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.