LAST DAYS OF THE GA
March 8, 2017

WRAP-UP OF THE 2017 GENERAL ASSEMBLY SESSION

It really does not matter how long a General Assembly session lasts, the big issues are usually decided in the final few days; and the 2017 Session was no exception.  For example, the fate of school “discipline bills,” which consumed lots of news print, countless hours of testimony and investigation, and time spent contacting legislators, came down to last minute “shenanigans” by the bills’ supporters and met an ignominious end, including the long-term suspension bill that was strongly opposed by VASSP and all other education associations.  In the end, Senator Stanley, rather than having his suspension bills killed on the Floor, asked that they be referred to the Senate Education and Health Committee, which had already had its last meeting.  Throughout most of the Session, Senator Stanley and Delegate Bell, patrons of the three major school discipline bills, proceeded as if the bills were a “done deal,” with Bell refusing most attempts at compromise and Stanley drawing the line after accepting some of the amendments proposed by VSBA.  Enter reality – and pushback by all education associations and a bi-partisan group of delegates and senators.  VASSP members were put on alert and made countless phone calls, and all were busy in the halls of the GA to put a stop to attempts to diminish administrative authority to maintain safe and secure schools.  Up until the last Floor fight just three days before the session ended, many believed, at the least, that some form of long-term suspension (and restrictions on suspension in grades K-3) would pass; but when it looked like we might have the votes to thwart this action, we doubled down.  SUCCESS!  VASSP contacts with local legislators were key to this successful outcome.

The budget, by design, always comes down to the last week; and, somehow, the $1 billion plus shortfall hole in the budget was “plugged,” in part by decreasing the amount promised in 2016 for school division salary supplements.  The House and Senate quickly came to compromise.  There will be a state salary supplement for all SOQ personnel (including principals); however, the funding (which requires local match) does not kick in until February, 2018, so this represents a partial year increase.  Other major funding for K-12 (more of a “flexibility” move than a significant funding increase) provides a flexible fund for school divisions to use without requirement of a local match.  See below for Budget specifics re: salary supplement and K-12 flexibility fund.

How about those potentially damaging bills that passed?  Enter the Governor, whose Party does not have control of either the House or the Senate; but he does have a Veto pen.  It is disappointing that K-12 must count on a Governor’s veto in many instances; but it is reality and, as long as both the House and Senate remain in the hands of another Party, public educators must depend on the Chief Executive to help us out.  As expected, Governor McAuliffe again vetoed the so-called “Tebow” bill to allow homeschoolers to participate in VHSL activities, and it is widely reported that he will also veto the “sexually explicit” bill, which would require that notification be made to parents if a reading assignment contains sexually explicit portions recounting acts defined in Code as felony/criminal assault. The Governor is also expected to veto the parent savings account bill, which would allow state funds to go to parents for expenses related to private, religious or homeschool education; legislation creating a State Virtual School (with state school board); and possibly legislation that would allow security officers in schools to carry weapons.

So, what were the other big K-12 issues that consumed so much of the 2017 Session?  There were several education bills related to key topics, including:

Notification 
Time/place for AP/PSAT testing for homeschoolers;
Status of bullying investigations (within 5 school days);
Availability of Career readiness certificates;
Status of pupil/teacher ratios by schools;
Reporting to Superintendent of Public Instruction re: revocation of teacher license;
Availability of information from school service providers re: personal student information; and
Reports to principals from courts re: custody and visitation orders (within 3 days).

Review/Consideration by BOE and SCHEV
BOE: Review of multipart assessment questions and consider partial credit;
SCHEV: Consideration of Dual Enrollment, General education course credit for entering freshmen;
BOE: Consideration of inclusion in SOA: number of industry certification credentials; and
BOE: Consideration of guidelines for alternatives to suspension.

Student Health, Counseling and FLE
Vision Screenings (more comprehensive; advanced devices);
Administration of medications to treat adrenal crisis; permissive; liability protection
CPR/hands-on – required for initial licensure or renewal;
Dyslexia Advisor: one reading specialist (if employed) or psychologist to be designated; advisor may not be full-time administrator;
Insulin Pump assistance by registered nurse; permissive; liability protection;
FLE: law and meaning of consent; and instruction on personal privacy and boundaries;
School Counselors: additional requirements for licensure; and training on prevention of trafficking of children (also includes school nurses).

Reciprocity/Licensure
CTE teacher licensure: may waive initial licensure;
Reciprocity: may exempt from professional teacher’s assessment requirements.

Miscellaneous
Verified Credit: for satisfactory score on PSAT and Pre-ACT;
Driver Education: may provide 90-minute “behind the wheel” instruction; and instruction on proper conduct during traffic stops;
Board of Education: to include at least two members from business community;
Regional Charter School divisions: enrollment of 3.000 plus; must have been denied accreditation for 2 of last 3 years;
Economics and Financial Literacy: to include evaluation of the economic value of postsecondary degree.

Committee on the Future of Public Education: This legislative committee, created by legislation passed in 2016, is fast becoming “the” place where the future of high school redesign, SOL, SOQ and SOA issues, as well as K-12 funding issues, will be aired, reviewed and possibly decided, particularly as it concerns legislation.  The Innovation Committee will likely take a back seat to the “Futures” Committee.  The following bills were not passed during this session but were passed along to the Futures Committee:

  • Consideration of additional funding for instructional and support personnel in struggling schools;
  • Consideration of reductions in required SOL assessments;
  • Use of/access to Electronic Textbooks;
  • Consideration of establishing state School Health Advisory Board; and
  • Graduation Requirements/Verified Credit; alternative assessment restrictions.

 2017 promises to continue to be a challenging, exciting and busy year for VASSP, and we will keep you up to date and in the loop on legislative action throughout 2017.  To view my most recent report on Priority Education Bills Passed in 2017, visit the VASSP web site.  Stay tuned to our site for future updates, and remember to Stay in Tune and in Touch with your Local Legislators – they love photo ops!

Bet Neale
VASSP Lead Lobbyist/Director of Government Relations

BUDGET ATTACHMENTS
See below for language in final budget related to K-12 salary increases – applicable to funded SOQ instructional and support positions, including principals and assistant principals.  The $32M price tag is lower than Senate proposal due effective date of Feb 2018 (partial year).  If a school division has already provided increases at or above 2%, they will have satisfied the provisions in the budget and will receive the state share.

STATE SALARY SUPPLEMENT

Item 139 #4c: First Year – FY2017 Second Year – FY2018

Direct Aid to Public Education: FY2017 $0;  FY2018 $31,981,550 GF

1.This funding is not intended as a mandate to increase salaries.

Language
“Out of the appropriation included in paragraph 40 of this item, $135,366 the second year from the general fund is included in the Academic Year Governor’s School funding allocation to increase the per pupil amount the second year as an add-on for a compensation supplement payment equal to 2.0 percent of base pay on February 15, 2018, for Academic Year Governor’s School instructional and support positions.”
Page 160, after line 42 insert:
“40. Compensation Supplement
a.1) The appropriation in this item includes $31,981,550 the second year from the general fund for the state share of a payment equivalent to a 2.0 percent salary incentive increase, effective February 15, 2018, for funded SOQ instructional and support positions. Funded SOQ instructional positions shall include the teacher, guidance counselor, librarian, instructional aide, principal, and assistant principal positions funded through the SOQ staffing standards for each school division in the biennium. This amount includes $135,366 the second year referenced in paragraph 28. h., for the Academic Year Governor’s Schools for a 2.0 percent salary incentive increase, effective February 15, 2018, for instructional and support positions.
2) It is the intent that the instructional and support position salaries be increased in school divisions throughout the state by at least an average of 2.0 percent during the 2016-18 biennium. Sufficient funds are appropriated in this act to finance, on a statewide basis, the state share of a 2.0 percent salary increase for funded SOQ instructional and support positions, effective February 15, 2018, to school divisions which certify to the Department of Education, by June 1, 2017, that salary increases of a minimum average of 2.0 percent have been or will have been provided during the 2016-18 biennium, either in the first year or in the second year or through a combination of the two years, to instructional and support personnel. In certifying that the salary increases have been provided, school divisions may not include any salary increases that were provided in the first year solely to offset the cost of required member contributions to the Virginia Retirement System under § 51.1-144, Code of Virginia.
b. This funding is not intended as a mandate to increase salaries.”

Explanation

(This amendment provides funding for the state’s share of a 2.0 percent compensation supplement, for SOQ instructional and support positions and Academic Year Governor’s School instructional and support positions. The amount of state funding is calculated based on an effective date of February 15, 2018. School divisions shall have the flexibility to qualify for these state funds if they certify that they have provided or will provide an increase of at least 2.0 percent at some point during the 2016-18 biennium. In other words, at least 2.0 percent in fiscal year 2017 or at least 2.0 percent in fiscal year 2018, or via two separate increases in each fiscal year, such as 1.0 percent in fiscal year 2017 and 1.0 percent in fiscal year 2018 that together add to at least 2.0 percent. Companion amendments reverse the 1.5 percent bonus proposed in the budget as introduced and add $34.1 million to the Supplemental Lottery Per Pupil Allocation.)

FLEXIBLE (LOTTERY) FUND

Item 139 #8c: First Year – FY2017 Second Year – FY2018
Direct Aid to Public Education: FY2017 $0; FY2018 $34,099,139 GF
“School divisions are permitted to spend such funds on both recurring and nonrecurring expenses in a manner that best supports the needs of the schools divisions. No local match is required.”

Explanation

(This amendment provides $34.1 million the second year from the general fund to increase the Lottery Per Pupil Allocation (PPA), bringing the total up to $191.3 million in the second year, which is 35 percent of the total Lottery Proceeds Fund.)

 

ACTION ON PRIORITY EDUCATION BILLS 2017; 2/25/17

(REPORTED = from committee: PASSED = House; Senate; or both)

Notes are marked in italics

Click on Bill to read entire text

Bills Last action Date
HB 1392Lingamfelter – School security officers; carrying a firearm in performance of duties.  Permissive; retired no more than 10 yrs w/training and review; local PASSED 02/17

HB 1400Bell, Richard P.Virginia Virtual School Board; established, report.  State Virtual School/Board.

(Note: Gov’s alternative failed – local regional full-time virtual w local board control )

PASSED 02/08/17
HB 1408Ware – Student vision screenings; (shall provide comprehensive vision testing; certain devices/programs) PASSED 02/10/17
HB 1414Austin – Standards of Learning; DOE to review multipart assessment questions, partial credit, etc.  (DOE to review and consider) PASSED 02/10/17
HB 1437Head – Public school students; sight and hearing testing, exceptions.  Students with IEP; no additional testing if previously diagnosed PASSED 01/27/17
HB 1485Bell, Richard P.Sexual offenses; prohibits person from proximity to children and working on school property. PASSED 02/08/17
HB 1534Bell, Richard P. – Student discipline; long-term suspension. LEFT in Senate Ed and Health 02/10/17
HB 1536Bell, Richard P. – Student discipline; suspension or expulsion of students in K-3 LEFT in Senate Ed and Health 02/10/17
HB 1538LeMunyon – Revision and recodification of Title 23; corrections. Technical amendments PASSED 01/20/17
HB 1552BulovaCareer and technical education; notification to students and parents of programs available to obtain a nationally recognized career readiness certificate at a local public high school, comprehensive community college, or workforce center. PASSED 02/10/17
HB 1578Bell, Robert B. – Students who receive home instruction; participation in interscholastic programs (Tebow Bill). PASSED; Vetoed by Governor; 02/10/17
HB 1586Campbell – Court-ordered custody and visitation arrangements; transmission of order to child’s school. Notify school within 3 business days PASSED 02/03/17
HB 1605LaRockParental Choice Education Savings Accounts established. (similar Senate bill failed) PASSED w/2018 reenactment clause 02/08/17
HB 1661Greason – Administration of medications to treat adrenal crisis. Permissive; protection from liability PASSED 02/10/17
HB 1662Greason – SCHEV to consider dual enrollment courses. (policy for granting undergraduate general education course credit to any entering freshman student who has successfully completed a dual enrollment course). PASSED 02/08/17
HB 1663Greason – Northern Va. Community College, et al.; computer science training, etc., for public school teachers. Contract to develop and implement PASSED 02/08/17
HB 1705Greason – Certification of driver education courses; requirements. (may provide 90-minute behind wheel component) PASSED 02/10/17
HB 1708Filler-Corn – Standards of Accreditation; industry certification credentials obtained by high school students. (BOE to consider in SOA the number of industry certification credentials) PASSED 02/10/17
HB 1709Filler-Corn – School boards; policies and procedures prohibiting bullying, parental notification. (notify all parties of status of bullying investigation within 5 school days) PASSED 02/10/17
HB 1770Freitas – Teacher licensure; career and technical education, certain local waivers. may waive certain requirements for any teacher seeking initial licensure or renewal in CTE PASSED 02/10/17
HB 1829Dudenhefer – Teacher licensure; certification or training in emergency first aid, CPR initial licensure or renewal as a teacher shall include hands-on practice of the skills necessary to perform CPR. PASSED 02/10/17
HB 1888HugoWireless telecommunications devices; use by persons driving school buses. PASSED 02/10/17
HB 1924Bagby – Public schools; suspensions. (BOE to provide guidelines for alternatives to suspension) PASSED 02/10/17
HB 1981Greason – School Divisions of Innovation; definition, regulatory provisions. “reverse charter school” PASSED 02/10/17
HB 1982Greason – Graduation requirements; verified units of credit for satisfactory score on the PSAT examination. (add Pre-ACT) PASSED 02/10/17
HB 2007Bell, Robert B. – Students who receive home instruction; dual enrollment courses. (May enroll as part-time students for dual enrollment) FAILED 02/09/17
HB 2014Keam – Standards of quality; biennial review by Board of Education. PASSED 02/10/17
HB 2140LeMunyon – Teachers turnover; exit questionnaire. (Pilot program) PASSED 02/10/17
HB 2141LeMunyon – Public education; Board of Education to report on condition and needs. (to determine # of reports required and if necessary) PASSED 02/10/17
HB 2142LeMunyon – High school graduation; delays by one year implementation of redesigned requirements. (Note: Similar bill sent to Future of Public Ed Com) STRIKE – at request of patron 02/10/17
HB 2174Murphy – School boards; annual report on pupil/teacher ratios by schools (report by school – initial amendment asked for report to be “by classroom”) PASSED 02/10/17
HB 2191Landes – School boards; procedures for handling sexually explicit instructional materials, etc.    (Amended to refer to materials that include criminal sexual assault or any act defined and punishable as a felony under § 18.2-361) PASSED 02/10/17
HB 2218MiyaresPublic charter school applications and charter agreements; review by the Board of Education. PASSED 02/10/17
HB 2257Filler-Corn – High school family life education curricula; effective and evidence-based programs on law and meaning of consent. PASSED 02/10/17
HB 2282Leftwich§ 1. BOE to develop guidelines for training school counselors, school nurses, and other relevant school staff on the prevention of trafficking of children. PASSED 02/10/17
HB 2290Ward – Driver education programs; instruction concerning traffic stops. PASSED 02/10/17
HB 2332Tyler – Teachers; compensation at rate at or above national average salary.  (aspirational) PASSED 02/09/17
HB 2341LandesEducation, Board of; membership.  (to include at least 2 members from private business) PASSED 02/10/17
HB 2342Landes – Public establish regional charter school divisions. 3,000 plus enrollment; denied accreditation 2 out of past 3 yrs. PASSED 02/08/17
HB 2352Freitas – Teacher licensure by reciprocity; professional teacher’s assessments, report.  exempt from any professional teacher’s assessment requirements PASSED 02/10/17
HB 2355Pogge – Students receiving home instruction; participation in AP and PSAT/NMSQT.  (advise parents/take examinations) PASSED 02/10/17
HB 2395Cline – Public Schools; dyslexia advisor. Refers to reading specialist, if employed, as dyslexia advisor; or psychologist – amendment (advisor may not be full-time administrator) PASSED 02/08/17
HB 2406Filler-Corn – Family life education curricula; instruction shall include personal privacy and personal boundaries. FAILED 02/07/17
HB 2432Bulova – Teachers and other school personnel; investigation of certain complaints, license revocation.  (revocation to be forwarded to Supt of Public Instruction) PASSED 02/10/17
SB 783Ebbin – Public employment; prohibits discrimination on basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. FAILED 02/06/17
SB 829Wexton – Alternatives to suspension; Board of Education shall establish guidelines for local school boards. PASSED 02/08/17
SB 938EdwardsSmoking in outdoor public place; locality regulation. TABLED 02/10/17
SB 951Ruff – School service providers; student access to collected personal information. (machine readable format) PASSED 02/10/17
SB 995Stanley – Student discipline; long-term suspension.  (Primary vehicle for long-term suspension bill; some admin discretion; need to add assault/sexual assault) FAILED 02/09/17
SB 997Stanley – Public schools; student discipline. FAILED 02/09/17
SB 1017BarkerSchool attendance officer; powers and duties.  (may file petitions) TABLED 02/08/17
SB 1082WextonSchool principals; incident reports. Eliminates the requirement that school principals report certain misdemeanor offenses to law enforcement. FAILED 02/10/17
SB 1098Newman – Standards of Quality; standards for accreditation in public schools. Ensure transparency PASSED 02/10/17
SB 1099Newman – Standards of Quality; alternative assessments TABLED (sent to Future of Public Ed Com) 02/10/17
SB 1116McPike – Public school employees, certain; assistance with student insulin pumps by register nurse, etc. Permissive; protection from liability PASSED 02/08/17
SB 1117McPikeSchool counselors; licensure. Additional requirements; supported by counselors PASSED 02/10/17
SB 1159Reeves – Public schools; career and technical education credential. Certain armed services testing accepted PASSED 02/07/17
SB 1240DunnavantVirginia Virtual School established. PASSED 02/09/17
SB 1243DunnavantVa. Parental Choice Education Savings Accounts; established, definitions, report, effective clause.  FAILED 02/06/17
SB 1245Dunnavant – Public education; economics education and financial literacy. (Include evaluating the economic value of a postsecondary degree) PASSED 02/07/17
SB 1283Obenshain – Public schools; Board of Education shall only establish regional charter school divisions. PASSED (HB2342) 02/09/17
SB 1356Locke – Informal truancy plans; students with multiple discretionary diversions. Extends time frame  FAILED 02/08/17
SB 1414Newman – Students receiving home instruction; participation in AP and PSAT/NMSQT. (make exams available to homeschoolers)  PASSED 02/09/17
SB 1493McClellan – Virginia Community College System; computer science training available for teachers.  PASSED 02/08/17
SB 1516Black – Public Schools; dyslexia advisor. (one reading specialist or school psychologist, if employed, to be trained and serve as advisors)  PASSED 02/09/17
SB 1517Black – School transportation; fees. FAILED 02/07/17
SB 1523Mason – Teachers turnover; exit questionnaire. (BOE pilot program)  PASSED 02/08/17
SB 1534Sturtevant – general education course credit, dual enrollment courses. (SCHEV to establish policy) PASSED 02/08/17
SB 1583Suetterlein – Teacher licensure; career and technical education, certain local waivers. (may waive initial licensure; CTE) PASSED 02/10/17