Monday, February 2, 2015

Monday Update from Education Committees

As we near crossover, Committees are working hard to act on all remaining bills. 

This morning, the House Education Committee took action on a large number of bills:

HB1361 (Bell) was reported and referred to Appropriations.  This bill, identical to one filed last year, establishes a statewide Virtual Virginia School.

HB2238 (LaRock), which originally did not make it out of Committee, was resurrected, amended, and then reported and referred to Appropriations.  The bill permits parents of students with disabilities to apply to the Department of Education for a Parental Choice Savings Account which would allow the parent to use state funds for certain expenses of the student including tuition, fees, or required textbooks at a private school, preschool, or program of home instruction, educational therapies or services, tutoring services, curriculum, tuition or fees for a private online learning program, fees for a nationally standardized norm-references achievement test, contributions to a qualified tuition program, or tuition, fees, or required textbooks at a public two-year or four-year higher education institution or an accredited private higher education institution in the Commonwealth.

HB1328 (Cole) was referred to the Courts Committee.  The bill would require school principals to determine the citizenship and immigration status of each student.  The bill would also require school boards to report this data to DOE and DOE to submit an invoice to U.S. DOE for reimbursement of the costs of educating students who are not lawfully present in the U.S. 

HB1334 (Landes) requires DOE to develop policies to ensure compliance with the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and state law applicable to students' personally identifiable information.  The bill also sets forth requirements for reporting disclosures of this information.  The bill was reported unanimously.

HB1338 (Farrell) would allow school boards to report hardware necessary for electronic textbooks as an instructional expense.  The bill was reported and referred to Appropriations.

HB1351 (Ramadan), related to diploma seals for biliteracy, was reported.

HB1443 (Bell) would require the Board of Education to adopt regulations on the use of seclusion and restraint that, among other things, are consistent with BOE's  Guidelines for the Development of Policies and Procedures for Managing Student Behavior in Emergency Situations and the Fifteen Principles contained in the U.S. Department of Education's Restraint and Seclusion: Resource Document. The bill was reported unanimously.  This bill is identical to SB782, which has already been passed by the Senate.

HB1587 (Landes) was amended to require that when a school employee is exposed to the body fluids of a minor, the minor is not deemed to have consented to blood testing until notice has been given to the parent.  The amended bill was reported.

HB1612 (Greason) requires certain  online service providers who contract with school divisions to meet certain requirements related to data privacy and the use of student data.  The bill was reported.

HB1627 (Bell), which would have allowed an alternative assessment for economics education and financial literacy, was tabled.

HB1679 (Bell) was reported.  The bill requires school boards to post on their websites information the services available through the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind, the  Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing, and the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired,

HB1744 (Hugo) reinstates the fact finding panel process for teacher grievances.  While currently the bill gives school boards the option to use a fact finding panel and does not make its use mandatory, VSBA is vehemently opposed to this bill because it is backtracking and opens the door to further changes (such as making the fact finding panel process mandatory in the future) that would make the grievance process longer and more costly.  The bill was reported and referred to the Counties, Cities, and Towns Committee.

HB1952 (Poindexter) related to the sale or transfer of used school buses was reported.

HB1962 (Landes) adds several topics to the required annual training for school board members and further requires that school board members certify their attendance at such training.  The bill was reported unanimously.

In addition, the Senate Subcommittee on Public Education also met and took the following actions:

SB998 (Stuart), which would have required a management plan for the implementation of concussion policies was passed by indefinitely.

SB1063 (Obenshain) would have allowed up to 25 percent of teachers in elementary charter schools and up to 50% of teachers in middle and high charter schools to be unlicensed.  There was no motion on the bill.

SB1286 (McDougle), which requires school boards to publish the annual school budget in line item on their websites, was reported.

SB1293 (Martin) prohibits school boards and the DOE from requiring the disclosure of student's social security numbers of newly enrolled students.  The bill was reported.

SB1354 (Reaves) requires DOE to establish a process for school boards to identify students who have a parent in the military and to report data on such students for the purposes of enhancing funding and services for those students.  The bill was reported.

SB1369 (Norment) established a private, statewide STEAM Academy.  For each student enrolled, the STEAM Academy would receive a proportionate share of federal, state, and local funding.  The bill was reported. 

SB1386 (Vogel) would require every person seeking licensure or relicensure as a teacher to receive professional development on the screening, intervention, accommodation, and use of technology for students with reading disabilities, including dyslexia.  The motion to report the bill failed on a tie vote.