Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Genera; Assembly Update 3/2/18

Today, VSBA staff attended the meeting of House Appropriations Elementary and Secondary Education Subcommittee. Bills of interest to VSBA discussed included:

SB 969 (Newman) – This bill would require the Board of Education, in establishing high school graduation requirements, to require students to earn one verified credit in history and social science by (i) the successful completion of a Board-developed end-of-course Standards of Learning assessment; (ii) achievement of a passing score on a Board-approved standardized test administered on a statewide, multistate, or international basis that measures content that incorporates or exceeds the Standards of Learning content in the course for which the verified credit is given; or (iii) achievement of criteria for the receipt of a locally awarded verified credit from the local school board in accordance with criteria established in Board guidelines when the student has not passed a corresponding Standards of Learning assessment. The bill would prohibit such end-of-course Standards of Learning assessment from being a performance-based assessment. The subcommittee laid the bill on the table (6-2).

SB 205 (Stuart) – This bill would expand eligibility for services under the Children's Services Act to students who transfer from an approved private school special education program to a public school special education program established and funded jointly by a local governing body and school division located within Planning District 16 for the purpose of providing special education and related services when (i) the public school special education program is able to provide services comparable to those of an approved private school special education program and (ii) the student would require placement in an approved private school special education program but for the availability of the public school special education program. The provisions of the bill are contingent on funding in a general appropriation act. The subcommittee laid the bill on the table (8-0).

SB 785 (Surovell) – This bill would prohibit local school boards from requiring the use of any electronic textbook in any course in grades six through 12 unless the school board adopts a plan to ensure that on or before July 1, 2020, (i) each student enrolled in such course will have actual access at school and, if any assignment requires the use of such electronic textbook outside of school hours, in his residence to at least one personal computing device not shared with another student that contains an operating system and the hardware necessary to support the format of each electronic textbook expected to be used in such course and (ii) the relevant school has adequate connectivity, which the bill defines as bandwidth of at least 100 kilobits per second per enrolled student. VSBA spoke in opposition to the bill. The subcommittee laid the bill on the table (5-3).

In other news, as discussed in previous posts, the House and Senate budget proposals have now been introduced in addition to the original proposal from Governor Northam. Vast differences exsit between the budgets. The Department of Education recently released a Superintendent's Memo detailing the impact to local divisions and education funding in the Commonwealth as a whole. The memo and its attachments can be found here. VSBA staff will provide you with additional updates on the budget as we approach Sine Die.