SB 1005 (Chase) as it was originally filed would have repealed the post-Labor Day school start requirement and would instead require school divisions that open before Labor Day to take a 5 day weekend around Labor Day.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.