The following bills are scheduled for a 2nd reading in the Senate on Monday, March 27
HB 1004 - Prekindergarten education. Provides that, after June 30, 2017, the early education grant pilot program (prekindergarten pilot program) includes eligible providers in any county in Indiana. Changes references to the "pilot program" to the "prekindergarten pilot program". Adds additional requirements for an eligible provider to participate in the prekindergarten pilot program. Adds additional requirements for an eligible child to qualify for or receive a grant under the prekindergarten pilot program. Provides that children who meet certain criteria and are in foster care are eligible for a grant under the prekindergarten pilot program and excludes the children in foster care from othereligibility requirements. 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 random onsite inspections, as determined necessary by the office, 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 prekindergarten 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.
ICPE is relieved that the senate stripped out controversial language that linked the preschool pilot to the state’s private school voucher program. But slashed the funding to match their bill. Read more here.
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 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.
The current state of this bill can be read about here.
HB 1029 - School employment and teacher licensure. Amends the time period by which a school corporation, charter school, or nonpublic school must conduct expanded criminal history checks for applicants for noncertificated employment or certificated employment. Requires a school corporation, charter school, or nonpublic school to conduct an expanded child protection index check concerning each applicant for noncertificated employment or certificated employment before or not later than two months after the applicant's employment. Provides that a school corporation, charter school, or nonpublic school shall require an expanded criminal history check and expanded child protection index check on each employee every five years. Provides that a school corporation, charter school, or nonpublic school may implement the requirement for updated background checks for current employees over a five year period. Provides that the employee is responsible for costs associated with obtaining the background checks unless the school corporation, charter school, or nonpublic school agrees to pay the costs. Makes an exception to the provision that an applicant or employee may not be required to obtain an expanded criminal history check or expanded child protection index check more than one time during a five year period. Requires each school corporation and charter school to adopt a policy requiring the school employer of the school corporation or charter school to contact references and, if applicable, the most recent employer provided by a prospective employee, before the school corporation or charter school may hire the prospective employee. Prohibits a school from hiring persons who have been convicted of certain crimes. Adds human trafficking to the list of offenses requiring license revocation. Permits the department of education (department) to reinstate the license of a person convicted of certain crimes if the conviction is reversed, vacated, or set aside on appeal. Requires the division of state court administration to weekly transmit a list of persons convicted of specified crimes to the department, and requires the department to: (1) compare this list with the department's list of licensed employees; and (2) institute revocation proceedings if a licensed employee has been convicted of a specified offense. Provides that a presentence investigation includes gathering information with respect to whether the convicted defendant holds a teaching license or is a teacher. Provides that a superintendent (in addition to a principal under current law) may initiate the cancellation of a teacher's contract by providing notice to the teacher of the superintendent's preliminary decision.
HB 1130 -Protections for student journalists. Provides freedom of speech and freedom of press protections for grades 9 through 12 and state educational institution student journalists. Requires each school corporation and charter school to adopt a policy concerning student journalist protections. Provides that a public school or school corporation may not suppress school sponsored media unless certain conditions apply. Provides that public schools, school corporations, and state educational institutions are immune from civil liability for any injury resulting from school sponsored media produced by a student journalist except for acts or omissions that constitute gross negligence or willful, wanton, or intentional misconduct.
HB 1281 - Various higher education matters. Allows the commission for higher education (commission) to extend, with limitations, eligibility for certain grants or reductions in tuition or fees for recipients who used the grants or reductions in tuition or fees at postsecondary educational institutions that have closed. Amends provisions regarding renewal of certain scholarships and tuition and fee remissions. Changes the term "professional degree program" to "professional degree program or accelerated graduate degree program" and amends the definition. Amends the provision regarding the use of renewals and extensions of certain grants or reductions in tuition or fees for professional degree programs or accelerated graduate degree programs. Allows recipients of certain grants, scholarships, or remissions of fees to: (1) use, with certain limitations, funds from the grants, scholarships, or remissions of fees to pay for costs associated with prior learning assessments that the student attempts to earn during the academic year in which the student receives the grants, scholarships, or remissions of fees; and (2) count anticipated credit hours for prior learning assessments toward attendance requirements. Establishes the tuition and fee exemption reimbursement fund to provide reimbursement to state educational institutions for certain tuition and fee remissions. Provides that the commission, in coordination with the Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine, shall administer the primary care shortage area scholarship. (Current law provides that the Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine shall administer the scholarship.) Requires a scholarship recipient to enter into an agreement with the commission (instead of the Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine). Requires the commission to: (1) study and make recommendations regarding the benefits of a reverse transfer policy for Indiana students and prepare a report regarding the recommendations; and (2) submit, not later than November 1, 2017, the report to the budget agency and legislative council.
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. 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 for 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 20% per year 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. Provides that the board shall provide education to employers and members regarding retirement benefit options of all applicable pension and retirement funds that the board administers.
More information can be found here.