Wednesday, January 21, 2015

First meeting of the House Elementary and Secondary Education subcommittee

Immediately following the House Education Committee, the Elementary and Secondary Education subcommittee held its first meeting of the session. The following bills were considered:

HB1307 (Landes) removes the requirement to collect federal social security numbers from a student (or their parent) and prohibits the Department of Education and local school boards from requiring a student (or their parent) to provide their federal social security number. The bill also requires the Department of Education to develop a system of unique student identification numbers and requires each local school board to assign such a number to each student enrolled in a public elementary or secondary school. The bill reported unanimously with two amendments. We will update you as soon as those amendments are available for review. 

HB1304 (Farrell) allows eligible local school divisions to apply for grants to lease educational technology under the Virginia Public School Educational Technology Grants Program. Under current law, grants are only available for the acquisition and replacement of educational technology. Some concerns were raised over the availability of these funds for leasing equipment. VSBA will continue to work with the patron to support this legislation as it moves through the committee process. The subcommittee recommended unanimously reporting and referring to the House Appropriations Committee.

HB1484 (Tyler) changes the date in which the governing body of a county must prepare and approve their annual budget for educational purposes to May 15th which conforms the county budget preparation and approval process to that of municipalities. This bill reported unanimously from the subcommittee.

HB1514 (Minchew) requires, for the purpose of determining the state and local shares of basic aid funding, that the composite index of local ability-to-pay or "local composite index" (LCI) utilize the use value of all applicable real estate (i) devoted to agricultural use, horticultural use, forest use, and open-space use in each locality that has adopted an ordinance by which it provides for the use valuation and taxation of such real estate and (ii) used in agricultural and forestral production within an agricultural district, forestal district, agricultural and forestal district, or agricultural and forestal district of local significance in each locality that provides for the use valuation and taxation of such real estate, regardless of whether it has adopted a local land-use plan or local ordinance for such valuation and taxation. After much discussion and debate, the subcommittee recommended reporting on a 4-3 vote.

HB1581 (Watts) requires the Board of Education to include in its standards of learning and curriculum guidelines for family life education instruction the availability of advance directives, as set forth in the Health Care Decisions Act, related to mental health that permit an adult declarant to appoint an agent and authorize the agent to seek the hospitalization and evaluation of the declarant if the declarant shows signs of mental illness. The subcommittee recommended reporting 7-1.

HB1616 (Greason) requires career and technical education program course sequences to be aligned with national certification requirements, if such requirements exist for the sequence of courses. The Department of Education stated that this is the current practice of the department but it is not a code requirement. The subcommittee recommended reporting unanimously.