSB 1043 – Requires schools to offer U.S. citizenship tests to high school students

SCR 1 – Resolution to Congress urging action to limit student loan interest rates

SF 74 – Extends the SAVE Infrastructure fund until 2050

SF 120 – Prohibits regent universities from disallowing the use/carry of stun guns

SF 172 – FY20 state supplemental aid at 2.06%

 

COMMITTEE ACTION:

SSB 1034 – Eliminates voluntary diversity plans as a reason to deny open enrollment

SSB 1034 eliminates the ability of local school districts to adopt a voluntary diversity plan as a reason to deny an open enrollment request. Under current law, a school district with a voluntary diversity plan or court-ordered desegregation may deny a request for open enrollment of a student from one district to another if the superintendent finds that the enrollment or release of the pupil will adversely affect the district’s implementation of the voluntary diversity plan or court-ordered desegregation. Iowa’s open enrollment law has been in effect since 1989.
[2/4: 9-6 (No: Democrats and Lofgren)]

 

SSB 1043 – Requires schools to offer U.S. citizenship tests to high school students

SSB 1043 requires school districts and accredited nonpublic schools to offer to all students in grades 9-12 opportunities to take the latest available United States citizenship and immigration services naturalization civics test. The Department of Education is also required to develop alternative civics tests that may be administered to a student’s requiring special education or English language learners at an estimated cost of $60,000.
[2/6 10-3 (Yes: Republicans and J. Smith; Excused: Danielson)]

 

SCR 1 – Resolution to Congress urging action to limit student loan interest rates

SCR 1 is a concurrent resolution that urges Congress to enact legislation limiting the interest rates for loans made or guaranteed under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program or the Federal Perkins Loan Program at not more than two percentage points over the federal prime rate for the life of the loans of students attending public and private accredited postsecondary institutions.
[2/4: Short Form]

 

SF 74 – Extends the SAVE Infrastructure fund until 2050

SF 74 extends the Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE) fund for school infrastructure and property tax relief for another 20 years. Currently, this program, which is funded with a statewide 1 cent sales tax, is set to expire in 2029.  While that is 10 years away, school districts are increasingly unable to bond for larger infrastructure projects because they only have a guarantee of 10 years of revenue to pay back those bonds. Most bonds are set for 20 or more  years.

SF 74 increases the amount in the Property Tax Equity Relief fund (PTER), which provides direct property tax reduction to those districts with additional levy rates above the statewide average.

  • Currently in the PTER fund, 58 districts get a portion of the state appropriated $24 million plus $9 million generated by SAVE’s 2.1 percent allocation to buy down the rates for the highest property rate districts.
  • SF 74 grows from the current 2.1 percent SAVE allocation by 1 percentage point up to 12 percent total, assuming there is at least two-percent growth in sales tax receipts.
  • This new money goes to the PTER fund and a newly created Foundation Base Supplemental Fund (FBSF). This new fund provides property tax relief to all districts by buying up the school foundation aid level of 87.5 percent.
  • The new money will be split, with 2/3 going to those above the statewide average (PTER impacted districts) and 1/3 to be equitably distributed amongst all districts to raise the foundation level (FBSF/all school districts).

SF 74 establishes a Career Academy Fund Grant: In FY20, the SAVE fund would transfer $1 million to the Career Academy Fund. Subsequent transfers will be the equivalent of the prior year’s transfer, plus 0.5 percent of the sales tax growth in the fund, if the growth rate is at or exceeds 2.5 percent. The bill caps the total amount to be transferred to the fund at no more than $5 million in any fiscal year. The grants would go toward infrastructure and equipment and to further the goals of establishing and operating the center.

Revenue Purpose Statements: The bill requires school boards to seek voter approval for new revenue purpose statements (RPS) prior to December 31, 2022. The statements must state that failure to approve the RPS will result in those funds being used for property tax reduction.

Bonding: New requirements when a board is issuing revenue bonds funded with revenue from SAVE. Current law authorizes a school district to anticipate its share of SAVE fund revenues by issuing bonds without voter approval.

  • Requires a public hearing on the project and how it will be funded if revenue bonds are to be used. The public must be notified at least 10 days in advance of the hearing by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the school district.
  • Voters have a 14-day window following the public hearing to petition for a special election. Petitions require the signatures of 100 eligible voters or 30 percent of the voters in the last regular school election.

Athletic Facilities: Puts in place enhanced public engagement processes surrounding the use of SAVE funds for the construction of athletic facilities.

  • Requires a public hearing when SAVE revenues will be used for the construction of athletic facilities that are not attached to an attendance center (such as football stadiums, baseball field).
  • Voters have a 14-day window following the public hearing to petition for a special election. Petitions require the signatures of 100 eligible voters or 30 percent of the voters in the last regular school election.
  • If the school board proposes to issue revenue bonds to pay for repair or maintenance of existing facilities, the public notice and hearing requirements and the ability for voters to petition for a special election are applied.

School Safety: Legislative Intent – Prioritize SAVE funds to be used for school safety and security infrastructure, before sports facilities. This would include safe rooms, remote entry technology and equipment, security camera systems, and communication systems with access to fire and police frequencies. School safety and security infrastructure would NOT include cost of personnel, developing security plans or training related to implementing security plans.

Certificate of Need Threshold and Cost Benefit Analysis: Currently, a school district with a certified enrollment of fewer than 250 pupils must apply to the Department of Education for a certificate of need before the school district can expend the supplemental school infrastructure. The criteria in the bill is modified to include the cost-benefit analysis of remodeling, reconstructing or repairing existing buildings versus new construction and consideration of the benefit of the new construction on student learning.
[2/4: 14-1 (No: Zaun)]

 

SF 120 – Prohibits regent universities from disallowing the use/carry of stun guns

SF 120 prohibits regent universities from adopting any policy that would disallow the carrying of stun guns. As of last year (and SF 2321), the requirement for a permit to carry a stun gun was eliminated. A person who is 18 years of age or older may go armed with a stun gun (not a Taser). This bill says the universities and Community Colleges cannot adopt or enforce any policy that prohibits the carrying, transportation, or possession of a stun gun, as long as the weapon is not being used in the commission of a public offense. The bill provides civil penalties of between $2,500 and $5,000 to be deposited back in state coffers. A committee amendment strikes the provision establishing civil penalties for the Regents not following the law.
[2/4: 12-3 (No: Celsi, Quirmbach, J. Smith)]

 

SF 172 – FY20 state supplemental aid at 2.06%

SF 172 is the FY20 state supplemental aid or basic school funding for the school year starting in July 2019.  SF 172 provides for 2.06 percent SSA, which Republicans have said they will fund at $78.6 million. This funding level includes a $22.5 million cut to the Area Education Agencies. If there was no additional cut to AEAs; SF 172’s 2.06 percent will cost $93.6 million. Governor Reynolds proposed 2.3 percent increase in state funding for schools.

General State Aid:  SF 172 establishes a total cost per pupil of $6,875; an increase of $139 per pupil. The 2.06 percent increase will cost the state $78.6 million over last year. This assumes that continue $22.5 million AEA reduction later in Standings Bill.

Please Note: If SF 171 (per pupil and transportation “equity”) passes, these numbers increase by $5 per pupil.  The State Cost Per Pupil would be $6,880; an increase of $144 per pupil. The total state aid would then increase to $81.5 million (assuming the continued $22.5 million AEA cut projected in the Standings Bill).

Categorical State Aid: The FY20 allowable growth rate for each of the State Categorical Supplements (Teacher Leadership and Compensation, Teacher Salary Supplement, Professional Development and Early Intervention) totals $537.9 million, an increase of $10.7 million.

  • Teacher Salary Supplement: $304.9 million (increase of $6 million)
  • Professional Development Supplement: $34.6 million (increase of $680,000)
  • Early Intervention (general purpose allowed): $35.6 million (increase of $700,000)
  • Teacher Leadership Supplement: $162.7 million (increase of $3.3 million)

Property Taxes: Since 2013, the Legislature makes a determination on whether it will pay for the increment increase in property taxes associated with an increase in the percentage growth for schools. The total funding for this effort over is now $62.1 million, an increase of $10 million over last year. This is not new money for schools, just shifting dollars from local property taxes to state funding.

Democrats offered an amendment to increase the basic school funding increase to 3 percent in committee, but were voted down by majority members.
[2/6 10-4 (No: Democrats; Excused: Danielson)]

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