Monday, March 4, 2019

Wrap Up from the 2019 General Assembly Session

Budget Highlights

A few highlights from the budget include the following:


  • Adds $72.8 million for the state’s share of an additional 2% salary increase, effective September 1, 2019 (in addition to the 3% salary increase approved in last year’s budget). Budget language provides flexibility regarding the timing of the salary increases. 
  • Adds $10.6 million in FY19 and $14.3 million in FY20 to increase the At-Risk Add-On Percentages from 13% to 14.5% in FY19 and from 14% to 16% in FY20.
  • Adds $34.7 in Supplemental Lottery Per Pupil Allocation over the amount approved last year.
  • Provides $12 million in FY20 to provide the state share for additional school counselor positions to lower the school counselor to student ratios to those required in HB2053 (see below).
  • Increases the School Security Equipment Grant annual allocation from $6 million to $12 million beginning in FY20.
  • Provides $150,000 in FY20 to expand Virtual Virginia.
  • Budget language to add flexibility to permit school boards to hire testing coordinators and licensed behavior analysts with At-Risk Add-On funds in order to reduce the workloads of school counselors (see requirements below).
  • Budget language to direct the Department of Education to collect data and report data that measures the progress and outcomes of students placed in special education private day schools.


Passed Legislation

Below is a summary of important legislation that passed during the 2019 session of the General Assembly.  This is not an exhaustive list of all education-related legislation but it an attempt to cover the most important pieces of passed legislation.  Legislation that has been signed by the Governor as of March 3, 2019 is noted.

School Calendar

HB 1652 (Robinson)/ SB 1005 (Chase) – These bills eliminate the post-Labor Day start requirement and also eliminate the good cause waivers, except the waiver for year-round schools, and create three tiers for school start dates:

  1. School boards that have had a waiver in effect since 2012 and which has continued through budget language can continue to start as early as they wish with no requirement for holidays around Labor Day;
  2. School boards that were not covered by the budget language in #1 but that had a good cause waiver for the 2018-2019 school year can continue to start as early as they wish but must close schools from the Friday before Labor Day through Labor Day; and
  3. School boards that did not have a waiver for the 2018-2019 school year can now start up to 14 days before Labor Day but, if they start early, they must close schools from the Friday before Labor Day through Labor Day.

HB 2140 (Thomas) – This bill allows school boards in Planning District 16 to open before Labor Day, including opening more than 14 days before Labor Day, if they would have qualified for a waiver for the 2019-2020 school year under the law as it was prior to July 1, 2019 (in other words, before the Robinson/Chase bill).  This bill also allows a school board in Planning District 16 that is entirely surrounded by school divisions that open prior to Labor Day to open on the same date as either of the two surrounding school divisions.  This amended bill was narrowly drawn to benefit Stafford and Fredericksburg.

School Counselors

HB 1729 (Landes) – This bill changes the term guidance counselor to school counselor and requires each school counselor to spend at least 80% of his or her time in direct counseling individual students or groups of students.  This bill has been signed by the Governor and goes into effect July 1, 2019.

HB 2053 (McQuinn)/ SB 1406 (Dance)/Budget Language – These bills and budget amendment reduces the ratio of school counselors to students from one school counselor per 500 students to one counselor per 455 students in elementary schools, from one school counselor per 400 students to one counselor per 370 students in middle schools, and from one school counselor per 350 students to one counselor per 325 students in high schools,  Importantly, the budget amendment provides additional state funding to achieve these new ratios.

School Safety

HB 1725 (Knight) – This bill requires that each school board, in consultation with the local building official and the state or local fire marshal, develop a procurement plan to ensure that all security enhancements to schools comply with the Uniform Statewide Building Code and the Statewide Fire Prevention Code.  This bill has been signed by the Governor and goes into effect July 1, 2019.

HB 1732 (O’Quinn)/SB 1215 (Newman) – These bills require each school board to develop and deliver an annual training on safety procedures in the event of an emergency on school property to all students and school-based employees.  These bills have been signed by the Governor and go into effect July 1, 2019.

HB 1734 (Marshall)/SB 1213 (Newman) – These bills require the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety to develop a case management tool that threat assessment teams will be required to use. 

HB 1737 (Wright)/ SB 1220 (Newman) – These bills require school boards to include the chief law-enforcement officer, the fire chief, the chief of the emergency medical services agency, the executive director of the relevant regional emergency medical services council, and the emergency management official of the locality, or their designees, in the development and review of school crisis, emergency management, and medical emergency response plans.  HB1737 has been signed by the Governor and goes into effect July 1, 2019.

HB 1738 (Rush) – This bill requires that the plans and specifications for new or remodeled public schools be reviewed by someone with professional expertise in crime prevention through environmental design and requires that the reviewer’s comments be submitted to the Superintendent of Public Instruction along with the final plans and specifications. HB 1738 has been signed by the Governor and goes into effect July 1, 2019.

HB 2720 (Gooditis) – This bill specifies that, for the purpose of eligibility for grants for security equipment through the Public School Security Equipment Grant Act of 2013, security equipment includes building modifications and fixtures, such as security vestibules. HB 2720 has been signed by the Governor and goes into effect July 1, 2019.

HB 2721 (Freitas) – This bill allows school boards to employ as a school security officer an individual who was formerly employed by a law enforcement agency of the United States or any state or political subdivision.  Current law only allows former law enforcement officers from Virginia to serve as school security officers. 

SB 1591 (Dunnavant) – This bill directs the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety to convene a work group to develop guidelines and best practices for the sharing of information between a local school board or public institution of higher education and law enforcement regarding a student whose behavior may pose a threat to the safety of a school or institution or the community. The guidelines are to be made available to local school boards, public institutions of higher education, law enforcement, and the public by October 1, 2019.

SB 1755 (Hanger) – This bill directs the Department of Housing and Community Development to convene stakeholders to develop proposals for legislative changes to assist in the provision of safety and security measures active shooter or hostile threats to schools. The review conducted by the stakeholders shall include the examination of (i) locking devices, (ii) barricade devices, and (iii) other safety measures that may be utilized in an active shooter or hostile threat situation that occurs in any classroom or other area where students are located for a finite period of time.

School Resource Officers, School Protection Officers, etc.

HB1733 (Gilbert)/ SB 1214 (Newman) – These bills require each schools board that employs school resources officers to enter a memorandum of understanding with the local law-enforcement agency, to be based on a model MOU to be developed by the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety, that sets forth the powers and duties of the school resource officers. In addition, the MOU must be reviewed and amended or affirmed at least once every five years or at any time upon the request of either party.

HB2142 (Thomas) – This bill creates the position of “school protection officer” which is as a retired law-enforcement officer hired on a part-time basis by the local law-enforcement agency to provide limited law-enforcement and security services in public schools.

HB 2609 (Jones, J.C.)/ SB 1130 (Locke) – These bills require the Department of Criminal Justice Services to establish compulsory minimum training standards for certification and recertification for school resource officers that are specific to the role and responsibility of a law-enforcement officer working with students in a school environment. Effective July 1, 2020, every school resource officer will be required to complete this training within a period to be set by the Criminal Justice Services Board.  In addition, school boards will be required to ensure that at least one administrator in every school has completed the school safety training for public school personnel conducted by the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety.  Importantly, this requirement for administrator training only goes into effect if the training is made available online.

Student Health and Safety

HB 1753 (Sickles) – This bill prohibits the operation of an electronic room partition unless (no student is present in the building, (ii) no student is present in the area and the area is secured, or (iii) the partition is equipped with an automatic safety sensor that stops the partition. HB 1753 has been signed by the Governor and goes into effect July 1, 2019.

HB 1930 (Bell, R.P.) – This bill requires the Board of Education update its concussion guideline every two years and local school boards to update their concussion policies and procedures every two years.  This bill has been signed by the Governor and goes into effect July 1, 2019. HB 1930 has been signed by the Governor and goes into effect July 1, 2019.

HB1997 (Price) – This bill requires a school principal who receives notice of a protective order related to a student to provide notice of the order to school personnel who provide direct support to the student, who are responsible for supervising the student, or who otherwise have a need for the information.  The bill also requires the Board of Education to establish guidelines and model policies to aid local school boards in complying with this section.

SB 1195 (Dance) – This bill directs the Virginia's Children's Cabinet to establish a school-based health centers joint task force to (i) assess the current landscape of school-based services and mental health screening, evaluation, and treatment in school settings; (ii) develop best practice recommendations for trauma-informed school-based health centers as a vehicle for the provision of both medical and behavioral health delivered in school settings; (iii) evaluate options for billing public and private insurance for school-based health services; and (iv) develop a plan for establishing a Virginia affiliate member organization, recognized by the national School-Based Health Alliance, for the purposes of providing technical assistance and guidance for localities interested in bolstering or implementing current and future school-based health centers.

Tobacco

HB 1881 (Keam) – This bill requires school boards to provide instruction concerning the health and safety risks of using tobacco products, nicotine vapor products, and alternative nicotine products.  The bill also requires the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth to develop and the Department of Education to distribute educational materials to be used to provide this instruction. 

HB 2384 (Hope)/ SB 1295 (Spruill) – These bills require each school board to (i) develop and implement a policy to prohibit the use and distribution of tobacco products and nicotine vapor products on a school bus, on school property, or at an on-site or off-site school-sponsored activity, which must include adequate provisions for enforcement among students, employees, and visitors, including the enumeration of possible sanctions or disciplinary action consistent with state or federal law, and referrals to resources to help staff and students overcome tobacco addiction and (ii) include in its code of student conduct a prohibition against possessing tobacco products or nicotine vapor products on a school bus, on school property, or at an on-site or off-site school-sponsored activity. These bills have been signed by the Governor and go into effect July 1, 2019.

Family Life Education

HB 2205 (Filler-Corn) – This bill requires that any high school family life education curriculum that is offered incorporate age-appropriate elements of effective and evidence-based programs on the law and meaning of consent.  Under legislation passed last year, such instruction was optional, now it will be mandatory. HB 2205 has been signed by the Governor and goes into effect July 1, 2019.

SB 1141 (Favola) – This bill requires the Board of Education to include instruction on the prevention of human trafficking in its curriculum guidelines for family life education and also requires local school boards that offer family life education to incorporate age-appropriate elements of effective and evidence-based programs on the prevention of human trafficking.

SB 1159 (Black) – This bill requires any family life education curriculum offered by a local school division to incorporate age-appropriate elements of effective and evidence-based programs on the harmful physical and emotional effects of female genital mutilation, associated criminal penalties, and the rights of the victim including any civil action.

Enrollment

HB 1623 (Cole)/SB 1249 (Reeves) – These bills permit the child of a servicemember who is relocating to the Commonwealth pursuant to orders to register for courses and other academic programs and participate in the lottery process for charter schools and college partnership laboratory schools in the school division in which the student will reside at the same time and in the same manner as students who reside in the local school division.  These bills have been signed by the Governor and go into effect July 1, 2019.

HB 2297 (Simon) – This bill was intended to provide clarification regarding what school division a
child was entitled to attend when the child resides in a building is in more than one locality.  The bill provides that the child is eligible to attend the public schools, free of charge, in the locality in which the building is taxable.  The bill also includes a “grandfather” provision that provides that any student who resides on property (not in a building but on property) that is in more than one school division and who registers for enrollment at a public school in either school division prior to July 1, 2019 is eligible to attend public school in that school division for free.  The bill further provides that any sibling of such a student is also allowed to attend that school division for free. 

Students and Discipline

HB 1720 (Hurst)/SB 1632 (Sturtevant) – These bills provide that a school board is not required to suspend or expel a student for the possession or use of cannabidiol oil or THC-A oil when the student holds a valid written certification of a prescriber for its use in accordance with the student’s individualized health plan and in accordance school board policy.  The bills also provide a bar to prosecution for any school nurse who administers cannabidiol oil or THC-A oil for storing, dispensing, or administering it in accordance with school board policy for a student who has been issued a valid written certification.  It is important to note that this legislation does not mandate that school boards allow students to possess or use, or require school nurses to administer, cannabidiol oil or THC-A oil. 

HB 1985 (Bell, R.P.)/SB 1298 (Barker) – These bills require the Department of Education to annually collect from each school board and publish on its website various enrollment and achievement data on alternative education programs for students who have been suspended, expelled, or otherwise precluded from attendance at school.  These bills have been signed by the Governor and go into effect July 1, 2019.

Teacher Licensure

HB 2037 (Carroll Foy)/SB 1397 (Peake) – These bills will allow for a license to be issued to a provisionally licensed teacher who is employed by a school board but who has not passed the professional assessment required for licensure if the teacher has met all other requirements for full licensure, is recommended by the division superintendent to receive full licensure, and has received a rating of proficient or above on their performance evaluation each year of their provisional license. 

HB 2486 (Robinson) – This bill requires the Board of Education to develop guidelines to establish a process for alternate routes for licensure. 

HB 2217 (Bourne)/SB 1419 (Sturtevant) – These bills permit the Department of Education to establish a microcredential program for teachers to earn microcredentials in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) endorsement areas, including computer science, for which there is a high need for additional qualified teachers. These bills have been signed by the Governor and go into effect July 1, 2019.

SB 1433 (McClellan) – This bill requires the Department of Education, upon the implementation of an automated teacher licensure and intake system, to aggregate and report to each education preparation program certain teacher employment data, as available, regarding such program's graduates.

Employment and Training

SB 1491 (Chafin) – This bill allows a school board to hire a relative of the division superintendent if (i) the superintendent certifies that he had no involvement with the hiring decision and (ii) the assistant superintendent certifies to the members of the governing body in writing that the employment is based upon merit and fitness and the competitive rating of the qualifications of the individual and that the superintendent had no involvement with the hiring decision.

SB 1713 (Vogel) – This bill requires the Board of Education to include in its training program for school bus operators safety protocols for responding to adverse weather conditions, unsafe conditions during loading and unloading of students, students on the wrong bus, and other circumstances, as determined by the Board, where student safety is at risk.
Curriculum, Testing and Graduation

HB 2008 (Garrett)/SB 1348 (Newman) – These bills require the Department of Education to establish an energy career cluster. These bills have been signed by the Governor and go into effect July 1, 2019.

HB 2018 (Peace)/SB 1434 (McClellan) – These bills require the Board of Education to review and revise its Career and Technical Education Work-Based Learning Guide to expand the opportunities available for students to earn credit for graduation through high-quality work-based learning experiences such as job shadowing, mentorships, internships, and externships.  These bills have been signed by the Governor and goes into effect July 1, 2019.

HB 2107 (Ransone) – This bill requires each local school board to develop and implement a policy to ensure that parents have the right to review any audio-visual materials that contain graphic sexual or violent content used in any anti-bullying or suicide prevention program and that parents receive  prior written notice of the right to review the material and to excuse their child from participating in the part of such program utilizing such material.

HB 2123 (Carroll Foy) – This bill permits each local school board to enter into College and Career Access Pathways Partnerships with community colleges or other public institutions of higher education or educational institutions that offer a career and technical education curriculum.

HB 2662 (Landes) – This bill requires the Board of Education, in establishing graduation requirements, to require students to complete a senior capstone project, portfolio, performance-based assessment, or structured experiment that relates to a work-based learning, service-learning, or community engagement activity.

SB 1718 (Black) – This bill directs the Department of Education to consult with stakeholders and develop a plan to implement a pilot program to incorporate additional diagnostic tools into reading diagnostic tests used for screening students in kindergarten through grade three.

SB 1728 (Newman) – This bill repeals the Standards of Learning Innovation Committee.

Other Passed Legislation

HB 1787 (Ransone)/ SB 1381 (McDougle) - Adds (i) threats of death or bodily injury to another person communicated in writing to such person or member of such person's family and (ii) threats to commit serious bodily harm to persons on school property to the list of offenses that a juvenile intake officer is required to report to the school division superintendent when a petition is filed alleging that a juvenile student committed such an offense. These bills have been signed by the Governor and go into effect July 1, 2019.

HB2124 (Davis)/SB 1269 (Cosgrove) – These bills require that, in the event of a mandatory evacuation compelled by the Governor, the Board of Education must waive the requirement that the days be made up.  A maximum of five school days can be waivers. 

HB 2147 (Turpin) – This bill aligns the state review process of underperforming schools and school divisions with the new Standards for Accreditation adopted by the Board of Education.

HB 2318 (McGuire) – This bill adds school nurses, local health department employees that are assigned to a public school pursuant to an agreement between the local health department and school board, and other school board employees or individuals contracted by a school board to provide school health services to the list of individuals who may possess and administer naloxone or other opioid antagonist, provided that they have completed a training program. HB 2318 has been signed by the Governor and goes into effect July 1, 2019.

HB2325 (Thomas) – This bill requires the Board of Education to include a written reprimand in the available disciplinary actions that Board may take against a license holder.  Under current law, the Board of Education may only revoke or suspend a license. 

HB 2400 (Roem) – This bill requires school boards to post prominently on their websites a web-based application for student participation in the School Breakfast Program or the National School Lunch Program.  This requirement can be satisfied by adopting the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Web-Based Prototype Application for Free and Reduced Price School Meals or by digitizing an existing paper-based application. HB 2400 has been signed by the Governor and goes into effect July 1, 2019.

HB 2599 (Bell, J.J.) – This bill requires the Board of Education, in its regulations regarding the use of seclusion and restraint in public schools, to specifically identify and prohibit the use of any method of restraint or seclusion that it determines poses a significant danger to the student and establish safety standards for seclusion.

SB 1431 (Obenshain) – This bill requires the Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council to provide, and local elected officials to complete, an online training session on the provisions of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. The training requirement does not go into effect until July 1, 2020 and thereafter local elected officials must complete the training at least once every two years. 

Defeated Legislation

The following is a very brief summary of some of the defeated legislation from the 2019 session:

HB 1685 and HB 1688 – would have provided that no enrolled student who disrupts the operation of the school is guilty of disorderly conduct. 

HB 1710 – would have required that each school bus purchased be equipped with a seat belt and that all school buses be equipped with seat belts no later than July 1, 2037.

HB 1793 – would have required every public school to provide the parents of enrolled students with at least 24 hours before the school conducts any lock-down drill.

HB 1795 – would have required each public high school to provide access to Virginia voter registration information and applications.

HB 1877 – would have required year-round operation of adult education programs.

HB 1907 – would have required school divisions to post a register of funds expended.

HB 2041 – would have provided that sufficient cause for student suspension may NOT include only instances of cell phone use or dress code violations.

HB 2102 – would have required that students who receive home instruction be allowed to participate in interscholastic programs.

HB 2104 – would have required school boards to include several items in their dress and grooming policies.

HB 2382 – would have declared that student journalists have the right to exercise freedom of speech and the press in school-sponsored media.

HB 2387 – would have required local school boards to provide alternative education programs for suspended students.

HB 2416 – would have created “Yellow Public Charter Schools” which would have allowed charter applicants to appeal to the Board of Education if denied a charter by the local school board.

HB 2463 – would have specified that in a special education due process hearing that the burden of proof would be on the school division.

HB 2568 – would have established a Child Safety Savings Account for tuition at a private school for students who are victims of bullying and certain crimes and other violent acts.

HB 2612 – would require that teachers be provided with a 45-minute unencumbered planning period each school day.

HB 1752 – would have required that no students attend school on Election Day

HB 2570 – would have prohibited students from participating in any Family Life Education program without the prior written consent of the parent (opt-in)

SB 1236 – would have required school board to provide employee associations access to employees, including attending new employee orientations

SB 1262 – would have required school divisions to post a register of funds expended

SB 1275 – would have required that students who receive home instruction be allowed to participate in JROTC programs without enrolling in the school


Sunday, February 24, 2019

Budget Update - Session Extended by One Day

The 2019 General Assembly session has been extended by one day so that lawmakers can act on the budget bill.  A budget compromise was finally reached yesterday, February 23, 22019, just hours ahead of the planned end of session.

House Democrats blocked a move to waive the rule that lawmakers must have 48 hours to review the budget compromise before voting on it.  A compromise to extend the session for one day was ultimately reached.  Both chambers will convene today, Sunday February 24, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. to consider the budget compromise.

Click here to see the House Budget Briefing Presentation that was given on the budget compromise.

Click here to see the Senate Budget Presentation about the budget compromise.

Click here to see the Summary of School Division Distributions under the budget compromise.

The full Conference Report is available here.

Highlights of the budget, as it pertains to public education, include:

  • $72.8 million for the state share of an additional 2% salary increase effective September 1, 2019
  • $34.7 million over the biennium to the Supplemental Lottery Per Pupil Amount allocation
  • Expands the At-Risk Add-on initiative maximum top of range to 14.5% and 16.0% and adds $24.9 million over biennium
  •  $12.0 million in FY20 for additional school counselors
  • Increases the annual allocation for School Security Equipment grant awards from $6 million to $12 million
  • Increases the annual school division grant award cap amount for School Security Equipment grants from $100,000 to $250,000 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

House Education Committee Update 2.13.19

The House Education Committee met this morning and considered the following bills of interest:

SB 1095 (Howell) requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Commissioner of Social Services to (i) convene a stakeholder group to consider the development of a statewide unified public-private system for early childhood care and education in the Commonwealth and (ii) collaborate to develop a uniform quality rating and improvement system with required participation by publicly funded early childhood care and education programs and voluntary participation by privately funded providers.  The Committee reported and referred the bill to Appropriations 20-1.

SB 1141 (Favola) requires the Board of Education, in its curriculum guidelines for family life education, to include instruction on the prevention of human trafficking. Additionally, the bill requires any high school family life education program offered in a local school division to incorporate age-appropriate elements of effective and evidence-based programs on the prevention of human trafficking.  The Committee reported the bill 20-2.

SB 1159 (Black) requires any family life education curriculum to incorporate age-appropriate elements of effective and evidence-based programs on the harmful physical and emotional effects of female genital mutilation, associated criminal penalties, and the rights of the victim including any civil action.  The Committee reported the bill 18-3.

SB 1561 (Lewis) directs the Department of Education to coordinate with the Department of Environmental Quality to update the "Window into a Green Virginia" curriculum developed by the Departments for sixth grade science to include a unit on the benefits, including the energy benefits, of recycling and reuse.  The bill failed on a vote of 10-12.

SB 1595 (Dunnavant) requires the Department of Education to establish guidelines for individualized education program (IEP) teams to utilize when developing IEPs for children with disabilities to ensure that IEP teams consider the need for age-appropriate and developmentally-appropriate instruction related to sexual health, self-restraint, self-protection, respect for personal privacy, and personal boundaries of others. The bill requires each local school board, in developing IEPs for children with disabilities, in addition to any other requirements established by the Board, to ensure that IEP teams consider such guidelines.  The bill failed on a vote of 12-10.

SB 1728 (Newman) repeals the Standards of Learning Innovation Committee.  The Committee reported the bill 17-5.

SB 1278 (Barker)  increases from 540 hours to 990 hours the minimum instructional hours in a school year for students in kindergarten. The bill directs the Board of Education to promulgate regulations by July 1, 2021, establishing standards for accreditation that include a requirement that the standard school day for students in kindergarten average at least 5.5 instructional hours in order to qualify for full accreditation. The bill has a delayed effective date of July 1, 2021.  The Committee voted to report and refer the bill to Appropriations on a vote of  17-4.

SB 1502 (Carrico) requires the Board of Education to authorize local school boards to offer as an elective in grades nine through 12 with appropriate credits toward graduation a course on the Hebrew Scriptures/Old Testament of the Bible or the New Testament of the Bible or a combined course on both. The bill requires the Board of Education to develop Standards of Learning and curriculum guidelines for such courses. The bill provides that the purpose of such courses is to introduce students to biblical content, characters, poetry, and narratives that are prerequisites to understanding contemporary society and culture, including literature, art, music, mores, oratory, and public policy. The bill prohibits students from being required to use a specific translation of a religious text when taking the courses and provides that such courses shall maintain religious neutrality and shall not endorse, favor, promote, disfavor, or show hostility toward any particular religion or nonreligious perspective.  The Committee voted to report and refer the bill to Appropriations on a vote of 13-9.

SB 1586 (Suetterlein) requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction to identify any survey, questionnaire, inquiry, or other communication that requires a response from a school board or division superintendent and to, in collaboration with any identified requesting entity, work to consolidate, as much as practicable, all such surveys, questionnaires, inquiries, and other communications in order to reduce the administrative burden of such response.  The Committee voted to report the bill 22-0.

SB 1591 (Dunnavant)  directs the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety (the Center) to convene a work group to develop guidelines and best practices for the sharing of information between a local school board or public institution of higher education and law enforcement regarding a student whose behavior may pose a threat to the safety of a school or institution or the community. Such guidelines and best practices shall seek to balance the interests of safety and student privacy and shall be consistent with the provisions of the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, as applicable. The bill requires the Center to develop such guidelines and best practices, report to the Chairmen of the House Committee on Education and the Senate Committee on Education and Health, and make such guidelines available to local school boards, public institutions of higher education, law enforcement, and the public by October 1, 2019.  The Committee voted to report and refer the bill to appropriations on a vote of 20-0.

SB 1629 (McPike) requires each local school board to submit its plan to test and remediate certain potable water sources and report the results of any such test to the Department of Health.  The bill was reported and referred to Appropriations 20-2.

SB 1702 (Stanley) creates the Public School Assistance Fund and Program, to be administered by the Department of Education, for the purpose of providing grants to school boards to be used solely for the purpose of repairing or replacing the roofs of public elementary and secondary school buildings in the local school division. The bill permits any school board in the Commonwealth to apply for Program grants but requires the Department of Education to give priority in the award of grants to school boards that demonstrate the greatest need based on the condition of existing school building roofs and the ability to pay for the repair or replacement of such roofs.  The bill was reported and referred to Appropriations 20-2.

SB 1718 (Black) requires that the first reading diagnostic test administered in the school year to a student in kindergarten through grade three include age-normed and evidence-based phonological processing measures, including phonemic awareness and rapid automatized naming.  The Committee voted to report and refer the bill to Appropriations 18-4.

SB 1746 (Wagner) directs the Department of Education to encourage school boards of school divisions that have a significant number of enrolled military-connected students to partner with the National Math and Science Initiative to provide such students with the tools and resources necessary to advance science, technology, engineering, and mathematics learning opportunities and career readiness. The bill requires the Department to provide technical assistance to any school board seeking to enter into such a partnership, upon request.  The bill was reported 22-0.

SB 1275 (Black) requires any school board that offers a Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps program to make the program available to any student who receives home instruction and resides in the local school division. The bill prohibits any such school board from requiring any such student to enroll on a full or part-time basis or to meet other eligibility requirements for such a program beyond those required of public school students. The bill provides that such a student may demonstrate compliance with any academic achievement requirements for participation in such a program in any manner acceptable as evidence of progress under the home instruction provisions of the Code.  The Committee rejected an amendment, proposed by Del. Helsel, to remove the prohibition on  requiring the home school students to enroll and clarifying that the program must be made available to home school students on a space available basis.  The Committee did adopt an amendment to exempt public military-style schools from the provisions of the bill, which was intended to exempt the Franklin Military Academy.  The bill failed 10-12.  At the end of the meeting, Del. Davis moved to reconsider the vote on the bill, in an attempt to bring it back.  Then Del. Davis moved to amend the bill to clarifying that the program must be made available to home school students as available in the "host school."  The amendment did not, however, require home school students to enroll in order to participate.  The amended bill failed again on a vote of 11-11.

SB 1713 (Vogel) requires the Board of Education to include in its training program for school bus operators safety protocols for responding to adverse weather conditions, unsafe conditions during loading and unloading of students, students on the wrong bus, and other circumstances, as determined by the Board, where student safety is at risk.  The bill reported 17-4.

Finally, at the very end of the meeting, Del. Collins voted to reconsider the vote by which SB 1236 (DeSteph)  previously failed to report.  This was the bill that would have required school boards to adopt and implement policies to ensure that employees have equal access to education employee associations.  The  bill failed again on a vote of 11-11.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Updates from All Three Subcommittees of the House Education Committee

All three subcommittees of the House Education Committee met yesterday.  Below is a summary of the bills they considered.

Subcommittee 3 met first and considered these bills of interest:

SB 1275 (Black) requires any school board that offers a Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps program to make the program available to any student who receives home instruction and resides in the local school division. The bill is particularly problematic because it prohibits any such school board from requiring any such student to enroll on a full or part-time basis or to meet other eligibility requirements for such a program beyond those required of public school students.  Because the students would not be required to enroll, the school division would receive no state or local funds for the additional students participating in the program.  The bill initially failed but the subcommittee brought the bill up for reconsideration and voted to recommend reporting on a vote of 4-3. 

SB 1713 (Vogel)  requires the Board of Education to include in its training program for school bus operators safety protocols for responding to adverse weather conditions, unsafe conditions during loading and unloading of students, students on the wrong bus, and other circumstances, as determined by the Board, where student safety is at risk.  The subcommittee recommended reporting 8-0.

Subcommittee 2 met next and considered these bills:

SB 1629 (McPike) requires each local school board to submit its plan to test and remediate certain potable water sources and report the results of any such test to the Department of Health.  The subcommittee recommended reporting and rereferring the bill to Appropriations 8-0.

SB 1718 (Black) would require that the first reading diagnostic test administered in the school year to a student in kindergarten through grade three include a rapid automatized naming component and that local school divisions report the results of reading diagnostic tests, including subset scores, to parents.  The bill also requires UVA to conduct a three-year longitudinal review to explore trends in the early detection of the risk of reading failure and subsequent reading outcomes.   The subcommittee recommended reporting and rereferring the bill to Appropriations 7-3.

Subcommittee 1 also met and considered these bills:

SB 1095 (Howell)  requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Commissioner of Social Services to (i) convene a stakeholder group to consider the development of a statewide unified public-private system for early childhood care and education in the Commonwealth and (ii) collaborate to develop a uniform quality rating and improvement system with required participation by publicly funded early childhood care and education programs and voluntary participation by privately funded providers. The subcommittee recommended reporting and rereferring the bill to Appropriations 6-1.

SB 1141 (Favola) requires the Board of Education, in its curriculum guidelines for family life education, to include instruction on the prevention of human trafficking. Additionally, the bill requires any high school family life education program offered in a local school division to incorporate age-appropriate elements of effective and evidence-based programs on the prevention of human trafficking.  The subcommittee recommended reporting the bill  8-0.

SB 1159 (Black) was amended to require that any family life education curriculum offered by a local school division include  age appropriate elements of effective and evidence-based programs on the harmful physical and emotional effects of female genital mutilation; associated criminal penalties; and the rights of the victim, including any civil action pursuant to § 8.01-42.5.  The subcommittee recommended reporting the bill  8-0.

SB 1218 (Newman)  would have required, at a minimum, that certain SOL assessments be administered in high school.  The bill has been amended several times over the course of this session.  There was a motion to report a new substitute for the bill but the motion failed for lack of a second. 

SB 1561 (Lewis) directs the Department of Education to coordinate with the Department of Environmental Quality to update the "Window into a Green Virginia" curriculum developed by the Departments for sixth grade science to include a unit on the benefits, including the energy benefits, of recycling and reuse.  The subcommittee recommended reporting the bill 4-3.

SB 1595 (Dunnavant)  requires the Department of Education to establish guidelines for individualized education program (IEP) teams to utilize when developing IEPs for children with disabilities to ensure that IEP teams consider the need for age-appropriate and developmentally-appropriate instruction related to sexual health, self-restraint, self-protection, respect for personal privacy, and personal boundaries of others. The bill requires each local school board, in developing IEPs for children with disabilities, in addition to any other requirements established by the Board, to ensure that IEP teams consider such guidelines.  The subcommittee recommended reporting the bill 8-0.

SB 1728 (Newman) repeals the Standards of Learning Innovation Committee.  The subcommittee recommended reporting the bill 7-1.


Update on House Bills in Senate Education and Health

In its first post-crossover meeting, the Senate Education and Health Committee considered the following bills of interest:

HB 1652 (Robinson) was conformed to Sen. Chase’s SB 1005, which previously passed the Senate, to allow school boards to open school no earlier than 14 days before Labor Day and take a 4 day holiday around Labor Day.  Under this bill, all school divisions that currently have a waiver and all others had waivers under budget language that has been in place in every budget since 2011 would be grandfathered.  The bill reported from the Senate Education and Health Committee 13-2.  Yesterday, the bill passed the Senate 40-0.  Because the versions passed by the House and Senate were different, the House now has to decide whether to accept the Senate amendments or request a Committee of Conference.   

HB 1725 (Knight) requires each school board, in consultation with the local building official and the state or local fire marshal, to develop a procurement plan to ensure that all security enhancements to public school buildings are in compliance with the Uniform Statewide Building Code and Statewide Fire Prevention Code.  The Committee reported the bill 15-0.

HB 1729 (Landes) changes the name of guidance counselors to school counselors and requires each school counselor employed by a school board in a public elementary or secondary school to spend at least 80 percent of his staff time during normal school hours in the direct counseling of individual students or groups of students.  The Committee reported the bill 15-0.

HB 1732 (O'Quinn) would require each school board to develop training on safety procedures in the event of an emergency situation on school property. The bill requires such training to be delivered to each student and employee in each school at least once each school year. The Committee reported the bill 15-0.

HB 1733 (Gilbert) was conformed to SB 1214 (Newman), as it passed the Senate.  The amended bill would require VCSCS to develop a model MOU for school boards and local law enforcement to use regarding the use of SROs.  The bill would also require each school board that employs SROs to have such an MOU and to review it at least once every 5 years. The Committee reported the amended bill 15-0.

HB 1737 (Wright) would require each school board to include the chief law-enforcement officer, the fire chief, the chief of the emergency medical services agency, the executive director of the relevant regional emergency medical services council, and the emergency management official of the locality, or their designees, in the development and review of school crisis, emergency management, and medical emergency response plans. Under current law, the school board is required to provide copies of such plans to the chief law-enforcement officer, the fire chief, the chief of the emergency medical services agency, and the emergency management official of the locality but is not required to include such first responders in the development and review of such plans.  The Committee reported the bill 15-0.

HB 1738 (Rush) was amended to require all plans and specifications for new or remodeled public school building construction be reviewed by an individual or entity with professional expertise in building security and crime prevention through building design.  The Committee reported the amended bill 15-0.

HB 1930 (Bell, R.P.) would require (i) the Board of Education to collaborate with various stakeholders to biennially update its guidelines on policies to inform and educate coaches, student-athletes, and student-athletes' parents or guardians of the nature and risk of concussions, criteria for removal from and return to play, risks of not reporting the injury and continuing to play, and the effects of concussions on student-athletes' academic performance and (ii) each local school division to biennially update its policies and procedures regarding the identification and handling of suspected concussions in student-athletes.  The Committee reported the bill 15-0.

HB 1985 (Bell, R.P.) requires the Department of Education to annually collect from each school board and publish on its website various enrollment and achievement data on alternative education programs for students who have been suspended, expelled, or otherwise precluded from attendance at school. The bill requires such data to be published in a manner that protects the identities of individual students and disaggregated by local school division and by student race, ethnicity, gender, and disability.  The Committee reported the bill 15-0.

HB 2018 (Peace) would require the Board of Education to review and revise, in consultation with certain stakeholders and no later than December 1, 2019, its Career and Technical Education Work-Based Learning Guide to expand the opportunities available for students to earn credit for graduation through high-quality work-based learning experiences such as job shadowing, mentorships, internships, and externships.  The Committee reported the bill 15-0.

HB 2119 (Carroll Foy) would have authorized a school attendance officer or division superintendent or his designee acting as an attendance officer to complete, sign, and file with the clerk of court a motion for a rule to show cause regarding the violation or enforcement of a school attendance order entered by a juvenile and domestic relations district court in response to the filing of a petition alleging the juvenile is a child in need of supervision. The bill also provides that such a filing is not considered the unauthorized practice of law.  The bill was rereferred to the Courts Committee, which passed the bill by indefinitely 11-4.

HB 2142 (Thomas) defines a school protection officer as a retired law-enforcement officer hired on a part-time basis by the local law-enforcement agency to provide limited law-enforcement and security services to Virginia public elementary and secondary schools. The bill also provides that the Department of Criminal Justice Services shall establish compulsory minimum training standards for all persons employed as school protection officers and that such training may be provided by the employing law-enforcement agency and shall be graduated and based on the type of duties to be performed.  The Committee rereferred the bill to the Courts Committee, which reported the bill 12-3.

HB 2217 (Bourne) permits the Department of Education to establish a microcredential program for the purpose of permitting any public elementary or secondary school teacher who holds a renewable or provisional license or any individual who participates in any alternate route to licensure program to complete additional in-person or blended coursework and earn microcredentials in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) endorsement areas, including computer science, for which there is a high need for additional qualified teachers. The bill requires the Department of Education to direct the Advisory Board on Teacher Education and Licensure to convene a workgroup including pertinent education stakeholders to determine how any microcredential awarded pursuant to any such program will be used to award add-on endorsements and certifications for teachers in such STEM endorsement areas. The bill provides certain conditions in which in-person coursework in a microcredential program not contributing to an endorsement is eligible for professional development points towards the renewal of a teaching license. The Committee reported the bill 15-0.

HB 2318 (McGuire) adds school nurses, local health department employees that are assigned to a public school pursuant to an agreement between the local health department and school board, and other school board employees or individuals contracted by a school board to provide school health services, to the list of individuals who may possess and administer naloxone or other opioid antagonist, provided that they have completed a training program.  The Committee reported the bill 14-0.

HB 2400 (Roem) requires each local school board that collects information to determine eligibility for participation in the School Breakfast Program or the National School Lunch Program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to establish and post prominently on its website a web-based application for student participation in such program and to continue to provide a paper-based application. The bill permits any school board in establishing such an application to adopt the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Web-Based Prototype Application for Free and Reduced Price School Meals or to digitize its existing paper-based application.  The Committee reported the bill 14-0.

HB 2449 (Wilt) provides that a school or institution of higher education may disclose certain directory information of a student to certain internal persons for educational purposes or internal business if the student has not opted out of such disclosure. Under current law, such disclosures require written consent. The bill also provides an exception for state and federal law requirements from the prohibition of such disclosures.  The Committee reported the bill 10-0.

HB 2574 (LaRock) would allow a local school board, when applying for its school division to be designated as a School Division of Innovation, to apply to the Board of Education to replace certain Standards of Learning assessments with performance-based assessments. The bill requires the Board to determine if the local school board has the capacity to administer and score performance-based assessments and provides criteria for such determination. The bill requires any proposed performance-based assessment to be an adequate replacement of the relevant Standards of Learning assessment and requires students to demonstrate the knowledge and skills required by the relevant Standards of Learning and one or more of critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication, or citizenship. The standards of learning assessments eligible for replacement are (i) Virginia Studies, (ii) Civics and Economics, (iii) elementary school science, and (iv) middle school science. The bill further requires the Board to promulgate any necessary regulations and to submit to the U.S. Department of Education any necessary amendments to its consolidated state plan.  The bill was passed by indefinitely 14-0-1.

HB 2720 (Gooditis) specifies that, for the purpose of eligibility for grants for security equipment through the Public School Security Equipment Grant Act of 2013, security equipment includes building modifications and fixtures, such as security vestibules.  The Committee reported the bill 15-0.



 


Update on Senate Bills in House Education Committee


The House Education Committee has met twice since crossover and has considered the following bills of interest:

SB 1215 (Newman) would  require the development and implementation of annual training on safety procedures for staff and students.  The Committee voted to report the bill 22-0.

SB 1249 (Reeves) permits a child of a military family that will be relocating to a Virginia school division pursuant to orders to register for courses and other academic programs and participate in the lottery process for charter schools and college partnership laboratory schools at the same time and in the same manner as students who already reside in the local school division. The Committee voted to report the bill 22-0.

SB1258 (Dunnavant) would include licensed behavior analysts and licensed assistant behavior analysts as support services positions in the Standards of Quality.  The Committee voted to report and rerefer the bill to Appropriations 22-0.

SB 1295 (Spruill) was amended to require each school board to (i) develop and implement a policy to prohibit the use and distribution of tobacco products and nicotine vapor products on a school bus, on school property, or at an on-site or off-site school-sponsored activity and (ii) include in its code of student conduct a prohibition against possessing tobacco products or nicotine vapor products on a school bus, on school property, or at an on-site or off-site school-sponsored activity. Current law only places these requirements on each school board with regard to electronic cigarettes. The bill requires such policy to include adequate provisions for enforcement among students, employees, and visitors, including the enumeration of possible sanctions or disciplinary action consistent with state or federal law, and referrals to resources to help staff and students overcome tobacco addiction. The bill provides that each school board "shall work to ensure adequate notice of this policy."  The Committee voted to report the amended bill 20-2.

SB 1298 (Barker) requires VDOE to collect and report certain data regarding alternative education programs that are provided for students who are suspended or expelled from school.  The Committee voted to report the bill 22-0.

SB 1397 (Peake)  requires the Board of Education to issue a license to an individual seeking initial licensure who has not completed the professional assessments prescribed by the Board, if such individual (i) holds a provisional license that will expire within three months, (ii) is employed by a school board, (iii) is recommended for licensure by the division superintendent, (iv) has attempted, unsuccessfully, to obtain a qualifying score on the professional assessments prescribed by the Board, (v) has received an evaluation rating of proficient or above on the performance standards for each year of the provisional license and such evaluation was conducted in a manner consistent with the Guidelines for Uniform Performance Standards and Evaluation Criteria for Teachers, Principals, and Superintendents, and (vi) meets all other requirements for initial licensure. The bill removes the requirement that the Board of Education prescribe an assessment of basic skills for individuals seeking entry into an approved education preparation program and establish a minimum passing score for such assessment.  The Committee voted to report the bill 22-0.

SB 1440 (McCLellan) directs the Board of Education to review and update the health Standards of Learning for students in all grades to include mental health. Legislation passed in 2018 required such review and update for students in grades nine and 10.  The Committee voted to report and rerefer the bill to Appropriations 22-0.

SB 1236 (DeSteph) would require school boards to adopt and implement policies to ensure employees have equal access to education employee.  The bill is troubling because, among other things, it would remove the discretion of the local school board or superintendent to decide what groups are permitted to attend new teacher or employee orientations.  The bill failed on a vote of 10-11.

SB 1433 (McCLellan) requires the Department of Education to aggregate and report to each education preparation program certain teacher employment data, as available, regarding such program's graduates.  The Committee voted to report the bill 21-0.

SB 1005 (Chase) was conformed to the original language of Del. Robinson's School Calendar bill, which would repeal the post-Labor Day start requirement, allow school boards to set the school start date without limitation, but require a 5-day Labor Day weekend.  The Committee reported the bill 16-6.

SB1214 (Newman) was amended to conform to the version of HB 1733 (Gilbert) which was passed by the House.  As amended the bill requires each school board that has School Resource Officers to enter into an MOU with local law enforcement to set forth the powers and duties of SROs.  The bill also requires that the MOU be reviewed at least every 5 years.  The Committee reported the bill 22-0.

SB 1269 (Cosgrove) would require the Board of Education to waive the requirement that school divisions provide additional teaching days or teaching hours to compensate for up to five days of school closings resulting from an evacuation directed and compelled by the Governor. The bill provides that there shall be no proportionate reduction in the amount paid by the Commonwealth from the Basic School Aid Fund or the amount paid by a local governing body.  The Committee reported the bill 22-0.

SB 1348 (Newman) would require the Department of Education, in consultation with representatives from pertinent industries such as renewable energy, natural gas, nuclear energy, coal, and oil, to establish an energy career cluster. The bill requires the Department of Education to base the knowledge and skill sets contained in such energy career cluster on the energy industry competency and credential models developed by the Center for Energy Workforce Development in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor. The bill further requires the Department of Education to report to the Chairmen of the House Committee on Education and the Senate Committee on Education and Health no later than December 1, 2019, on its progress toward establishing such energy career cluster. The Committee reported the bill 22-0.

SB 1419 (Sturtevant)  would permit the Department of Education to establish a microcredential program for the purpose of permitting any public elementary or secondary school teacher who holds a renewable or provisional license or any individual who participates in any alternate route to licensure program to complete additional in-person or blended coursework and earn microcredentials in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) endorsement areas, including computer science, for which there is a high need for additional qualified teachers. The bill requires the Department of Education to establish a microcredential committee to determine how any microcredential awarded pursuant to any such program will be used to award add-on endorsements and certifications for teachers in such STEM endorsement areas. The bill provides certain conditions in which in-person coursework in a microcredential program not contributing to an endorsement is eligible for professional development points towards the renewal of a teaching license. The Committee reported the bill 22-0.

SB 1434 (McClellan) would require the Board of Education to review and revise, in consultation with certain stakeholders and no later than December 1, 2019, its Career and Technical Education Work-Based Learning Guide to expand the opportunities available for students to earn credit for graduation through high-quality work-based learning experiences such as job shadowing, mentorships, internships, and externships.  The Committee reported the bill 22-0.

SB 1575 (Ebbin) was amended to conform to HB 2589 (Tran) which would require the Advisory Board on Teacher Education and Licensure (ABTEL) to make recommendations for licensure of for teachers of CTE and dual enrollment courses.  The Committee reported the amended bill 22-0.

SB 1590 (Dunnavant) would require that the Virtual Virginia program, the statewide electronic classroom established by the Department of Education, be made available to all public schools. Currently, the program is available only to high schools. The bill requires the Department to utilize a learning management system for the purposes of implementing Virtual Virginia. The bill also authorizes the Department to charge a per-student fee to school divisions for each student enrolled in a full-time Virtual Virginia program beyond an initial allotment of 15 such students per school division and prohibits the Department from limiting the total number of such students by school division.  The Committee voted to rerefer the bill to Appropriations. 



Tuesday, February 5, 2019

The Senate Education and Health Committee met for the final time before crossover and considered the following bills of interest:

SB 1005 (Chase) as it was originally filed would have repealed the post-Labor Day school start requirement and would instead require school divisions that open before Labor Day to take a 5 day weekend around Labor Day.  However, Senator Chase offered a substitute in Committee that would have allowed school boards to open school no earlier than 14 days before Labor Day and take a 4 day holiday around Labor Day.  The substitute would have grandfathered some, but not all, school boards that currently have waivers.  Senator Sutterlein offered an amendment, which was adopted, that grandfathered all school boards that currently have waivers, including those that had waivers under budget language that has been in place in every budget since 2011.  Senator Sutterlein offered additional amendments, including one that would have allowed school boards without current waivers to open as early as 21 days before Labor Day, but those additional amendments were rejected.  The Committee voted to report the amended substitute on a vote of 11-3-1. 

SB 1130 (Locke)  was amended to expand the required training for school security officers provided by the Virginia Center for School and Campus; to require DCJS to establish compulsory minimum training standards which all school resource officers will be required to receive; and to require that each public school has at least one administrator who has completed the school safety training conducted by VCSCS.  The amended bill was reported and rereferred to Senate Finance on a vote of 11-4.  Then the bill was reported by Senate Finance 16-0.

SB 1214 (Newman) was amended to require VCSCS to develop a model MOU for school boards and local law enforcement to use regarding the use of SROs.  The bill would also require each school board that employs SROs to have such an MOU and to review it at least once every 5 years.  The bill was reported from the Senate Education and Health committee 15-0.

SB 1223 (Chase) would have prohibited local school boards from requiring students to attend school on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. The bill also would have prohibited parent-teacher conferences and meetings from being held on that date.  The bill would have applied to all schools in the Commonwealth, regardless whether the school was used as a polling place.  The bill was passed by indefinitely by the Senate Education and Health Committee on a vote of 12-2-1.

SB 1269 (Cosgrove) would require the Board of Education to waive the requirement that school divisions provide additional teaching days or teaching hours to compensate for up to five days of school closings resulting from an evacuation directed and compelled by the Governor. The bill provides that there shall be no proportionate reduction in the amount paid by the Commonwealth from the Basic School Aid Fund or the amount paid by a local governing body.  The Senate Education and Health Committee reported the bill on a vote of 10-3-1. 

SB 1278 (Barker) would require full day kindergarten for all kindergarten students. The bill directs the Board of Education to promulgate regulations by July 1, 2021, establishing standards for accreditation that include a requirement that the standard school day for students in kindergarten average at least 5.5 instructional hours in order to qualify for full accreditation. The bill has a delayed effective date of July 1, 2021.  The Senate Education and Health Committee reported the bill on a close 8-7 vote.

SB 1331 (Stanley) was amended to establish a goal that public school buildings in the Commonwealth be “energy-positive” (e.g. generate more energy than the use).  The bill would allow school boards to enter into lease agreements for such modernization and would further allow school boards to sell excess energy from such buildings to a public utility at negotiated rates.  The bill is aspirational and does mandate construction in any particular manner.  The Senate Education and Health Committee reported and rereferred the bill to Finance 13-1.  The bill was reported from Finance 16-0.

SB 1434 (McClellan) was amended to require the Board of Education to review and revise, in consultation with certain stakeholders and no later than December 1, 2019, its Career and Technical Education Work-Based Learning Guide to expand the opportunities available for students to earn credit for graduation through high-quality work-based learning experiences such as job shadowing, mentorships, internships, and externships.  The bill was reported from the Senate Education and Health Committee 15-0.

SB 1502 (Carrico) was amended to require the Board of Education to authorize local school boards to offer as an elective in grades nine through 12 with appropriate credits toward graduation a course on the Hebrew Scriptures/Old Testament of the Bible or the New Testament of the Bible or a combined course on both. The bill requires the Board of Education to develop Standards of Learning and curriculum guidelines for such courses. The bill provides that the purpose of such courses is to introduce students to biblical content, characters, poetry, and narratives that are prerequisites to understanding contemporary society and culture, including literature, art, music, mores, oratory, and public policy. The bill prohibits students from being required to use a specific translation of a religious text when taking the courses and provides that such courses shall maintain religious neutrality and shall not endorse, favor, promote, disfavor, or show hostility toward any particular religion or nonreligious perspective.  The amended bill was reported from Senate Education and Health 8-6-1. 

SB 1575 (Ebbin) requires the Board of Education to provide for a three-year license to teach CTE or dual enrollment courses for teachers who are employed by an accredited institution of higher education, who are teaching in the CTE or dual enrollment area in which they seek licensure, and who have met the training requirements for child abuse recognition and first aid/CPR/use of AED.  The amended bill was reported from Senate Education and Health 15-0.

SB 1713 (Vogel) requires the Board of Education to include in its training program for school bus operators safety protocols for responding to adverse weather conditions, unsafe conditions during loading and unloading of students, students on the wrong bus, and other circumstances, as determined by the Board, where student safety is at risk.  The bill was reported by Senate Education and Health 14-0. 

SB 1718 (Black) was amended to require that the first reading diagnostic test administered in the school year to a student in kindergarten through grade three include a rapid automatized naming component and that local school divisions report the results of reading diagnostic tests, including subset scores, to parents.  The bill also requires UVA to conduct a three-year longitudinal review to explore trends in the early detection of the risk of reading failure and subsequent reading outcomes.  The bill was reported by the Senate Education and Health Committee 8-7.

SB 1728 (Newman) was amended to abolish the SOL Innovation Commission.  The bill was reported by the Senate Education and Health Committee 15-0. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Wednesday Update from the General Assembly

This morning, the House Counties, Cities, and Towns subcommittee #1 considered the following bill of interest:

HB 1907 (VanValkenburg) would require every locality with a population greater than 25,000 and each school division with greater than 5,000 students to post quarterly on the public government website of such locality or school division a register of all funds expended, showing vendor name, date of payment, amount, and a description of the type of expense, including credit card purchases with the same information. The subcommittee tabled the bill 7-1.

Also this morning, the House Privileges and Elections subcommittee #3 considered the following bill:

HB 1615 (Landes) would change the date of the primary election held in June from the second Tuesday in June to the third Tuesday in June. The bill also changes candidate filing deadlines to reflect the change of date.  The subcommittee recommended reporting the bill 6-0.

The House Education Committee also met this morning and took the following actions:

HB 1643 (Hope) would require the Board of Education to develop guidelines establish a process for school board to seek alternate routes to provisional or renewable licensure for teachers.  The bill was reported 22-0.

HB 1753 (Sickles) was amended in Committee and a substitute was adopted.  The substitute would prohibit the operation of an electronic room partition in a school building unless (i) there are not students present in the building, (ii) there are no students in the area and the area is secured, or (iii) the partition is fitted with a safety sensor that would automatically stop the partition when a body passes between the partition and the wall, opposing partition, or stacking area.  The substitute also requires annual safety reviews for school employees regarding such partitions and requires the Board of Education to develop model safety guidance regarding such partitions.  The Committee reported the substitute 22-0.

HB 2205 (Filler-Corn)  would require any high school family life education curriculum offered by a local school division to incorporate age-appropriate elements of effective and evidence-based programs on the law and meaning of consent. Under current law, such elements are permissive in any high school family life education curriculum.  The bill was reported 22-0.

HB 2338 (Landes) would require the Board of Education to require in the graduation requirements a requirement that students earn one verified credit in Virginia and U.S. history by passing an SOL assessment, Board approved standardized test, or earning a locally awarded verified credit.  The bill was reported and referred to Appropriations 12-10.

HB 2508 (Pogge) includes licensed behavior analysts and licensed assistant behavior analysts as support services positions in a local school division for the purposes of Title 22.1 (Education) of the Code of Virginia.  The bill reported 22-0.

HB 2520 (Ayala) would require the Secretary of Education to establish the 21-member College and Career Readiness Steering Committee to (i) develop and oversee implementation of a strategic plan for ensuring that all students in the Commonwealth, and particularly subgroups of students who have been historically underserved, graduate from high school (a) meeting the requirements for an advanced studies diploma, (b) having had the opportunity to participate and succeed in pathways that integrate rigorous academic instruction aligned with the Standards of Learning, including career and technical education, work-based learning, wraparound services, and opportunities to earn credit for postsecondary education while enrolled in high school, and (c) having had a high school experience that is aligned with expectations for postsecondary education and employer demand and (ii) provide certain recommendations, guidance, leadership, goals, and assistance relating to the implementation of such strategic plan.  The bill was reported and referred to Appropriations 12-9.

HB 2574 (LaRock) would allow a local school board, when applying for its school division to be designated as a School Division of Innovation, to apply to the Board of Education to replace certain Standards of Learning assessments with performance-based assessments. The bill requires the Board to determine if the local school board has the capacity to administer and score performance-based assessments and provides criteria for such determination. The bill requires any proposed performance-based assessment to be an adequate replacement of the relevant Standards of Learning assessment and requires students to demonstrate the knowledge and skills required by the relevant Standards of Learning and one or more of critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication, or citizenship. The standards of learning assessments eligible for replacement are (i) Virginia Studies, (ii) Civics and Economics, (iii) elementary school science, and (iv) middle school science. The bill further requires the Board to promulgate any necessary regulations and to submit to the U.S. Department of Education any necessary amendments to its consolidated state plan.  The bill reported 22-0.

HB 2599 (Bell, J.J.) would require the Board of Education, in adopting regulations regarding restraint and seclusion to identify and prohibit methods of restrain or seclusion that the Board determines pose a significant danger to the student and establish safety standards for seclusion.  The bill was reported and referred to Appropriations 22-0.

HB 2646 (Hugo) would reduce from 29 to 28 the maximum class size in kindergarten; from 30 to 28 the maximum class size in grades one, two, and three; and from 35 to 29 the maximum class size in grades four, five, and six.  The bill was reported and referred to Appropriations 22-0.

HB 2720 (Gooditis) specifies that, for the purpose of eligibility for grants for security equipment through the Public School Security Equipment Grant Act of 2013, security equipment includes building modifications and fixtures, such as security vestibules.  The bill was reported 22-0.

HB 2416 (Davis) would establishes yellow public charter schools as a category of public charter schools at which additional student services are provided, including health care, dental care, after-school support, and nutritional support. The bill permits a yellow public charter school applicant, following a local school board decision to deny a petition for the reconsideration of the denial of its application, to appeal such denial to the Board and requires the Board to review and approve or deny such application. The bill specifies that any yellow public charter school application so approved by the Board shall remain in effect for a period not to exceed 10 years.  The bill was reported on a close vote to 11-10.  This bill will be moving to the floor of the House in the coming days.  Please contact your Delegates and urge them to vote NO on HB 2416.

The Committee also took up two bills that previously failed in subcommittee:

HB 2609 (Jones, J.C.) was tabled in subcommittee last Friday.  The Committee, however, took the bill up today.  The patron offered a substitute which would require DCJS to establish mandatory minimum training standards for certification of School Resource Officers.  The substitute would also require every SRO to receive such training.  The Committee reported the substitute 19-3.

HB 2570 (LaRock) would prohibit any public elementary or secondary school student from participating in any family life education program without the prior written consent of his parent.  This would make participation in Family Life Education an opt-in, rather than an opt-out.  The bill reported 12-10.

This evening the House Appropriations Public Education subcommittee considered the following bills:

HB 1881 (Keam) was amended to require the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth to develop, and the Department of Education to distribute, educational materials concerning the health and safety risks of using tobacco products, nicotine vapor products, and alternative nicotine products.  The bill also requires instruction regarding such risks be provided in elementary and secondary schools.  The subcommittee recommended reporting the bill 8-0.

HB 2408 (Adams) would have required the Department of Education to develop and implement a pilot program in two local school divisions in the Commonwealth to partner with the appropriate school board employees in each such local school division to (i) identify the resources, services, and supports required by each student who resides in each such local school division and who is educated in a private school setting pursuant to his individualized education program; (ii) study the feasibility of transitioning each such student from his private school setting to an appropriate public school setting in the local school division and providing the identified resources, services, and supports in such public school setting; and (iii) recommend a process for redirecting federal, state, and local funds, including funds provided pursuant to the Children's Services Act, provided for the education of each such student to the local school division for the purpose of providing the identified resources, services, and supports in the appropriate public school setting.  The bill was tabled on a vote of 5-0.

HB 2008 (Garrett) would require the Department of Education, in consultation with representatives from pertinent industries such as renewable energy, natural gas, nuclear energy, coal, and oil, to establish an energy career cluster. The bill requires the Department of Education to base the knowledge and skill sets contained in such energy career cluster on the energy industry competency and credential models developed by the Center for Energy Workforce Development in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor. The bill further requires the Department of Education to report to the Chairmen of the House Committee on Education and the Senate Committee on Education and Health no later than December 1, 2019, on its progress toward establishing such energy career cluster. The bill was recommended for reporting 7-0.

HB 2124 (Davis) would requires the Board of Education to waive up to 5 teaching days to compensate for school closings resulting from an evacuation directed and compelled by the Governor. The bill provides that there shall be no proportionate reduction in the amount paid by the Commonwealth from the Basic School Aid Fund or the amount paid by a local governing body.  The bill was recommended for reporting 8-0.

HB 1724 (Krizek), which would have established the Grow Your Own Teacher Pilot Programs Fund was tabled at request of patron. 

HB 2145 (Turpin) would require each local school board to (i) administer the model exit questionnaire for teachers developed by the Superintendent of Public Instruction to each teacher who ceases to be employed in the school division for any reason and (ii) collect, maintain, and report on the results of each such questionnaire in a manner that ensures the confidentiality of each teacher's name and other personally identifying information. Under current law, such model exit questionnaire for teachers is administered in five school divisions pursuant to a pilot program.  The bill failed to report on a 3-3 vote.

HB 2593 (Rodman) would have directed the Board of Education to review and update the health Standards of Learning for students in all grades to include mental health. Legislation passed in 2018 required such review and update for students in grades nine and 10.  The bill was tabled on a vote of 6-2.

HB 2053 (McQuinn) was amended with a substitute.  The substitute reduced the ratio for school counselors to 1:375 in elementary school, 1:325 in middle school, and 1:300 in high school, effective the 2019-2020 school year.  The subcommittee recommended reporting 7-0.