Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Crossover Report - Passed Legislation

Today is the first day post-crossover, meaning that all bills have either passed their respective body or they failed. This session VSBA has been working with over 200 bills that are directly or indirectly related to K-12 education. We have had a number of significant successes in defeating unfavorable legislation and in passing favorable legislation. Below is the first report on legislation that has passed their respective house and will now be moving through the process in the other body. We’ll be providing additional updates on bills that have been defeated and bills of concern.

HB1303 (Farrell)- requires the Department of Education to make available to school divisions Standards of Learning assessments typically administered by the middle and high schools by December 1 of the school year in which such assessments are to be administered or when newly developed assessments are available, whichever is later.

HB1675 (Greason) – permits local school divisions to waive (1) the requirement for students to receive 140 clock hours of instruction to earn a standard credit or (2) the requirement for students to achieve a satisfactory score on a SOL assessment test or Board-approved substitute test to earn a verified credit upon providing the Board with satisfactory proof, based on Board guidelines, that the students for whom such requirements are waived have learned the content and skills included in the relevant Standards of Learning. The Board guidelines will provide that a satisfactory score on a locally developed alternative assessment or on an Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate examination is proof that the student has learned the content. The provisions of clause (2) have a delayed effective date of July 1, 2016.

HB1338 (Farrell) – requires the Department of Education, for the purpose of including in the annual School Performance Report Card for school divisions the percentage of each school division's operating budget allocated to instructional costs, to allocate to instructional costs each school division's expenditures on the hardware necessary to support electronic textbooks. 

HB1309 (Cole) – allows local school boards the option to arm school security officers with batons, stun weapons, or any spray device designed to incapacitate a person and to allow school security officers to use such devices under the appropriate circumstances.

HB1490 (Habeeb)/ SB874 (Cosgrove) – directs the Board of Education to promulgate regulations to provide the same criteria for eligibility for an expedited retake of any Standards of Learning test, with the exception of the writing Standards of Learning tests, to each student regardless of grade level or course.

HB1674 (Greason) – reduces the frequency that a school's accreditation status is reviewed by the Board of Education.  The bill allows the Board of Education to review the accreditation status of schools every one, two, or three years, as determined by the Board of Education, and requires that a school that is not fully accredited be reviewed in the subsequent year.  

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.

HB1672 (Greason) – repeals the A-F school grading system and requires the Board of Education, in consultation with the SOL Innovation Committee, to redesign the School Performance Report Card so that it is more effective in communicating to parents and the public the status and achievements of the public schools and local school divisions. A similar bill, SB727 (Black) was passed in the Senate.

HB1615 (Greason) allows the required end-of-course or end-of-grade assessments for English, mathematics, science, and history and social science to be integrated to include multiple subject areas.  This bill would not, however, require the use of integrated assessments.  

HB1585 (Stolle) - allows a division superintendent, with the approval of the local school board, to (1) establish an alternative school schedule plan to provide for the operation of schools on a year-round basis or determine the opening day of the school year for any school within the local school division that has failed to achieve full accreditation status and (2) establish such an alternative school schedule plan for the entire local school division if more than 15 percent of all public schools within the local school division have failed to achieve full accreditation status.

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.  

HB1307 (Landes)/ SB1293 (Martin) prohibits school boards and the DOE from requiring the disclosure of student's social security numbers of newly enrolled students. The bill also requires the Department to instead 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. 

HB1334 (Landes) –requires the Department of Education to develop and make publicly available on its website policies to ensure state and local compliance with the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and state law applicable to students' personally identifiable information, including policies for access to students' personally identifiable information and the approval of requests for student data from public and private entities and individuals for the purpose of research. The bill also requires the Department and each local school division to notify the parent of any student whose personally identifiable information contained in electronic records could reasonably be assumed to have been disclosed in violation of FERPA or state law applicable to such information, except as otherwise provided in certain other provisions of law. The notification shall include the date, estimated date, or date range of the disclosure; type of information that was or is reasonably believed to have been disclosed; and remedial measures taken or planned in response to the disclosure.

HB1873 (Krupicka)/ SB1320 (Locke) – directs the Board of Education to promulgate regulations establishing additional accreditation ratings that recognize the progress of schools that do not meet accreditation benchmarks but have significantly improved their pass rates, are within specified ranges of benchmarks, or have demonstrated significant growth for the majority of their students. These regulations must be implemented by the 2016-2017 school year.

HB1443 (D. Bell)/ SB782 (Favola) – requires the Board of Education to adopt regulations on the use of seclusion and restraint in public elementary and secondary schools in the Commonwealth. These regulations must: 
  • Be consistent with the 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;
  • Include definitions, criteria for use, restrictions for use, training requirements, notification requirements, reporting requirements, and follow-up requirements; and
  • Address distinctions, including distinctions in emotional and physical development, between the general student population and the special education student population as well as elementary school students and secondary school students. 

HB1550 (Greason) – makes local school boards responsible for setting the school calendar and determining the opening date of the school year and eliminates the post-Labor Day opening requirement and "good cause" scenarios for which the Board of Education may grant waivers of this requirement.

HB1838 (Robinson) - makes local school boards responsible for setting the school calendar and determining the opening date of the school year and eliminates the post-Labor Day opening requirement and "good cause" scenarios for which the Board of Education may grant waivers of this requirement. Additionally, it requires local school boards that set the school calendar with a pre-Labor Day opening date, except those schools that were granted a "good cause" waiver for the 2014-2015 school year, to close all schools in the division from the Thursday immediately preceding Labor Day through Labor Day or from the Friday immediately preceding Labor Day through the Tuesday immediately following Labor Day.

SB1354 (Reeves) 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. 

SB866 (Chafin/Vogel) - allows local school boards and local governments to participate in the state employee health plan. However, this bill does require the authorization from both the local school board and local governing body to participate in the plan.