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Community Legislative Update – February 8, 2019

 

Nearing the End of Session!

Crossover has passed and we are now in the final stretch of the General Assembly with only two weeks left for them to consider all remaining legislation and prepare a final budget for the remainder of FY19 and all of FY20.

As of Crossover, the House passed 602 of the 1204 House bills introduced (exactly 50%!) and the Senate passed 479 of the 793 Senate bills introduced. Now the chambers are considering the legislation that has crossed over. Many pieces of legislation were introduced in identical or very similar forms in each chamber and those pieces of legislation will move quickly towards approval by the full General Assembly. Their focus will now be working through unique proposals that the other chamber has not yet considered.

The State Budget

This past weekend, the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance Committee released their respective budget proposals. From our standpoint, the budgets proposed fall far short of what Virginia’s students and teachers need and deserve, cutting millions of dollars from the investments proposed to them in December. The governor’s proposed budget should have been a floor – and not a ceiling – for K-12 funding, and the Virginia General Assembly has let us down again. Although we appreciate the commitment shown to addressing teacher salaries, these budgets ignore the stark reality that state funding for K-12 education is still down 9% since the 2009 recession. Every year that goes by without meaningful new investment is another year that we are leaving a class of students behind.

 In Richmond, our state funding needs are even more acute with our state distribution down 19% since the 2009 recession. This inequity must be addressed to give our city the tools it needs to fully fund and improve our schools. Yet the legislature is ignoring the critical At-Risk Add-On program and has cut its proposed increases that would help direct funding to our Commonwealth’s students who need it the most.

 Fortunately, there is still time for the legislature to sufficiently increase funding for the At-Risk Add-On, support staff positions like school counselors, school construction and other key initiatives to help fund the true cost of education. We urge members of the General Assembly to make K-12 education a top priority and send a clear message that our Commonwealth is committed to giving every Virginia student the educational resources they need to succeed academically in a safe and healthy environment.

As the House and Senate negotiate their differences in the coming weeks, we will continue to advocate for the best possible compromise for a budget that makes progress in fully funding the state’s share of the true costs of public education. We will need you to help us advocate and encourage you to reach out to your elected leaders to convey the importance of providing as much funding to public education as possible.

What Can You Do Now?

As the House and Senate work to negotiate differences between their budget proposals, we need your voice to help advocate for the best final budget possible. The next week will be the sweet spot for helping influence the conferees to adopt a budget that makes as much investment as possible in public education.

There are six Senators and seven Delegates from the Senate Finance Committees and House Appropriations Committee who have been appointed as budget conferees and will be deciding the fate of each budget issue that differs between the House and Senate. Send each of these legislators an email now to help express your support for the Senate budget proposal:

 

Senator Thomas K. Norment, Jr. district03@senate.virginia.gov

Senator Emmett W. Hanger, Jr. district24@senate.virginia.gov

Senator Richard L. Saslaw district35@senate.virginia.gov

Senator Stephen D. Newman district23@senate.virginia.gov

Senator Frank M. Ruff, Jr. district15@senate.virginia.gov

Senator Frank W. Wagner district07@senate.virginia.gov

 

Delegate S. Chris Jones DelCJones@house.virginia.gov

Delegate R. Steven Landes DelSLandes@house.virginia.gov

Delegate Christopher K. Peace DelCPeace@house.virginia.gov

Delegate Barry D. Knight DelBKnight@house.virginia.gov

Delegate T. Scott Garrett DelSGarrett@house.virginia.gov

Delegate Luke E. Torian DelLTorian@house.virginia.gov

Delegate Mark D. Sickles DelMSickles@house.virginia.gov

The number one priority to communicate is supporting the Senate’s approach to funding an increase in the At-Risk Add-On program.

A sample communication can be:

Subject: Support the Senate to Fund the At-Risk Add-On!

Dear Delegate/Senator [Insert Name],

Making investments in public education has never been more important and our schools need more! Support the Senate approach to funding the At-Risk Add-On program to help provide more equitable funding for the schools in our Commonwealth that need the most support. It costs 25-30% more to educate children in high-poverty areas, yet a school division like Richmond receives less funding than many wealthier localities. Invest in our at-risk schools by supporting the Senate proposal to include funding for this program.

 

Feel free to customize your message and discuss other budget proposals that are important to you! We need more funding in many areas and your advocacy on these issues can help make the difference!

We have also provided this sample email in a separate document. Download it here. Feel free to customize your message and discuss other proposals that we have included in this report. We need more funding in many areas and your advocacy on these issues can help make the difference!

Your Engagement Matters!

The RPS team has been tracking legislation, testifying before committees, meeting with legislators, and talking about all the great things happening at RPS. But we want to empower you to be an advocate because it’s your voice that matters! We have published an Advocacy Toolkit with many resources related to the legislative process and how to communicate with your legislators about your views on the budget and legislation! Our resources include:

  • Legislative Agenda and Policy Positions
  • Advocacy Guide
  • Letter Writing Guide
  • The Legislative Process

Budget Updates

Below are updates on some of the highest priority education funding issues and how they were handled by the House and Senate. We have also indicated which approach we support for each issue. For example, for teacher salaries, we support the full-funding approach of the Senate and will be conveying that position to legislators.

Taxes and Their Impact on Education Funding

The budget process was significantly affected this year by the ongoing debate over tax conformity necessary because of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The federal tax changes force changes to the way Virginians will file their taxes and will also generate about $1.2 billion in new revenue for the Commonwealth. The Governor proposed several ways to handle this money, including providing tax relief for lower-income Virginians and investing in key priorities like public education.

The Republican-led General Assembly has rejected the Governor’s proposals and has not yet agreed amongst themselves over how to deal with the issues of conformity, tax relief, and new spending. They have proposed to put all the new revenue in a special restricted fund until they can decide later how to spend it. Unfortunately, this means that many of the Governor’s proposals for public education have been reduced or stricken from consideration altogether. Regardless of this new revenue, we believed that the legislature should and could have done more to invest in K-12 education as they still made significant investments in many other areas of the budget.

The proposal by the Senate is slightly more favorable than the House proposal, but both have their pros and cons and much of the discussion will now be a compromise between the two versions.

Teacher Salaries - Support the Senate!

Starting with what we’ve known for over a week, there is some agreement on the 5% teacher salary increase and the committees have included the raise in both their proposals - albeit in slightly different forms. The existing 3% raise is still included and requires a full local match to bring down those funds.

However, under the House proposal, the additional 2% increase would not be effective until January 1, 2020, while the Senate would fund it starting this year on July 1. The House proposal effectively cuts the cost in half by delaying implementation.

The Senate is proposing flexibility for localities in implementing the additional 2% by allowing school divisions to receive state funds for whatever additional increase is provided by the school division. In other words, after funding the first 3%, localities may choose to fund any additional amount up to the full 5% and receive the associated state matching funds.

At-Risk Add-On - Support the Senate!

Increases to this program were not funded at all by the House and the Senate only funded a portion of what was proposed at $21 million instead of the proposed $35 million.

As you talk about budget priorities in the coming weeks, this is the most important issue needing your voice. The At-Risk Add-On is an equity-based funding program designed to send dollars to schools that need it the most and is the best vehicle we have to mitigate the inequity in the LCI and SOQ funding formulas.

We need to ask the House to accept the Senate’s proposal for this program and ask the Senate to stand firm in sustaining this funding. Your voice on this important issue matters and we hope you will help us advocate for it.

 

Lottery Funded Per-Pupil Allocation - Support the House!

The House increased the Lottery Per-Pupil Allocation by $62 million. This is another flexible funding stream that helps us direct dollars where we need them. The Senate provided no new funding for this program.

School Counselors and School Safety - Support the House!

An area of closer but not complete agreement was on the school counselor ratio adjustment and the other school safety measures. The House proposals are more complete with the House fully funding the first of three years of the school counselor ratio adjustment at $35 million dollars while the Senate only makes a minor improvement with 10 million dollars - less than one-tenth the cost of bringing the school counselor ratios down to the nationally recommended 1 counselor per 250 students.

The House included $6.6 million in a comprehensive school safety funding package that includes more funds for more school resources officers. The Senate only included $3.3 million on new training and technologies.

School Modernization - Support the Senate!

The Senate retained most of the $80 million that the Governor proposed for the Literary Fund to support school construction. Recommending $70 million, they directed funding to several programs including a program to subsidize interest rates for school construction loans. The House stripped away the entire $80 million.

Virginia Preschool Initiative - Support the House!

RPS supported several amendments regarding the state’s publicly-assisted preschool program, the Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI). Unfortunately, our proposals for flexibility in retaining our unused VPI slots by allowing the enrollment of 3-year-olds or by allowing fee-based access for higher-income families did not make it into either budget proposal. The House did include a modest increase in the VPI per-pupil allocation at a cost of $275,000 while the Senate did not include any increase.

Richmond Programs

Although the General Assembly did not make meaningful statewide investments in public education, the Senate has included two programs in their budget proposal that would specifically benefit Richmond teachers and students.

An additional $500,000 has been proposed for the Master Teacher Residency Program and $125,000 has been proposed for a Richmond High School Apprenticeship Program that would award grants to businesses that take on Richmond high school students as apprentices. These programs are only included in the Senate proposal and will require the House’s cooperation for them to be included in the final budget.

Status of Other Legislation

While funding remains our top priority, RPS is tracking and weighing in on many of the pieces of legislation that would affect our public schools. RPS has not taken a position on every bill below, but is following them closely for the impact they would have on our students and teachers, and for any financial impact, they would have on the RPS budget.

RPS adopted positions are notated below in bold.

Status updates are italicized.

As the status of bills changes rapidly during a session, we encourage you to visit the Legislative Information System (http://lis.virginia.gov) to look up bill status and further details including full bill text, fiscal impact statements, and vote records. Just type in the bill number!

In this week’s update, we have removed all legislation that has failed and only active legislation is listed below.

 

School Safety

The safety of our students and staff has been a critical issue being considered over the last year. The House of Delegates created a special Select Committee on School Safety and the Governor asked the Virginia Children’s Cabinet to convene a Work Group on School Safety. Both groups made proposed recommendations that the General Assembly has been advancing.

HB1725 – Building and Fire Code Compliance

Requires each school board, in consultation with the local building official and local fire marshal, to develop a procurement plan to ensure that all security enhancements to public school buildings comply with the Uniform Statewide Building Code and Statewide Fire Prevention Code. School security upgrades can be costly, so it’s absolutely critical schools are consulting with building and fire officials to ensure these new upgrades are compliant with Code.

    • This bill passed the House on a 97-0 vote and was favorably reported by the Senate Education and Health Committee 15-0. It will now be voted upon by the full Senate.

HB1729 – School Counselor ResponsibilitiesRequires each school counselor employed by a school board in a public elementary or secondary school to spend at least 80 percent of their staff time during normal school hours in the direct counseling of individual students or groups of students. Currently, school counselors are overburdened with administrative tasks that limit the amount of time they can spend providing direct student services.

    • This bill passed the House on a 97-0 vote and was favorably reported by the Senate Education and Health Committee 15-0. It will now be voted upon by the full Senate.

HB1732 – Annual Emergency Preparedness DrillsRequires each public elementary and secondary school to conduct at least one general safety/emergency training or drill for students per year. Schools already conduct fire, tornado, and earthquake drills.

    • This bill passed the House on a 97-0 vote and was favorably reported by the Senate 15-0. It will now be voted upon by the full Senate.

HB1733 / SB1214 – MOUs with Local Law Enforcement Requires the school board in each school division in which the local law-enforcement agency employs school resource officers to enter into a memorandum of understanding with such local law-enforcement agency that sets forth the powers and duties of the school resource officers. School Resource Officers are responsible for upholding the law, not school board policy; therefore, it is imperative localities clearly articulate and agree upon the role and responsibilities of School Resource Officers.

    • HB1733 passed the House on a 97-0 vote and was favorably reported by the Senate Education and Health Committee 15-0. It will now be voted upon by the full Senate.
    • SB1214 passed the Senate 40-0 and will now be considered by the House Education Committee.

HB1738 – Crime Prevention Review of School Construction Plans Requires a licensed architect who is trained and experienced in crime prevention through environmental design to approve plans and specifications for new or remodeled public school building construction. These architects look at corridors, open spaces, and floor plans through the lens of school safety to ensure learning environments are as safe as possible.

    • This bill passed the House on a 97-0 vote and has been favorably reported by the Senate Education and Health Committee 15-0. It will now be voted upon by the full Senate.

HB1737 – Development of Emergency Management Plans Requires school boards to include the chief law-enforcement officer, the fire chief, the chief of the emergency medical services agency, and the emergency management official of the locality, or their designees, in the development and review of school crisis, emergency management, and medical emergency response plans.

    • This bill passed the House 99-0 and has been favorably reported by the Senate Education and Health Committee 15-0. It will now be voted upon by the full Senate.

HB1734 / SB1213 – Threat Assessment Case Management Tool Requires the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety to develop a case management tool for use by public elementary and secondary school threat assessment teams and requires such threat assessment teams to use such tool to collect and report to the Center quantitative data on its activities. The Center is already collecting troves of valuable data; we need to systematically analyze that data and draw insights that can be used to improve school safety across the Commonwealth.

    • HB1734 passed the House 99-0 and will now be considered by the Senate Education and Health Committee.
    • SB1213 was approved by the Senate 38-0 and has been reported unanimously by the House General Laws and Appropriations Committees. It will now be voted upon by the full House.

HB1735 – Commission on Student Behavioral Health The Commission would be tasked with the ongoing study of student behavioral health matters. In addition to establishing a suicide and violence prevention tip line, similar to SafeUT, the Commission would analyze:

    • Current school counselor-to-student ratio and whether the proposed realignment of counseling responsibilities is improving the delivery of direct student services;
    • Feasibility and affordability of enhanced wrap-around mental health services in schools through partnerships with DBHDS, DMAS, and Community Services Boards;
    • Effectiveness of de-escalation and alternative disciplinary policies when interacting with students suffering from mental health challenges; and
    • Value of additional teacher training requirements for student mental health.
    • This bill passed the House 99-0 and will now be considered by the Senate Rules Committee.

HB1739 / HB2720 – School Security Equipment Grants Specifies that, for the purpose of eligibility for grants for security equipment through the Public School Security Equipment Grant Act of 2013, security equipment includes software and mobile applications. This would expand the scope of the grant to allow for more modern school safety technology that is currently available in the market. RPS supports this legislation.

    • HB1739 failed in the House Education Committee without a vote.
    • HB2720 passed the House 99-0 and was reported favorably by the Senate Education and Health Committee 15-0. It will now be voted upon by the full Senate.

HB2053 / SB1406 – School Counselor Ratios Changes the name of guidance counselors to school counselors and starts to modify student to counselor rations so that by the 2021-2022 school year, ratios would be 250:1. RPS supports this legislation.

    • HB2053 passed the House 99-0 and is now being considered by the Senate Education and Health Committee.
    • SB1406 passed the Senate 39-1 and will now be considered by the House Appropriations Committee.

HB2721 – School Security Officers Previously Employed by US Law Enforcement Agencies Allowed to Carry a Firearm Allows a school security officer to carry a firearm in the performance of his duties if, within 10 years immediately prior to being hired by the local school board, he was employed by a law enforcement agency of the United States or any state or political subdivision thereof and his duties were substantially similar to those of a law enforcement officer in the Commonwealth. Under current law, only a school security officer who was an active law-enforcement officer in the Commonwealth within 10 years immediately prior to being hired by the local school board may qualify to carry a firearm in the performance of his duties.

    • HB2721 passed the House 65-32 and will now be considered by the Senate Education and Health Committee.

HB2142 / SB1207 – Creates School Protection Officers Defines a school protection officer as a retired law-enforcement officer hired on a part-time basis by the local law enforcement agency to provide limited law-enforcement and security services to Virginia public elementary and secondary schools. The bill also provides that the Department of Criminal Justice Services shall establish compulsory minimum training standards for all persons employed as school protection officers and that such training may be provided by the employing law-enforcement agency and shall be graduated and based on the type of duties to be performed.

    • HB2142 passed the House 53-45 and was favorably reported and is now being considered by the Senate Courts of Justice Committee.
    • SB1207 passed the Senate 27-13 and will now be considered by the House Militia, Police, and Public Safety Committee.

HB2609 / SB1130 – School Resource Officer Training These bills take varying approaches to requiring additional levels of certification and training for school resource officers.

    • HB2609 passed the House 76-22 and will now be considered by the Senate Education and Health Committee.
    • SB1130 passed the Senate 39-0 and will now be considered by the House Appropriations Committee.

SB1215 – Annual Safety Training for All Students and Staff Requires each public elementary and secondary school principal to develop and deliver to each student and employee in the school at least once annually training on safety procedures in the event of an emergency situation on school property.

    • This bill passed the Senate 40-0 and was favorably reported by the House Education Committee 22-0. It will now be voted upon by the full House.

SB1591 – Information Sharing about Students Directs the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety (the Center) to convene a workgroup to develop guidelines and best practices for the sharing of information between a local school board or public institution of higher education and law enforcement regarding a student whose behavior may pose a threat to the safety of a school or institution or the community.

    • This bill passed the full Senate 40-0 and will now be considered by the House Education Committee.

SB1713 – School Bus Driver Additional Safety Training 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.

    • This bill passed the Senate 40-0 and will now be considered by the House Education Committee.

HB1997 – Court Notice to Principals about Student Protective OrdersRequires any court or magistrate that issues a protective order for the protection of any child who is enrolled at a public school to notify the relevant school principal that such protective order has been issued and each such school principal to subsequently notify certain school personnel.

    • The bill passed the House 99-0 and is now being considered by the Senate Education and Health Committee.

 

Student Discipline and Conduct

HB1685 / HB1688 / SB1107 – Disorderly Conduct by Students

Provides that no enrolled public school student who disrupts the operation of the school at which he is enrolled or any activity conducted or sponsored by the school at which he is enrolled on school grounds during normal school hours is guilty of disorderly conduct. RPS supports this legislation.

    • HB1685 and HB1688 have already been killed by the House Courts of Justice Committee.
    • SB1107 passed the Senate 38-2 and will now be considered by the same House Courts of Justice subcommittee that killed HB1685 and HB1688.

HB1787 – Reporting Student Offenses to School Divisions

Adds threats of death or bodily injury to another person communicated in writing to such person or member of such person's family and threats to commit serious bodily harm to persons on school property to the listing of offenses that a juvenile intake officer is required to report to the school division superintendent.

    • This bill passed the House 99-0 and was reported favorably by the Senate Courts of Justice Committee 14-0. It will now be voted upon by the full Senate.

 

SB1545 – Alternative Student Discipline ProcessAllows a school board to adopt an alternative accountability process to provide a principal and parties involved in an incident involving assault or assault and battery without bodily injury that occurs on a school bus, on school property, or at a school-sponsored event an option to enter into a mutually agreed upon mediation process between the involved parties as an alternative to reporting such incident to law enforcement. The bill requires a principal in a school division with such a process to attempt to engage the parties involved in such an incident in the alternative accountability process prior to reporting such incident to the local law enforcement agency. The bill prohibits a principal from reporting such an incident when the parties successfully complete the alternative accountability process.

    • This bill was passed by the Senate 40-0 and will now be considered by the House Courts of Justice Committee.

Graduation Requirements and Non-Traditional Learning Opportunities

HB2216 / SB1532 – City of Richmond STEM Internship Tax Credit Creates a tax credit for a business that hosts a junior or senior in a Richmond City Schools high school as an intern in a STEM or high-demand field for a semester during the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 academic year. The business would receive a $2,500 credit per student per semester. Participation in the program is limited to 25 students. RPS supports this legislation.

    • HB2216 was defeated 4-4 in the House Finance Committee.
    • SB1532 was amended into a grant program (instead of a tax credit) and passed the Senate 40-0. It will now be considered by the House Appropriations Committee.

HB2008 / SB1348 – Creation of Energy Career Cluster Requires the Department of Education, in consultation with representatives from pertinent industries such as renewable energy, natural gas, nuclear energy, coal, and oil, to establish an energy career cluster. The bill requires the Department of Education to base the knowledge and skillsets contained in such an energy career cluster on the energy industry competency and credential models developed by the Center for Energy Workforce Development in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor.

    • HB2008 passed the House 99-0 and is now being considered by the Senate Education and Health Committee.
    • SB1348 passed the Senate 40-0 and will now be voted upon by the House Education Committee.

HB2338 / SB1218 – SOL Assessments and Requirements in US and Virginia History

It would require students to earn a verified credit in US and Virginia history and that the assessment may not be performance-based.

 

HB2018 / SB1434 – Alternative Learning Opportunities to Count Towards Instructional Hours Requires the Board of Education, in establishing high school graduation requirements, to permit time spent by students in locally approved courses aligned with the Standards of Learning, in service-learning opportunities, and in career and technical workplace opportunities, including internships, externships, apprenticeships, credentialing programs, certification programs, licensure programs, and other work-based learning experiences, to be included in the 140 clock hours of instruction required for the relevant course.

    • HB2018 passed the House 99-0 and was favorably reported by the Senate Education and Health Committee 15-0. It will now be voted upon by the full Senate.
    • SB1434 passed the Senate 40-0 and will now be considered by the House Education Committee.

HB2123 – College and Career Access Pathways Partnerships Permits each local school board to enter into College and Career Access Pathways Partnerships (Partnerships), currently referred to as agreements, with comprehensive community colleges or other public institutions of higher education or educational institutions that offer a career and technical education curriculum. The bill requires any such Partnership to (i) specify the options for students to take courses as part of the career and technical education curriculum that lead to course credit or an industry-recognized credential, certification, or license concurrent with a high school diploma, (ii) specify the credit, credentials, certifications, or licenses available for such courses, and (iii) permit students to participate in pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs at comprehensive community colleges concurrent with a high school diploma and receive college credit and high school credit for successful completion of any such program. Current law allows local school boards to enter into agreements with such institutions but does not specify course credit as being part of the agreements.

    • This bill passed the House 98-0 and is now being considered by the Senate Education and Health Committee.

HB2662 – Work Experience and Capstone Projects Directs the Board of Education, in establishing high school graduation requirements, to require students to complete (i) a work experience such as an internship, an externship, or another work-based or service-based learning experience during eleventh or twelfth grade and (ii) a capstone project that aligns with and further develops the knowledge and skills attained through such work experience.

    • This bill passed the House 95-0 and will now be considered by the Senate Education and Health Committee.

SB1440 – Mental Health Instruction

Directs the Board of Education to review and update the health Standards of Learning for students in all grades to include mental health. Legislation passed in 2018 required such review and update for students in grades nine and 10. 

SB1440 was passed by the Senate 40-0 and was favorably reported by the House Education Committee. It will now be considered by the House Appropriations Committee.SB1590 – Virtual VirginiaRequires that the Virtual Virginia program, the statewide electronic classroom established by the Department of Education, be made available to all public schools. Currently, the program is available only to high schools. The bill requires the Department to utilize a learning management system for the purposes of implementing Virtual Virginia. The bill also authorizes the Department to charge a per-student fee to school divisions for each student enrolled in a full-time Virtual Virginia program beyond an initial allotment of 15 such students per school division and prohibits the Department from limiting the total number of such students by school division.

    • This bill passed the Senate 39-1 and will now be considered by the House Education Committee.

SB1502 – Elective Offering of Hebrew Scriptures/Old Testament/New TestamentRequires the Board of Education to permit 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.

    • This bill passed the Senate 22-18 and will now be considered by the House Education Committee.

SB1746 – National Math and Science Initiative

Directs the Department of Education to encourage school boards of school divisions that have a significant number of enrolled military-connected students to partner with the National Math and Science Initiative to provide such students with the tools and resources necessary to advance science, technology, engineering, and mathematics learning opportunities and career readiness. The bill requires the Department to provide technical assistance to any school board seeking to enter into such a partnership, upon request.

    • This bill passed the Senate 40-0 and will now be considered by the House Education Committee.

 

Student HealthHB1881 – Instruction on the Hazards of Nicotine Vapor ProductsRequires instruction concerning the health and safety risks of using nicotine vapor products to be provided in public schools.

    • This bill passed the House 99-0 and is now under consideration by the Senate Education and Health Committee.

HB2384 / SB1295 – Policies on Prohibition of Tobacco and Nicotine Products

Requires each school board to (i) develop and implement a policy to prohibit the use and distribution of tobacco products and nicotine vapor products on a school bus, on school property, or at an on-site or off-site school-sponsored activity and (ii) include in its code of student conduct a prohibition against possessing tobacco products or nicotine vapor products on a school bus, on school property, or at an on-site or off-site school-sponsored activity. Current law only places these requirements on each school board with regard to electronic cigarettes.

    • HB2384 passed the House 83-15 and will now be considered by the Senate Education and Health Committee.
    • SB1295 passed the Senate 37-1 and was favorably considered by the House Education Committee 20-2. It will now be voted upon by the full House.

HB1720 / SB1632 – Use of Cannabidiol Oil by Students

Permits any student who possesses a valid and unexpired written certification to use cannabidiol oil or THC-A oil that is issued by a licensed practitioner of medicine or osteopathy to possess and use cannabidiol oil or THC-A oil on school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored activity. The bill prohibits a school board from suspending or expelling from school attendance any such student who possesses or uses cannabidiol oil or THC-A oil on school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored activity.

    • HB1720 passed the House 99-0 and was reported by the Senate 15-0. It will now voted upon by the full Senate.
    • SB1632 passed the Senate 40-0 and will now be considered by the House Courts of Justice Committee.

HB1930 – Annual Updating of Concussion Policies Requires the Board of Education and consequently local school divisions to biannually update policies regarding concussions in student-athletes.

    • This bill passed the House 97-0 and was reported favorably by the Senate Education and Health Committee 15-0. It will now be voted upon by the full Senate.

HB2318 – School Nurses Ability to Administer Naloxone Adds school nurses and local health department employees that are assigned to a public school pursuant to an agreement between the local health department and school board to the list of individuals who may possess and administer naloxone or other opioid antagonist, provided that they have completed a training program.

    • This bill passed the House 95-0 and was reported favorably by the Senate Education and Health Committee 14-0. It will now be voted upon by the full Senate.

HB2623 – Parental Consent for Student Counseling

Requires the Board of Education to create model policies for the provision of student counseling services, including parental consent, notification, and participation.

    • This bill passed the House 83-14 and will now be considered by the Senate Education and Health Committee.

HB2508 / SB1258 – Behavior Analysts in Schools

Includes licensed behavior analysts and licensed assistant behavior analysts as support services positions in a local school division. RPS supports this legislation.

    • HB2508 failed in the House Appropriations Committee.
    • SB1258 was passed by the Senate 38-0 and was favorably reported by the House Education Committee 22-0. It will now be considered by the House Appropriations Committee.

SB1142 – State School Health Advisory Committee

Requires the Board of Education to establish the State School Health Advisory Committee, consisting of no more than 20 nonlegislative citizen members, to advise the Board, the Governor, and the General Assembly on (i) the role of employees in public elementary or secondary schools in providing health care services at such schools and (ii) the need for any training associated with delivery of health care services.

    • This bill passed the Senate 40-0 and will now be considered by the House Rules Committee.

SB1195 – Children’s Cabinet to Study School-Based Health Centers

Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Resources and the Secretary of Education to establish a school-based health centers joint task force that is tasked with (i) assessing the current landscape of school-based services and mental health screening, evaluation, and treatment in school settings; (ii) in coordination with ongoing behavioral health transformation efforts of the Department of Medical Assistance Services and the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, developing best practice recommendations for trauma-informed school-based health centers as a vehicle for the provision of both medical and behavioral health delivered in school settings; and (iii) developing a plan for establishing a Virginia affiliate member organization, recognized by the national School-Based Health Alliance, for the purposes of providing technical assistance and guidance for localities interested in bolstering or implementing current and future school-based health centers.

    • This bill was passed by the Senate 40-0 and has been favorably recommended by a House Health, Welfare, and Institutions Subcommittee. It will now be voted upon by the full Committee.

 

Teachers

HB2037 / SB1397 – Diversifying Teacher Workforce ActEliminates the requirement, established by the Virginia Board of Education, that all individuals seeking entry into a traditional teacher preparation program must pass the professional assessments. These assessments show significant pass rate gaps between white teacher candidates and minority teacher candidates. Candidate screening tests also inadvertently perpetuate historic inequities. It would allow colleges and universities in Virginia to establish their own entry requirements into their programs. The bill also grants authority to the Virginia Board of Education to develop an alternative evaluation that would allow a teacher candidate to demonstrate proficiency in the relevant content area, communication, literacy, and other core skills for educators before being granted an initial teaching license. This bill does not eliminate the professional assessment as one of the means of evaluating a teacher candidate’s readiness to become a licensed teacher, it simply allows the development of an alternative method of evaluation as prescribed by the Board. And finally, it allows for a local Superintendent to request a waiver from the Virginia Board of Education of the professional assessment requirement of a provisionally licensed teacher who has met all of the other requirements for full licensure and has also received a rating of proficient or above on the performance standards each year of their provisional license. RPS supports this legislation.

    • HB2037 passed the House 99-0 and is now being considered by the Senate Education and Health Committee.
    • SB1397 passed the Senate 40-0 and was reported favorably by the House Education Committee 22-0. It will now be voted upon by the full House.

HB2589 – Licensure for Dual Enrollment TeachersRequires the Board of Education (the Board) to provide for the issuance of three-year licenses to teach, either full time or part time, dual enrollment courses at high schools in specific subject areas to an individual who (i) submits an application to the Board, in the form prescribed by the Board, that includes a recommendation for such a license from the local school board; (ii) meets certain basic conditions for licensure as prescribed by the Board; (iii) holds (a) at a minimum, a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education and has completed coursework in the subject area in which the individual seeks to teach or (b) the required professional license in the specific subject area in which the individual seeks to teach, where applicable; (iv) has at least four years of full-time work experience or its equivalent in the subject area in which the individual seeks to teach; and (v) if appropriate, has obtained qualifying scores on the communication and literacy professional teacher's assessment prescribed by the Board. The bill requires the employing school board to assign a mentor to supervise an individual issued such a license during his first two years of teaching.

    • This bill passed the House 97-0 and will now be considered by the Senate Education and Health Committee.

SB1575 – Licensure of Higher Education InstructorsThe bill requires the Advisory Board on Teacher Education and Licensure to report to the Board of Education and the Chairmen of the House Committee on Education and the Senate Committee on Education and Health no later than December 1, 2019, recommendations relating to licensure qualifications for individuals (i) employed by an institution of higher education to teach career and technical education courses in a high school setting and (ii) to teach dual enrollment courses in a high school setting. The bill also requires the Board of Education to provide for the issuance of a three-year license to solely teach career and technical education courses or dual enrollment courses at public high schools in the Commonwealth to any individual who is employed as an instructor by an institution of higher education that is accredited by a nationally recognized regional accreditation body, is teaching in the specific career and technical education or dual enrollment subject area at such institution in which the individual seeks to teach at a public school, and complies with certain additional requirements.

    • This bill passed the Senate 40-0 and will now be considered by the House Education Committee.

HB2217 / SB1419 – Microcredential ProgramPermits the Department of Education to establish a microcredential program for the purpose of permitting any public elementary or secondary school teacher who holds a renewable or provisional license or any individual who participates in any alternate route to licensure program to complete additional in-person or blended coursework and earn microcredentials in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) endorsement areas, including computer science, for which there is a high need for additional qualified teachers.

    • HB2217 was approved by the House 99-0 and has been reported favorably by the Senate Education and Health Committee. It will now be voted upon by the full Senate.
    • SB1419 passed the Senate 40-0 and will now be considered by the House Education Committee.

HB2325 – Private Reprimand of EmployeesRequires the Board of Education to include, in its regulations that prescribe the requirements for the licensure of teachers and other school personnel required to hold a license, procedures for the written reprimand of such license holders. The bill permits the Board of Education to issue written reprimand to any such license holder who knowingly and willfully commits a certain enumerated act relating to secure mandatory tests administered to students. The only express disciplinary actions that are permissible under current law in such a scenario are suspension or revocation of such individual's license. The bill also permits a school board or division superintendent to issue written reprimand to a teacher who breaches his employment contract after the school board or division superintendent declines to grant such teacher's request for release from such contract on the grounds of insufficient or unjustifiable cause. The only express disciplinary action that is permissible under current law in such a scenario is revocation of such teacher's license.

    • This bill passed the House 95-0 and is now being considered by the Senate Education and Health Committee.

 

School OperationsHB2222 – Advertising on School BusesPermits local school boards to display commercial advertising material on the sides of school buses between the rear wheels and the rear of the bus, provided that no such material (i) obstructs the name of the school division or the number of the school bus, (ii) is sexually explicit, or (iii) pertains to alcohol; food or beverages that do not meet school nutrition standards or any additional state or local nutrition standards for food or beverages sold to students in school; gambling; politics; or tobacco. RPS supports this legislation.

    • This bill passed the House 69-29 and will now be considered by the Senate Education and Health Committee.

SB1629 – Reporting Lead Testing and Remediation Plans to VDHRequires each local school board to submit its plan to test and remediate certain potable water sources and report the results of any such test to the Department of Health.

    • This bill passed the Senate 39-1 and will now be considered by the House Education Committee.

School Calendar

HB1752 / SB1223 – Election Days as School HolidaysProhibits local school boards from requiring students to attend school on the second Tuesday in June or the Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

    • HB1752 passed the House 97-1 and will now be considered by the Senate Education and Health Committee.
    • SB1223 was defeated by the Senate Education and Health Committee 12-2-1.

HB1615 – Primary Elections to be Held After School Year

Changes the date of the primary election held in June from the second Tuesday in June to the third Tuesday in June. The bill also changes candidate filing deadlines to reflect the change of date. Currently, many schools are still in session on the June primary day, which brings thousands of people onto school property. Pushing this back a week would ensure schools are not in session.

    • This bill passed the House 91-8 and will now be considered by the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee.

HB1652 / SB1005 – Pre-Labor Day Opening

Makes local school boards and local governing boards responsible for setting the school calendar. Currently, unless a division has a waiver based on certain conditions, schools may not open before Labor Day. RPS supports this legislation.

    • HB1652 bill passed the House 81-15 and has been reported by the Senate Education and Health Committee 13-2. It will now be voted upon by the full Senate.

 

School ConstructionHB2192 / SB1331 – Standards for School Construction and OperationsEstablishes standards for the design, construction, maintenance, and operation of public school buildings and facilities and allows for a local school division to enter into a lease agreement with a private entity to meet such standards. The bill would allow for net energy metering in public school buildings and facilities. The bill would also authorize the Virginia Resources Authority to provide partial funding for school modernization projects, effective January 1, 2020. RPS supports this legislation.

    • HB2192 passed the House 99-0 and is now being considered by the Senate Education and Health Committee.
    • SB1331 passed the Senate 39-1 and will now be considered by the House General Laws Committee.

SB1574 – Revenue from Gaming for School ConstructionCreates a revenue sharing program, if gaming is authorized in the Commonwealth, that would require the owner or operator of any gaming establishment to share a percentage of its adjusted gross receipts with the Commonwealth, ranging from 13 to 15 percent based on its annual adjusted gross receipts. The revenues would be distributed as follows: 30 percent to transportation initiatives, with one-third allocated to projects in the Interstate 81 corridor, one-third allocated to the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority Fund, and one-third allocated to the Hampton Roads Transportation Fund; 30 percent to school construction and modernization; 10 percent to support increases in teacher pay; 10 percent to support initiatives related to higher education affordability; 10 to the locality in which the revenues were collected; nine percent to support the marketing and promotion of tourism destinations, and one percent to used to prevent and treat gambling addictions.

    • This bill passed the House 40-0 and will now be considered by the House Appropriations Committee.

SB1702 – Public School Assistance Fund for Capital Projects Related to School RoofsCreates the Public School Assistance Fund and Program, to be administered by the Department of Education, for the purpose of providing grants to school boards to be used solely for the purpose of repairing or replacing the roofs of public school buildings. The bill requires the Department of Education to prioritize award of grants to school boards that demonstrate the greatest need based on the condition of existing school building roofs and the ability to pay for the repair or replacement of such roofs. RPS supports this legislation.

    • This bill passed the Senate 40-0 and will now be considered by the House Education Committee.

HB2168 – Commission on School Innovation, Modernization, and CompetitivenessEstablishes the legislative Commission on School Innovation, Modernization, and Competitiveness to develop and oversee the implementation of a goal and strategic plan for (i) promoting and increasing public high school student participation in dual enrollment courses, industry certifications, and state licensure examinations, (ii) modernizing public elementary and secondary school buildings throughout the Commonwealth, and (iii) achieving the Commonwealth's teacher compensation goal. RPS supports this legislation.

    • This bill was passed by the House 67-30 and is now being considered by the Senate Rules Committee.

 

Family Life Education and Parental NoticesHB2107 - Parental Review of Anti-Bullying and Suicide Prevention MaterialsRequires local school boards to develop and implement policies that ensure parents the right to review any audio-visual materials that contain graphic sexual or violent content used in any anti-bullying or suicide prevention program. Such policies shall require that prior to using any such material, the parent of the child participating in such a program shall be provided written notice of his right to review the material and his right to excuse his child from participating in the part of such program utilizing such material.

    • This bill has passed the House 86-13 and will now be considered by the Senate Education and Health Committee.

HB2205 – Family Life Education Curriculum to Include Meaning of Consent

Requires any high school family life education curriculum offered by a local school division to incorporate age-appropriate elements of effective and evidence-based programs on the law and meaning of consent.

    • This bill passed the House 88-10 and is now being considered by the Senate Education and Health Committee.

SB1141 – Family Life Education Curriculum to Include Prevention of Human Trafficking

Requires the Board of Education, in its curriculum guidelines for family life education, to include instruction on the prevention of human trafficking. Additionally, the bill requires any high school family life education program offered in a local school division to incorporate age-appropriate elements of effective and evidence-based programs on the prevention of human trafficking.

    • This bill passed the Senate 40-0 and will now be considered by the House Education Committee.

SB1159 – Family Life Education Curriculum to Include Female Genital MutilationRequires any family life education curriculum offered in any elementary school, middle school, or high school to incorporate age-appropriate elements of effective and evidence-based programs on the harmful physical and emotional effects of female genital mutilation, associated criminal penalties, and the rights of the victim including any civil action.

    • This bill passed the Senate 40-0 and will now be considered by the House Education Committee.

SB1595 – Inclusion of Sexual Health, Self-Restraint, and Privacy Instruction in IEPsRequires the Department of Education to establish guidelines for individualized education program (IEP) teams to utilize when developing IEPs for children with disabilities to ensure that IEP teams consider the need for age-appropriate and developmentally-appropriate instruction related to sexual health, self-restraint, self-protection, respect for personal privacy, and personal boundaries of others. The bill requires each local school board, in developing IEPs for children with disabilities, in addition to any other requirements established by the Board, to ensure that IEP teams consider such guidelines.

    • This bill passed the Senate 40-0 and will now be considered by the House Education Committee.

 

Other

HB2458 / SB1095 – Early Childhood Success Act

Requires the VDOE and VDSS to (i) convene a stakeholder group to consider the development of a statewide unified public-private system for early childhood care and education in the Commonwealth and (ii) collaborate to develop a uniform quality rating and improvement system.

    • HB2458 failed in the House Appropriations Committee without a vote.
    • SB1095 was amended into a study and passed the Senate 37-2-1 and will be considered by the House Education Committee.