Focus Topic – Education

by Courtney C Horne @FireezDragon

These are all education related bills.

House Bill 79 (HB79)- (Hensgens) Adds additional requirements to school’s crisis management plans such that plans must be made jointly with law enforcement, require locks on classroom doors to remain locked during instruction time, and requires safety drill for plan rehearsal  This seems a bit overkill- schools already have to have a crisis management plan as required by present law- forcing them to use time and resources to remake it and forcing law enforcement to use time and resources to participate seems wasteful.

House Bill 87 (HB87)- (Carmody) Currently the imposition of a new fee or increase in a fee requires a 2/3 approval by the legislature- this seeks to add a constitutional amendment to exclude tuition and fees for post secondary education from that requirement- They want to make it easier to up tuition and fees- if this passes the legislature it will go to voters on November 4th, 2014.

House Bill 89 (HB89)- (Hoffman) because the special education category includes both gifted and disabled students currently schools are required to have rules and guidelines for the appropriate use of seclusion, physical restraint, and mechanical restraint of students with both. This removes gifted students who do not also have a disability from triggering that requirement for schools

House Bill 95 (HB95)- (Dixon) Specifies age based eligibility for public school admission or readmission and specifies that admission or readmission may not be denied based on the student previously withdrawing from school, being pregnant, being married, or being a parent.

House Bill 115 (HB115)- (James) Allows a system for parents to petition for a school in the recovery school district to be returned to the local school district.

House Bill 116 (HB116)- (Hoffman) Moves all responsibility and authority surrounding public school textbooks (for elementary through high school- not college) from the state to the local level.

House Bill 129 (HB129)-  (Pierre) states that no teacher or administrator can be given a effective or ineffective performance rating until his/her full performance evaluation is completed.

House Bill 155 (HB155)-  (Cox)  requires that a school’s emergency plan be prepared jointly with fire/police officials, not just consider and include input from them. (see HB 79 for a similar bill) Also specifies additional focuses for such a plan, requires fire/police official review of such plans annually, and requires additional training related to the plan.

House Bill 160 (HB160)- (Reynolds) Delays implementation of certain teacher assessment models and the related evaluation program for a year and makes implementation contingent upon approval of the assessment models by the house and senate education committees.

Senate Bill 26 (SB26)-  (Peterson) Repeals the “Louisiana Science Education Act”  which allows the use of supplemental material in science classes to introduce alternative theories of established science, often thought of as a law to allow creationism under the guise of “intelligent design” into public schools. This is not the first repeal effort.

Senate Bill 31 (SB31)-  (Claitor) Requires higher education management boards to provide the legislature with extensive information on scholarships awarded – including names of recipients.  A public report on scholarship awards is also required – this one without identifying information on recipients.

Senate Bill 36 (SB36)- (Heitmeier) Extends smoking prohibitions to grounds or facilities of institutions managed by the Board of Supervisors of Community and Technical Colleges, the Board of Supervisors of Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, the Board of Supervisors of Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, or the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System. Basically prohibits smoking on the grounds of any Louisiana public university affiliated property.

Senate Bill 45 (SB45)- (Dorsey-Colomb) Merges four Louisiana Technical College Campuses (Baton Rouge, Folkes, Jumonville Memorial, and Westside) into the Baton Rouge Community College and lays out a system for the merger.

Senate Bill 41 (SB41)- (Kotselka) This proposed constitutional amendment would make the state superintendent of education a position which can not be appointed only elected and require the superintendent to be an elected one by January 2016.

Senate Bill 59 (SB59)- (Buffington) Would require that meetings by the boards of supervisors for the Louisiana State University system, the Southern University system, the University of Louisiana system, and the Louisiana Community and Technical College system or any of their committees be broadcast live over the Internet and archived and made available for at least a year. This law does not apply to executive sessions. Technical problems preventing the recording will not be considered a violation of the law.

House Bill 167 (HB167)- (Champagne) Adds to the list of info that the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information must provide to a post-secondary education institution seeking a background check for an employee prior arrests for sex crimes or crimes of violence as well as convictions dismissed through article 893 or 894 of the code of criminal procedure.

House Bill 194 (HB194)- (Leger) Allows for the board of the universities in the state to raise tuition and fees (subject to guidelines set out by the board of regents) and requires any raises to be proceeded by establishing a system for financial hardship waivers.

House Bill 203 (HB203)-  (Ivey) Currently after a failed evaluation, a teacher must complete an assistance program. If they fail to do so or still are evaluated to be ineffective afterwards, the local school system is required to fire them. This would change that status to being permitted to fire them rather than required to do so.

House Bill 206 (HB206)-  (Reynolds) This is a constitutional amendment which would make it so that school districts can be created without being “parish” school districts. Essentially this would allow for the creation of multiple mini-districts within a parish. The creation of such districts would be subject to voter approval. I think this is very concerning as it would make it easier for wealthier areas to separate their schools from poorer areas leaving the poorer areas with even less resources

House Bill 207 (HB207)-  (Carmody) Lets public post-secondary institutions name buildings in honor of living people. Public buildings/parks/roads etc are not ordinarily allowed to be named for living people unless it is specifically authorized by a law.

House Bill 212 (HB212)-  (Brossett) Sets up a mapping system for building plans and emergency prep information for non-public schools and colleges in the state so that the first responders have useful information in an emergency.

House Bill 214 (HB214)- (Jefferson) This bill is designed to increase parental involvement in public schools. First, it authorizes partnerships with individuals and organizations designed to increase the involvement. Second, it encourages parenting classes to increase involvement. It also recognizes schools with high levels of involvement and encourages a system to get involved parents to get other parents involved. Also authorizes seeking funding for the related programs.

House Bill 224 (HB224)- (Hollis) Requires immediate removal of nontenured bus drivers convicted of driving a vehicle while intoxicated whether or not they were in their official duties at the time. (Current law pertains specifically to during official duties.) Also adds such convictions to the list of offenses for which a tenured bus driver can be terminated.

House Bill 230 (HB230)- (Pope) Requires that for a student entering kindergarten to be eligible to participate in the voucher program, the public school he would have otherwise attended or the recovery school district school he enrolled in must have received a “C”, “D”, or “F” for the most recent school year. Currently there is no requirement for those student’s schools to have a specific grade for them to be eligible

House Bill 242 (HB242)-  (Carter) Allows the state superintendent of education to individually adjust performance targets and thresholds in the state’s accountability system for the education voucher program.

House Bill 243 (HB243)-  (Carter) Grants TOPS eligibility to students who graduate in 2011 or after with an International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma from a high school located outside Louisiana and approved to issue such.

House Bill 248 (HB248)-  (Talbot) Requires annual verification that a student meets the family income eligibility requirements to participate in the school voucher program

House Bill 249 (HB249)-  (Richard) Currently students are eligible to be funded to take courses through the “Course Choice Program” by meeting one of three criteria. This changes the criteria that a student is attending a school that received a C, D, or F rating to only covering D or F rated schools. The other two possible criteria are unchanged.

House Bill 267 (HB267)– (Hensgens)  Prohibits public high schools from participating in interscholastic athletics directed/regulated by any group that discriminates among schools based on school admissions criteria in classifying schools for competition in any sport. Also repeals part of present law which was found to violate the state constitution in relation to students of non public schools participating in interscholastic athletic activities.

House Bill 269 (HB269)– (Reynolds) Removes C schools from the list of C, D, and F schools which trigger special performance targets to be required in a superintendents contracts. Also increases notice of termination that must be given to a superintendent from 30 to 90 days. Lastly changes a required removal of a superintendent under certain circumstances to an authorized- but not required-  one.

House Bill 299 (HB299)- (Carmody) Changes the date by which the post-secondary education funding formula must be presented to the legislature each year from March 15th to March 31st.

House Bill 343 (HB343)– (Edwards) Provides an exception for students not pursuing regular high school diplomas from being required to take any LEAP or school accountability test, including the ACT.

House Bill 344 (HB344)– (Foil) Authorizes certain increased and new tuition and fees to be put in place by LSU for LSU-Baton Rouge and the LSU School of Dentistry.

House Bill 324 (HB324)- (Jefferson) Creates an income tax rebate of 75% of a taxpayers donation to a public school that was graded as a B, C, D, or F

House Bill 346 (HB346)– (Richard) In order to change the school performance score ranges used by the state’s school accountability system, approval must be gotten from the house and senate committees on education.

House Bill 368 (HB368)- (Norton) Requires school principals to review school emergency plans annually and consider appropriate input at that time as well as requiring annual submission to the school board of the plan. Requires at least two plan rehearsal drills per year. Changes current authorization for school resource officers (school security cops) to a requirement that schools have them.

House Bill 382 (HB382)– (Berthelot) Creates, establishes rules for, and sets up a system to govern a volunteer firefighter’s tuition reimbursement program which will provide tuition reimbursement to volunteer firefighters for attendance at a state public college, university, vocational, or technical school.

House Bill 401 (HB401)– (Carter) Allows the public postsecondary education management boards to impose in or after 2016 a one-time tuition and fee increase (up to the average amount of annual tuition and mandatory fees for SREB peer institutions) if the institution meets graduation and retention rate criteria.

House Bill 421 (HB421)– (Ponti) Adds a license renewal fee for contractors (except those  issued for residential funding) with the funds from the fees to go to public university and community college schools of construction management or construction technology.

House Bill 457 (HB457)–  (Hollis) Allows parents to petition for schools receiving D or F grades for three years to be transferred to Recovery School district with signatures representing the parents of a majority of the students. Requires BESE to implement related rules. Prohibits use of school district resources to support or oppose such an effort. Also requires that the state superintendent of education make an annual report  on implementation of a total system of choice.

House Bill 466 (HB466)– (Havard)  Prohibits BESE from implementing any change to the system for grading schools and taking actions based on those grades  unless the change has been approved by the House Committee on Education and the Senate Committee on Education. For the 2012-13 school year, requires BESE to determine letter grades and take actions based on those grades according to the same method or formula used for the 2011-12 school year.

House Bill 467 (HB467)- (Edwards) Requires charter schools to use the same employment eligibility rules and requirements as traditional public schools, including teacher eligibility requirements that mirror those of comparable positions in public schools and background checks for all employees.

House Bill 478 (HB478)– (Champagne) Removes performance to be considered as a factor when a reduction in teacher numbers requires dismissals leaving only demand for the teacher’s position and effectiveness (to be determined through the performance evaluation program) as factors to be considered. Also specifies that no teacher dismissed due to a reduction in teacher numbers shall have a preference in hiring regardless of the teacher’s tenure status at the time of dismissal. Prohibits including seniority or tenure when making dismissal decisions related to such a reduction. — This is the kind of legislation that caused the State Capitol Park to be teeming with teachers last year.

House Bill 509 (HB509)– (Carter) Creates a new core curriculum for TOPS (The state scholarship program) requirements which will go into effect for students graduating in 2017-2018. Also removes dated sections of the law which have expired (like clauses that say for the 1999-2000 school year)

House Bill 528 (HB528)– (Garofalo) This constitutional amendment creates the Louisiana University System Board of Trustees to supervise and manage Louisiana’s public colleges and universities that issue baccalaureate degrees or higher and sets up the powers and the system for the board. Abolishes the current university governing boards which would be replaced with this.

House Bill 531 (HB531)– (Havard) This constitutional amendment removes all exemptions to the prohibition on “unfunded mandates” for public school systems. { This isn’t the only bill related to this so I thought I should list the current exemptions:  1) a law requested by the school board of the affected school system, Defining a new crime or amending an existing crime,  Enacted and effective prior to the adoption of the amendment of this Section of present constitution by the electors of the state in 2006, Enacted to comply with a federal mandate, Having insignificant fiscal impact on the affected school system, or Relative to implementation of state school and district accountability system, 2) Any instrument adopted or enacted by 2/3 of the elected members of each house of the legislature OR 3) Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) formula or any instrument adopted or enacted by the legislature approving such formula}

House Bill 540 (HB540)– (Jones) Repeals a 2013 deadline for teachers, counselors and psychologists to receive specified credentials which qualify them for an annual salary supplement.

House Bill 541 (HB541)– (Simon) Would require parents to be notified, if their child is assigned to a teacher who has been evaluated as ineffective for the past two years, of the opportunity to have their child taught instead by another teacher (who was evaluated as effective in the most recent year)  in the same school or another school in the district.

House Bill 542 (HB542)– (Whitney) Makes technical changes to the wording of the charter school law.  Things like changing “local board” to “local school board.” No non technical/wording changes.

House Bill 557 (HB557)– (Willmott)  Requires all mandatory reporters to receive training on mandatory reporting laws and the consequences of failing to report.

House Bill 558 (HB558)– (Hollis) This bill makes several grammatical changes to the law for the “Course Choice Program.” It also adds a measure stating that if a provision or provisions of the law are found invalid, it will not effect other provisions of the law.

House Bill 576 (HB576)– (Broadwater) Creates the Higher Education Improvement District with a board which has authority to levy taxes the proceeds of which would go to public post secondary education institutes in the state.

House Bill 584 (HB584)– (P Smith) Lists standards and requires BESE to adopt more rules and regulations to govern virtual schools and supplemental online courses.

House Bill 596 (HB596)- (Carter) Clarifies the authority of  local school boards/ superintendents. Under this bill, superintendents have authority to enter, amend, and terminate employment contracts for all school and school system personnel, which includes the authority to hire, place, and dismiss all school and school system personnel. No teaching personnel can be placed in a school without the principal’s consent. Clarifies that the superintendent can supervise and dismiss visiting faculty and personnel. Clarifies that the superintendent is responsible for the appointment, supervision, and dismissal of school principals.

House Bill 597 (HB597)– (Seabaugh) This deletes one provision pertaining to district eligibility based on eligibility as of 2008  from the school voucher program law.

House Bill 598 (HB598)– (Barrow) Requires school performance scores for the accountability system to be based on a 100 point scale and prohibits taking actions based on these scores prior to the 2016-2017 school year.

House Concurrent Resolutions 14 (HCR14)- (Edwards) Requires the passage of a concurrent resolution by each house to approve the Minimum Foundation Program formula. Requires the concurrent resolution to be introduced no later than the same deadline for introducing bills in the regular session

House Concurrent Resolutions 16 (HCR16)– (Pope) Requests a study on the feasibility of community colleges to serve Livingston Parish. (Rep. Pope is, as is to be expected, from Livingston Parish)

House Concurrent Resolution 29 (HCR29)- (Mack) Requires BESE to look into requiring training for teachers and other school employees pertaining to armed intruders.

House Concurrent Resolution 30 (HCR30)– (Carter) Requires BESE to study the possibility of using a residential charter school model in Louisiana.



–to be periodically updated as new bills are filed–