The following bills are scheduled for 3d reading (vote) in the House on Monday, Feb 27.
HB 1024 Prayer in schools. Provides that a school corporation or charter school shall not discriminate against a student or a student's parent on the basis of a religious viewpoint or religious expression. Provides that students may express their beliefs about religion in homework, artwork, and other written and oral assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content of their submissions. Provides that public school students may pray or engage in religious activities or religious expression before, during, and after the school day in the same manner and to the same extent that students may engage in nonreligious activities or expression. Provides that students in public schools may wear clothing, accessories, and jewelry that display religious messages or religious symbols in the same manner and to the same extent that other types of clothing, accessories, and jewelry that display messages or symbols are permitted. Requires a school corporation or charter school to adopt a policy that must include the establishment of a limited public forum for student speakers who wish to include religious content at all school events at which a student is to publicly speak. Provides that the policy shall include requirements that require a school corporation or charter school to state, in writing, orally, or both, that the student's speech does not reflect the endorsement, sponsorship, position, or expression of the school corporation or charter school. Provides that the policy must include measures to make reasonable accommodations for individuals who wish to be excused from a student's speech that includes religious content because of the individual's own religious belief or lack of religious belief. Requires the department of education, in collaboration with the attorney general's office and organizations with expertise in religious civil liberties, to establish a model policy. Provides that each school corporation may include as an elective in the school corporation's high school curriculum a course surveying religions of the world.
HB 1463 Teachers' defined contribution plan. Establishes the teachers' defined contribution plan (plan) as an account within the Indiana state teachers' retirement fund (fund). Provides that an individual who begins employment with a school corporation in a covered position that would otherwise be eligible for membership in the fund may elect to become a member of the plan. Provides that an individual who does not elect to become a member of the plan becomes a member of the fund. Provides that an individual has 36 months after the individual's initial election to make a second election concerning membership in the fund or the plan. Requires the board of trustees of the Indiana public retirement system (board) to establish, subject to any approval from the Internal Revenue Service that the board considers necessary or desirable, alternative investment programs within the annuity savings account as the initial alternative investment programs or the plan. Provides that, if the board considers it necessary or appropriate, the board may establish different or additional alternative investment programs for the plan, except that the board shall maintain the stable value fund. Provides that each member's contribution to the plan is 3% of the member's compensation and requires the employer to pay the member's contribution on behalf of the member. Allows a member to make additional contributions to the plan up to 10% of the member's compensation. Provides that the employer's contribution rate for the plan is equal to the employer's contribution rate for the fund as determined by the board, although the amount credited from the employer's contribution rate to the member's account may not be greater than the normal cost of the fund, and any amount not credited to the member's account is applied to the unfunded accrued liability of the fund. Provides that an employer's minimum contribution to the plan is 3% of the compensation of all members of the plan. Provides that member contributions and net earnings on the member contributions belong to the member at all times and do not belong to the employer. Provides that a member vests in the employer contribution subaccount at 50% after four years of participation in the plan with full vesting after five years of participation. Provides that, if a member separates from service with an employer before the member is fully vested in the employer contribution subaccount, the amount in the subaccount that is not vested is: (1) transferred to the member's new employer, if the new employer participates in the plan; or (2) held in the member's employer contribution subaccount until forfeited. Provides that a member who: (1) terminates service in a covered position; and (2) does not perform any service in a covered position for at least 30 days after the date on which the member terminates service; is entitled to withdraw vested amounts in the member's account. Provides that a member may elect to have withdrawals paid as: (1) a lump sum; (2) a direct rollover to another eligible retirement plan; or (3) if the member is at least 62 years of age with at least five years of participation in the plan, a monthly annuity in accordance with the rules of the board. Provides that, on the plan's effective date, school corporations become participants in the plan. Allows a member of the public employees' retirement fund (PERF) or the fund to receive a disability retirement from PERF or the fund without requiring the member to be currently employed, to be receiving employer provided income protection benefits, or to be on leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Provides the board shall provide education to employers and members regarding retirement benefit options of all pension and retirement funds that the board administers.
More details on these bills and other bills to be heard by the House on Monday, Feb 27, can be found here.
The following Senate Resolution is scheduled for a vote in the Senate on Monday, Feb 27.
SR 17. A Senate Resolution urging the Department of Education to reinforce support of teachers who choose to teach a diverse curriculum.
The National Center for Science Education is against this bill. The language found in this resolution has been in previous unsuccessful bills and has been quoted to be "a back-door approach to failed attempts to chip away at state standards on teaching evolution and to bring creationism into the public school classroom."
The following bills are scheduled for 3d reading (vote) in the Senate on Monday, Feb 27.
SB 61 School resource officers. Requires the commission on seclusion and restraint in schools (commission) to adopt rules concerning reporting requirements for the use of seclusion and restraint by school resource officers. Requires that the commission include a member of the National Association of School Resource Officers. Provides that a school corporation, accredited nonpublic school, or charter school must report incidents of seclusion and restraint involving a school resource officer. Provides that the commission may adopt emergency rules under IC 4-22-2-37.1. Voids a rule adopted by the commission that excludes school resource officers from the reporting requirements.
SB 88 School calendar. Prohibits public schools and accredited nonpublic schools from beginning student instructional days for the school year before the last Monday in August, beginning with the 2018-2019 school year.
SB 435 Mental health education and screenings. Requires a school corporation's health education curriculum to include mental health wellness education. Provides that the governing body of a school corporation may provide mental health screenings to students if the written consent of the student's parent or guardian is received. Requires the department of education to provide a school corporation with resources regarding mental health wellness upon request by the school corporation.
The following bills are scheduled for 2d reading (possible amendment) in the Senate on Monday, Feb 27. These will presumably be scheduled for 3d reading (vote) on Tuesday, since that is the deadline for final votes for this first half of the session.
SB 198 Career and technical education. Relocates and amends provisions regarding career and technical education grants. Provides that the department of workforce development (department) (instead of the state board of education) shall receive, distribute, and account for all funds received for career and technical education under the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act. Provides that the department shall oversee the career and technical education grants (grants) instead of the department of education. Requires the department to prepare a budget request for state and federal funds for secondary and postsecondary career and technical education. Provides that the grants may be awarded to career and technical education organizations (instead of only to school corporations). Establishes new categories of career and technical education programs and courses. Amends the amount of the grants that may be awarded. Provides that the total amount of career and technical education enrollment grants that may be made in a state fiscal year may not exceed the total amount appropriated for that purpose for the state fiscal year. Allows the department to award a grant to a school corporation for certain transportation costs. Requires the department of education to implement, for one year, a pilot program for instruction in and the use of the Indiana career explorer program and curriculum byall students in grade 8 attending schools in 15 school corporations. Requires, beginning July 1, 2018, each school within a school corporation and charter school to include in the school's curriculum for all students in grade 8 the instruction in and the use of the Indiana career explorer program and curriculum. Requires the state board of education to use data from the department in developing and implementing certain plans, recommendations, and other matters relating to career and technical education.
SB 276 Prekindergarten education. Provides that, after June 30,2017, the early education grant pilot program (pilot program) includes eligible providers in any county in Indiana. Adds additional requirements for an eligible provider to participate in the pilot program. Adds additional requirements for an eligible child to qualify for or receive a grant under the pilot program. Provides that the office of the secretary of family and social services (office) may award a grant to a potential eligible provider or existing eligible provider for an expansion plan if certain requirements are met. Requires a potential eligible provider or existing eligible provider to repay to the office the total amount of the grant awarded if the potential eligible provider or existing eligible provider fails to use the grant funds in accordance with the expansion plan or in compliance with the agreement with the office. Requires the office to: (1) monitor the educational outcomes resulting from the implementation of expansion plans; and (2) annually provide the governor and legislative council a report of the findings of the office concerning the educational outcomes. Requires the office to make at least two onsite inspections of facilities of eligible providers and potential eligible providers or existing eligible providers each year. Provides that the office may determine that an eligible provider or potential eligible provider or existing eligible provider is no longer eligible under the pilot program. Requires the division of family resources to develop a provider rate reimbursement schedule that uses money appropriated by the general assembly as an incentive for providers eligible to receive voucher payments under the federal Child Care and Development fund voucher program to meet the standards of quality recognized by a Level 3 or Level 4 Paths to QUALITY program rating. Requires the department of education to approve an early learning development framework for prekindergarten. Requires the office to apply for waivers from all applicable federal agencies to receive any federal funding for child care or prekindergarten education in one block grant to use for child care and prekindergarten programs in the state. Establishes the prekindergarten pilot program fund (fund).Allows the office to develop and implement a reimbursement program to reimburse costs incurred by parents to provide technology based, in-home early education services to a child. Allows money in the fund to be used to pay for the reimbursements. Makes an appropriation to the fund of $16,000,000 in both state fiscal years 2017 and 2018. Specifies that of the $16,000,000 appropriated in a state fiscal year, $1,000,000 of that amount must be used for reimbursement of in-home early education services. Repeals the provisions concerning the early education matching grant program.
This bill has been chipped away at by our legislators. You can read more about it here.
Please note that this bill now contains $1 million to be allocated to provide assistance for people who are homeschooling a preschool-aged child. The ISTA is against it. As summarized by ISTA, "The in-home pre-K program would be a quasi-voucher program for parents to use state dollars to determine how their pre-k student will get pre-K education, virtually. Parents would use their voucher to purchase pre-K curriculum software, computer, internet service and any other resources needed." You can read more about it here.
SB 407 Education matters. Amends the definition of an "evaluator" for purposes of teacher evaluations. Requires, for school years beginning after June 30, 2018, that the state board of education (state board) approve one or more evaluator certification programs. Requires the state board, in collaboration with the department of education, to provide ongoing training and support to a pilot group of school corporations to assist in the development and improvement of teacher evaluation plans. Provides that, on or before November 1, 2018, the state board shall evaluate the current teacher evaluation requirements and make recommendations in a report to the governor and the general assembly regarding methods to improve the implementation of current teacher evaluation requirements. Requires a school employer to submit a copy of the affidavit submitted by the exclusive representative indicating the number of teachers who are members of the exclusive representative to the Indiana education employment relations board(board). Requires the board to compile information included in the affidavit from each school corporation and post aggregate information on the board's Internet web site. Provides that the information posted by the board may not include any information that would identify a particular school employee. Requires the board to develop and post on its Internet web site training modules, videos, or other instructional material informing school employees of their rights to select an exclusive representative. Provides that each school year in which school employee participation in a school employee organization currently serving as the exclusive representative of the bargaining unit does not represent a majority of the school employees within the unit,t he board shall notify the school employees of the bargaining unit of their right to: (1) representation; and (2) the ability to change their exclusive representative. Urges the general assembly to assign certain issues relating to the federal Every Student Succeeds Act to the education interim study committee.
SB 498 Teacher compensation. Provides that certain factors may account for not more than 33.33% (instead of 33%) of the calculation used to determine a teacher's increase or increment in salary. Amends the factor concerning additional content area degrees and credit hours in determining a teacher's increase or increment in salary. Requires the department of education to grant an application to add an additional content area or areas to a valid Indiana teaching license if certain conditions apply.
More details on these bills and the other bills to be read by the Senate on Monday, Feb 27, can be found here.