A few highlights from the budget include the following:
- Adds $72.8 million for the state’s share of an additional 2% salary increase, effective September 1, 2019 (in addition to the 3% salary increase approved in last year’s budget). Budget language provides flexibility regarding the timing of the salary increases.
- Adds $10.6 million in FY19 and $14.3 million in FY20 to increase the At-Risk Add-On Percentages from 13% to 14.5% in FY19 and from 14% to 16% in FY20.
- Adds $34.7 in Supplemental Lottery Per Pupil Allocation over the amount approved last year.
- Provides $12 million in FY20 to provide the state share for additional school counselor positions to lower the school counselor to student ratios to those required in HB2053 (see below).
- Increases the School Security Equipment Grant annual allocation from $6 million to $12 million beginning in FY20.
- Provides $150,000 in FY20 to expand Virtual Virginia.
- Budget language to add flexibility to permit school boards to hire testing coordinators and licensed behavior analysts with At-Risk Add-On funds in order to reduce the workloads of school counselors (see requirements below).
- Budget language to direct the Department of Education to collect data and report data that measures the progress and outcomes of students placed in special education private day schools.
Below is a summary of important legislation that passed during the 2019 session of the General Assembly. This is not an exhaustive list of all education-related legislation but it an attempt to cover the most important pieces of passed legislation. Legislation that has been signed by the Governor as of March 3, 2019 is noted.
HB 1652 (Robinson)/ SB 1005 (Chase) – These bills eliminate the post-Labor Day start requirement and also eliminate the good cause waivers, except the waiver for year-round schools, and create three tiers for school start dates:
- School boards that have had a waiver in effect since 2012 and which has continued through budget language can continue to start as early as they wish with no requirement for holidays around Labor Day;
- School boards that were not covered by the budget language in #1 but that had a good cause waiver for the 2018-2019 school year can continue to start as early as they wish but must close schools from the Friday before Labor Day through Labor Day; and
- School boards that did not have a waiver for the 2018-2019 school year can now start up to 14 days before Labor Day but, if they start early, they must close schools from the Friday before Labor Day through Labor Day.
HB 2140 (Thomas) – This bill allows school boards in Planning District 16 to open before Labor Day, including opening more than 14 days before Labor Day, if they would have qualified for a waiver for the 2019-2020 school year under the law as it was prior to July 1, 2019 (in other words, before the Robinson/Chase bill). This bill also allows a school board in Planning District 16 that is entirely surrounded by school divisions that open prior to Labor Day to open on the same date as either of the two surrounding school divisions. This amended bill was narrowly drawn to benefit Stafford and Fredericksburg.
HB 1729 (Landes) – This bill changes the term guidance counselor to school counselor and requires each school counselor to spend at least 80% of his or her time in direct counseling individual students or groups of students. This bill has been signed by the Governor and goes into effect July 1, 2019.
HB 2053 (McQuinn)/ SB 1406 (Dance)/Budget Language – These bills and budget amendment reduces the ratio of school counselors to students from one school counselor per 500 students to one counselor per 455 students in elementary schools, from one school counselor per 400 students to one counselor per 370 students in middle schools, and from one school counselor per 350 students to one counselor per 325 students in high schools, Importantly, the budget amendment provides additional state funding to achieve these new ratios.
HB 1725 (Knight) – This bill requires that each school board, in consultation with the local building official and the state or local fire marshal, develop a procurement plan to ensure that all security enhancements to schools comply with the Uniform Statewide Building Code and the Statewide Fire Prevention Code. This bill has been signed by the Governor and goes into effect July 1, 2019.
HB 1732 (O’Quinn)/SB 1215 (Newman) – These bills require each school board to develop and deliver an annual training on safety procedures in the event of an emergency on school property to all students and school-based employees. These bills have been signed by the Governor and go into effect July 1, 2019.
HB 1734 (Marshall)/SB 1213 (Newman) – These bills require the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety to develop a case management tool that threat assessment teams will be required to use.
HB 1737 (Wright)/ SB 1220 (Newman) – These bills require school boards to include the chief law-enforcement officer, the fire chief, the chief of the emergency medical services agency, the executive director of the relevant regional emergency medical services council, and the emergency management official of the locality, or their designees, in the development and review of school crisis, emergency management, and medical emergency response plans. HB1737 has been signed by the Governor and goes into effect July 1, 2019.
HB 1738 (Rush) – This bill requires that the plans and specifications for new or remodeled public schools be reviewed by someone with professional expertise in crime prevention through environmental design and requires that the reviewer’s comments be submitted to the Superintendent of Public Instruction along with the final plans and specifications. HB 1738 has been signed by the Governor and goes into effect July 1, 2019.
HB 2720 (Gooditis) – This bill specifies that, for the purpose of eligibility for grants for security equipment through the Public School Security Equipment Grant Act of 2013, security equipment includes building modifications and fixtures, such as security vestibules. HB 2720 has been signed by the Governor and goes into effect July 1, 2019.
HB 2721 (Freitas) – This bill allows school boards to employ as a school security officer an individual who was formerly employed by a law enforcement agency of the United States or any state or political subdivision. Current law only allows former law enforcement officers from Virginia to serve as school security officers.
SB 1591 (Dunnavant) – This bill directs the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety to convene a work group to develop guidelines and best practices for the sharing of information between a local school board or public institution of higher education and law enforcement regarding a student whose behavior may pose a threat to the safety of a school or institution or the community. The guidelines are to be made available to local school boards, public institutions of higher education, law enforcement, and the public by October 1, 2019.
SB 1755 (Hanger) – This bill directs the Department of Housing and Community Development to convene stakeholders to develop proposals for legislative changes to assist in the provision of safety and security measures active shooter or hostile threats to schools. The review conducted by the stakeholders shall include the examination of (i) locking devices, (ii) barricade devices, and (iii) other safety measures that may be utilized in an active shooter or hostile threat situation that occurs in any classroom or other area where students are located for a finite period of time.
School Resource Officers, School Protection Officers, etc.
HB1733 (Gilbert)/ SB 1214 (Newman) – These bills require each schools board that employs school resources officers to enter a memorandum of understanding with the local law-enforcement agency, to be based on a model MOU to be developed by the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety, that sets forth the powers and duties of the school resource officers. In addition, the MOU must be reviewed and amended or affirmed at least once every five years or at any time upon the request of either party.
HB2142 (Thomas) – This bill creates the position of “school protection officer” which is as a retired law-enforcement officer hired on a part-time basis by the local law-enforcement agency to provide limited law-enforcement and security services in public schools.
HB 2609 (Jones, J.C.)/ SB 1130 (Locke) – These bills require the Department of Criminal Justice Services to establish compulsory minimum training standards for certification and recertification for school resource officers that are specific to the role and responsibility of a law-enforcement officer working with students in a school environment. Effective July 1, 2020, every school resource officer will be required to complete this training within a period to be set by the Criminal Justice Services Board. In addition, school boards will be required to ensure that at least one administrator in every school has completed the school safety training for public school personnel conducted by the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety. Importantly, this requirement for administrator training only goes into effect if the training is made available online.
Student Health and Safety
HB 1753 (Sickles) – This bill prohibits the operation of an electronic room partition unless (no student is present in the building, (ii) no student is present in the area and the area is secured, or (iii) the partition is equipped with an automatic safety sensor that stops the partition. HB 1753 has been signed by the Governor and goes into effect July 1, 2019.
HB 1930 (Bell, R.P.) – This bill requires the Board of Education update its concussion guideline every two years and local school boards to update their concussion policies and procedures every two years. This bill has been signed by the Governor and goes into effect July 1, 2019. HB 1930 has been signed by the Governor and goes into effect July 1, 2019.
HB1997 (Price) – This bill requires a school principal who receives notice of a protective order related to a student to provide notice of the order to school personnel who provide direct support to the student, who are responsible for supervising the student, or who otherwise have a need for the information. The bill also requires the Board of Education to establish guidelines and model policies to aid local school boards in complying with this section.
SB 1195 (Dance) – This bill directs the Virginia's Children's Cabinet to establish a school-based health centers joint task force to (i) assess the current landscape of school-based services and mental health screening, evaluation, and treatment in school settings; (ii) develop best practice recommendations for trauma-informed school-based health centers as a vehicle for the provision of both medical and behavioral health delivered in school settings; (iii) evaluate options for billing public and private insurance for school-based health services; and (iv) develop a plan for establishing a Virginia affiliate member organization, recognized by the national School-Based Health Alliance, for the purposes of providing technical assistance and guidance for localities interested in bolstering or implementing current and future school-based health centers.
HB 1881 (Keam) – This bill requires school boards to provide instruction concerning the health and safety risks of using tobacco products, nicotine vapor products, and alternative nicotine products. The bill also requires the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth to develop and the Department of Education to distribute educational materials to be used to provide this instruction.
HB 2384 (Hope)/ SB 1295 (Spruill) – These bills require each school board to (i) develop and implement a policy to prohibit the use and distribution of tobacco products and nicotine vapor products on a school bus, on school property, or at an on-site or off-site school-sponsored activity, which must include adequate provisions for enforcement among students, employees, and visitors, including the enumeration of possible sanctions or disciplinary action consistent with state or federal law, and referrals to resources to help staff and students overcome tobacco addiction and (ii) include in its code of student conduct a prohibition against possessing tobacco products or nicotine vapor products on a school bus, on school property, or at an on-site or off-site school-sponsored activity. These bills have been signed by the Governor and go into effect July 1, 2019.
Family Life Education
HB 2205 (Filler-Corn) – This bill requires that any high school family life education curriculum that is offered incorporate age-appropriate elements of effective and evidence-based programs on the law and meaning of consent. Under legislation passed last year, such instruction was optional, now it will be mandatory. HB 2205 has been signed by the Governor and goes into effect July 1, 2019.
SB 1141 (Favola) – This bill requires the Board of Education to include instruction on the prevention of human trafficking in its curriculum guidelines for family life education and also requires local school boards that offer family life education to incorporate age-appropriate elements of effective and evidence-based programs on the prevention of human trafficking.
SB 1159 (Black) – This bill requires any family life education curriculum offered by a local school division to incorporate age-appropriate elements of effective and evidence-based programs on the harmful physical and emotional effects of female genital mutilation, associated criminal penalties, and the rights of the victim including any civil action.
HB 1623 (Cole)/SB 1249 (Reeves) – These bills permit the child of a servicemember who is relocating to the Commonwealth pursuant to orders to register for courses and other academic programs and participate in the lottery process for charter schools and college partnership laboratory schools in the school division in which the student will reside at the same time and in the same manner as students who reside in the local school division. These bills have been signed by the Governor and go into effect July 1, 2019.
HB 2297 (Simon) – This bill was intended to provide clarification regarding what school division a
child was entitled to attend when the child resides in a building is in more than one locality. The bill provides that the child is eligible to attend the public schools, free of charge, in the locality in which the building is taxable. The bill also includes a “grandfather” provision that provides that any student who resides on property (not in a building but on property) that is in more than one school division and who registers for enrollment at a public school in either school division prior to July 1, 2019 is eligible to attend public school in that school division for free. The bill further provides that any sibling of such a student is also allowed to attend that school division for free.
Students and Discipline
HB 1720 (Hurst)/SB 1632 (Sturtevant) – These bills provide that a school board is not required to suspend or expel a student for the possession or use of cannabidiol oil or THC-A oil when the student holds a valid written certification of a prescriber for its use in accordance with the student’s individualized health plan and in accordance school board policy. The bills also provide a bar to prosecution for any school nurse who administers cannabidiol oil or THC-A oil for storing, dispensing, or administering it in accordance with school board policy for a student who has been issued a valid written certification. It is important to note that this legislation does not mandate that school boards allow students to possess or use, or require school nurses to administer, cannabidiol oil or THC-A oil.
HB 1985 (Bell, R.P.)/SB 1298 (Barker) – These bills require the Department of Education to annually collect from each school board and publish on its website various enrollment and achievement data on alternative education programs for students who have been suspended, expelled, or otherwise precluded from attendance at school. These bills have been signed by the Governor and go into effect July 1, 2019.
HB 2037 (Carroll Foy)/SB 1397 (Peake) – These bills will allow for a license to be issued to a provisionally licensed teacher who is employed by a school board but who has not passed the professional assessment required for licensure if the teacher has met all other requirements for full licensure, is recommended by the division superintendent to receive full licensure, and has received a rating of proficient or above on their performance evaluation each year of their provisional license.
HB 2486 (Robinson) – This bill requires the Board of Education to develop guidelines to establish a process for alternate routes for licensure.
HB 2217 (Bourne)/SB 1419 (Sturtevant) – These bills permit the Department of Education to establish a microcredential program for teachers to earn microcredentials in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) endorsement areas, including computer science, for which there is a high need for additional qualified teachers. These bills have been signed by the Governor and go into effect July 1, 2019.
SB 1433 (McClellan) – This bill requires the Department of Education, upon the implementation of an automated teacher licensure and intake system, to aggregate and report to each education preparation program certain teacher employment data, as available, regarding such program's graduates.
Employment and Training
SB 1491 (Chafin) – This bill allows a school board to hire a relative of the division superintendent if (i) the superintendent certifies that he had no involvement with the hiring decision and (ii) the assistant superintendent certifies to the members of the governing body in writing that the employment is based upon merit and fitness and the competitive rating of the qualifications of the individual and that the superintendent had no involvement with the hiring decision.
SB 1713 (Vogel) – This bill requires the Board of Education to include in its training program for school bus operators safety protocols for responding to adverse weather conditions, unsafe conditions during loading and unloading of students, students on the wrong bus, and other circumstances, as determined by the Board, where student safety is at risk.
Curriculum, Testing and Graduation
HB 2008 (Garrett)/SB 1348 (Newman) – These bills require the Department of Education to establish an energy career cluster. These bills have been signed by the Governor and go into effect July 1, 2019.
HB 2018 (Peace)/SB 1434 (McClellan) – These bills require the Board of Education to review and revise its Career and Technical Education Work-Based Learning Guide to expand the opportunities available for students to earn credit for graduation through high-quality work-based learning experiences such as job shadowing, mentorships, internships, and externships. These bills have been signed by the Governor and goes into effect July 1, 2019.
HB 2107 (Ransone) – This bill requires each local school board to develop and implement a policy to ensure that parents have the right to review any audio-visual materials that contain graphic sexual or violent content used in any anti-bullying or suicide prevention program and that parents receive prior written notice of the right to review the material and to excuse their child from participating in the part of such program utilizing such material.
HB 2123 (Carroll Foy) – This bill permits each local school board to enter into College and Career Access Pathways Partnerships with community colleges or other public institutions of higher education or educational institutions that offer a career and technical education curriculum.
HB 2662 (Landes) – This bill requires the Board of Education, in establishing graduation requirements, to require students to complete a senior capstone project, portfolio, performance-based assessment, or structured experiment that relates to a work-based learning, service-learning, or community engagement activity.
SB 1718 (Black) – This bill directs the Department of Education to consult with stakeholders and develop a plan to implement a pilot program to incorporate additional diagnostic tools into reading diagnostic tests used for screening students in kindergarten through grade three.
SB 1728 (Newman) – This bill repeals the Standards of Learning Innovation Committee.
Other Passed Legislation
HB 1787 (Ransone)/ SB 1381 (McDougle) - Adds (i) threats of death or bodily injury to another person communicated in writing to such person or member of such person's family and (ii) threats to commit serious bodily harm to persons on school property to the list of offenses that a juvenile intake officer is required to report to the school division superintendent when a petition is filed alleging that a juvenile student committed such an offense. These bills have been signed by the Governor and go into effect July 1, 2019.
HB2124 (Davis)/SB 1269 (Cosgrove) – These bills require that, in the event of a mandatory evacuation compelled by the Governor, the Board of Education must waive the requirement that the days be made up. A maximum of five school days can be waivers.
HB 2147 (Turpin) – This bill aligns the state review process of underperforming schools and school divisions with the new Standards for Accreditation adopted by the Board of Education.
HB 2318 (McGuire) – This bill adds school nurses, local health department employees that are assigned to a public school pursuant to an agreement between the local health department and school board, and other school board employees or individuals contracted by a school board to provide school health services to the list of individuals who may possess and administer naloxone or other opioid antagonist, provided that they have completed a training program. HB 2318 has been signed by the Governor and goes into effect July 1, 2019.
HB2325 (Thomas) – This bill requires the Board of Education to include a written reprimand in the available disciplinary actions that Board may take against a license holder. Under current law, the Board of Education may only revoke or suspend a license.
HB 2400 (Roem) – This bill requires school boards to post prominently on their websites a web-based application for student participation in the School Breakfast Program or the National School Lunch Program. This requirement can be satisfied by adopting the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Web-Based Prototype Application for Free and Reduced Price School Meals or by digitizing an existing paper-based application. HB 2400 has been signed by the Governor and goes into effect July 1, 2019.
HB 2599 (Bell, J.J.) – This bill requires the Board of Education, in its regulations regarding the use of seclusion and restraint in public schools, to specifically identify and prohibit the use of any method of restraint or seclusion that it determines poses a significant danger to the student and establish safety standards for seclusion.
SB 1431 (Obenshain) – This bill requires the Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council to provide, and local elected officials to complete, an online training session on the provisions of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. The training requirement does not go into effect until July 1, 2020 and thereafter local elected officials must complete the training at least once every two years.
The following is a very brief summary of some of the defeated legislation from the 2019 session:
HB 1685 and HB 1688 – would have provided that no enrolled student who disrupts the operation of the school is guilty of disorderly conduct.
HB 1710 – would have required that each school bus purchased be equipped with a seat belt and that all school buses be equipped with seat belts no later than July 1, 2037.
HB 1793 – would have required every public school to provide the parents of enrolled students with at least 24 hours before the school conducts any lock-down drill.
HB 1795 – would have required each public high school to provide access to Virginia voter registration information and applications.
HB 1877 – would have required year-round operation of adult education programs.
HB 1907 – would have required school divisions to post a register of funds expended.
HB 2041 – would have provided that sufficient cause for student suspension may NOT include only instances of cell phone use or dress code violations.
HB 2102 – would have required that students who receive home instruction be allowed to participate in interscholastic programs.
HB 2104 – would have required school boards to include several items in their dress and grooming policies.
HB 2382 – would have declared that student journalists have the right to exercise freedom of speech and the press in school-sponsored media.
HB 2387 – would have required local school boards to provide alternative education programs for suspended students.
HB 2416 – would have created “Yellow Public Charter Schools” which would have allowed charter applicants to appeal to the Board of Education if denied a charter by the local school board.
HB 2463 – would have specified that in a special education due process hearing that the burden of proof would be on the school division.
HB 2568 – would have established a Child Safety Savings Account for tuition at a private school for students who are victims of bullying and certain crimes and other violent acts.
HB 2612 – would require that teachers be provided with a 45-minute unencumbered planning period each school day.
HB 1752 – would have required that no students attend school on Election Day
HB 2570 – would have prohibited students from participating in any Family Life Education program without the prior written consent of the parent (opt-in)
SB 1236 – would have required school board to provide employee associations access to employees, including attending new employee orientations
SB 1262 – would have required school divisions to post a register of funds expended
SB 1275 – would have required that students who receive home instruction be allowed to participate in JROTC programs without enrolling in the school