Wednesday, February 15, 2017

House Education Committee 2/13

The House Education Committee considered the following bills earlier this week.

SB829 (Wexton) directs the Board of Education to establish guidelines for alternatives to short-term and long-term suspension for consideration by local school boards.  The bill was reported 21-1. 

SB1240 (Dunnavant) would create a state-wide Virginia Virtual School that would be open to any student in the Commonwealth. The bill was reported and referred to House Appropriations on a vote of 14-8. 

SB1283 (Obenshain) would allow the BOE to establish regional charter school divisions, consisting of up to 3 underlying local school divisions that each have an enrollment of 3000 students and that each have one or more schools that have been denied accreditation for two of the last three years.  The regional charter school division would be governed by a separate board of eight members appointed by BOE and one member appointed from each underlying locality (not school board).  The regional charter school would get the per pupil state funding associated with the jurisdiction in which each student resides.  The regional charter school would not be entitled to receive any local share for such students. The bill was reported and referred to House Appropriations on a 14-8 vote. 
SB995 (Stanley) regarding long-term suspensions was conformed to the House's version Delegate Dickie Bell's  HB1534 and reported 14-8.  The bill, as reported, limits long term suspensions to 45 days unless aggravating circumstances exist, in which case the long-term suspension may last up to 90 days.  The bill is now far more restrictive than the version that passed the Senate.

SB997 (Stanley) regarding expulsions and suspensions for students in prekindergarten through grade 3, was conformed to the House's version of Delegate Dickie Bell's HB1536 and reported 13-9. The bill, as reported, prohibits expulsion or suspension for more than 5 days for students in prekindergarten through grade three, except in very limited circumstances of firearms and drugs.  The bill is now far more restrictive than the version that passed the Senate.

SB1523 (Mason) requires the Department of Education to develop a pilot  program to administer exit questionnaires for teachers who leave their employment. The bill was reported from the committee 22-0. 

SB1516 (Black) requires that school boards that employ reading specialists must have at least one reading specialist receive training in the identification of and the appropriate interventions, accommodations, and teaching techniques for students with dyslexia or a related disorder and to serve as an advisor on dyslexia and related disorders. The bill was conform do Delegate Ben Cline's HB 2395 and reported 22-0.