Community Legislative Update – February 15, 2019
One More Week!
The General Assembly has now reached the penultimate week before Sine Die - the latin term used by the legislature to indicate the last scheduled day of the regular session. Barring any last minute major disagreements between the House and Senate on the state budget, they are expected to adjourn on time on February 23 and will not return again until April 3 for a reconvened ‘veto’ session to consider any vetos or amendments proposed by the Governor to the legislation they passed.
The State Budget
As the House and Senate have been negotiating their differences in their budget proposals over the last two weeks, we have continued to keep the attention on the education funding proposals that would maximize support for RPS like the At-Risk Add-On program. Read our last Community Legislative Update from February 8 and this analysis by The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis for more details on the differences in the budget proposals.
The Governor proposed a $35 million statewide increase to the At-Risk Add-On program, but it was fully cut by the House and cut by about $14 million by the Senate. The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis found that school divisions with the highest concentrations of students of color would lose millions of dollars in funding compared to others. But as dialogue about equity has ensued in recent weeks, these cuts to the Governor’s proposals have gained significant attention. Governor Northam has since communicated his priorities to budget negotiators and in addition to many other localities and advocacy organizations, has expressed his support for fully funding his proposal to boost this funding stream.
On Valentine’s Day, a united team of representatives from the City and Richmond Public Schools visited the budget negotiators to hand out roses with the poem, “Roses are red, violets are blue. Our schools need more funding, but it can’t happen without you!” Led by Mayor Stoney and Superintendent Kamras, they asked the negotiators to also prioritize the At-Risk Add-On program and other key proposals including funding the full 5% teacher salary increase and support to reduce the ratio of school counselors to students. Following these visits, they joined members of the Richmond legislative delegation for a press conference to highlight the need to prioritize public K-12 education.
(Picture above featuring Speaker of the House Kirk Cox, Mayor Stoney, and Supt. Kamras. Picture to the right featuring Delegate Bourne, Supt. Kamras, Mayor Stoney, Senator Dance, Council Member Hilbert, School Board Member Burke, and Delegate Carr.)
Share the Message the RPS Way!
It’s not too late to help advocate for funding for RPS in the state budget! The House and Senate are going to be negotiating the differences in their budget over the weekend and your voice can help encourage budget conferees to make equitable funding a priority!
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. Send each of these legislators an email today:
Senator Thomas K. Norment, Jr. firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Emmett W. Hanger, Jr. email@example.com
Senator Richard L. Saslaw firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Stephen D. Newman email@example.com
Senator Frank M. Ruff, Jr. firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Frank W. Wagner email@example.com
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 Governor’s approach to funding an increase in the At-Risk Add-On program. A sample communication can be:
Subject: Fund the At-Risk Add-On!
Dear Delegate/Senator [Insert Name],
Making investments in public education has never been more important; our schools need more! Please fund the Governor’s proposed increase to the At-Risk Add-On program to provide more equitable funding for the schools in our Commonwealth that need the most support. It costs 25-40% 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 this proposal. The real work of justice is in equity and it can only happen with your help!
Feel free to customize your message and discuss other budget proposals that are important to you like teacher salaries and school counselors! Ask them to fund these two other important proposals:
- A full 5% pay increase for teacher and school staff that starts July 1, 2019 as included in the Senate proposal.
- $36 million for school counselors as included in the House budget.
We need more funding in many areas and your advocacy on these issues can help make the difference! You can download an editable version of the sample letter and other advocacy resources on the RPS website. Click here to visit our Advocacy Center.
Status of Other Legislation
Of the 2000+ pieces of legislation that were introduced this year, most has now been killed or passed although some legislation does remain under final negotiation.
After legislation is passed by the General Assembly, the Governor has three options for each bill. He can:
- Approve the bill and the new law will go into effect on July 1 (unless otherwise specified);
- Veto the bill, which the General Assembly can override with a 2/3 majority vote from each chamber; or
- Propose amendments to the bill, which the General Assembly must approve with a simple (50%) majority in each chamber.
The General Assembly will have the chance to review the Governor’s actions when they reconvene for a one-day ‘veto’ session on April 3, 2019.
To find out more details about any piece of legislation, we encourage you to visit the Legislative Information System (http://lis.virginia.gov). You can look up the status, full bill text, fiscal impact statements, and vote records. Just type in the bill number!
RPS adopted positions are notated below in bold.
Status updates are italicized and underlined.
We have removed all legislation that has failed and only active legislation is listed below.
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 are in compliance 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 97-0 and the Senate 40-0.
- HB1729 – School Counselor Responsibilities
Requires 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 97-0 and the Senate 40-0.
- HB1732 – Annual Emergency Preparedness Drills
Requires each public 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 97-0 and the Senate 40-0.
- 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 97-0 and Senate 40-0.
- SB1214 passed the Senate 40-0 and the House 98-0.
- 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 lense of school safety to ensure learning environments are as safe as possible.
- This bill passed the House 97-0 and the Senate 40-0.
- 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 the Senate 40-0.
- 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 was reported by the Senate Education and Health Committee 14-0. It will now be voted upon by the full Senate.
- SB1213 passed the Senate 38-0 and the House 99-0.
- HB2720 – School Security Equipment Grants
Expands the eligibility for grants for security equipment through the Public School Security Equipment Grant Act, to include security equipment including building modifications and fixtures, such as security vestibules. RPS supports this legislation.
- HB2720 passed the House 99-0 and the Senate 40-0.
- 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 on student mental health.
- This bill passed the House 99-0 and will now be considered by the Senate Rules Committee.
- HB2053 / SB1406 – School Counselor Ratios
Changes the name of guidance counselors to school counselors and requires school boards to employ school counselors in accordance with the following ratios: in elementary schools, one hour per day per 75 students, one full-time at 375 students, one hour per day additional time per 75 students or major fraction thereof; in middle schools, one period per 65 students, one full-time at 325 students, one additional period per 65 students or major fraction thereof; and in high schools, one period per 60 students, one full-time at 300 students, one additional period per 60 students or major fraction thereof. Such ratios would be effective with the 2019-2020 school year.
- HB2053 passed the House 99-0 and is now being considered by the Senate Finance Committee.
- SB1406 passed the Senate 39-1 and passed the House 98-0.
- A conference committee will negotiate differences in the final bills.
- 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 was reported favorably by the Senate Education and Health Committee 14-1.
- SB1215 – Annual Safety Training for All Students and Staff
Requires each school board to develop and annually administer training on safety procedures in the event of an emergency situation on school property.
- This bill passed the Senate 40-0 and the House 99-0.
- 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 the Senate 26-13.
- SB1207 passed the Senate 27-13 and was favorably reported by the House Militia, Police, and Public Safety Committee 11-9. It will now voted upon by the full House.
- HB2609 / SB1130 – School Resource Officer Training
These two bills are in conflict with each other and although both are progressing, their differences will be negotiated in a conference committee.
HB2609 requires the Department of Criminal Justice Services to establish compulsory minimum training standards for certification and recertification of law-enforcement officers serving as school resource officers that are specific to the role and responsibility of a law-enforcement officer working with students in a school environment. The bill requires every full-time or part-time law-enforcement officer employed as a school resource officer after July 1, 2020, to comply with such compulsory minimum training standards within a period of time fixed by the Criminal Justice Services Board.
- HB2609 passed the House 76-22 and is now being considered by the Senate Finance Committee.
SB1130 Directs the Department of Criminal Justice Services (Department) to establish compulsory minimum training standards for law-enforcement officers serving as school resource officers that may include (i) relevant state and federal laws; (ii) school and personal liability issues; (iii) security awareness in the school environment; (iv) mediation and conflict resolution, including de-escalation techniques; (v) disaster and emergency response; (vi) awareness of cultural diversity and implicit bias; (vii) working with students with disabilities, behavioral health or substance abuse disorders, or trauma experiences; and (viii) student behavioral dynamics, including child and adolescent development. The bill also directs the Department, in consultation with the Department of Education and the Virginia State Crime Commission, to include such similar minimum training standards for school security officers. The bill requires each school board to ensure that every public school employs at least one school administrator who has attended school safety training conducted by the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety in school safety, anti-bullying tactics, and effective identification of students who may be at risk for violent behavior and are in need of special services or assistance.
- SB1130 passed the Senate 39-0 and is now being considered by the House Appropriations Committee.
- SB1591 – Information Sharing about Students
Directs the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety (the Center) to convene a work group 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 is now being considered by the House Appropriations 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 the House 88-6.
- HB1997 – Court Notice to Principals about Student Protective Orders
Requires 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 was favorably reported by the Senate Education and Health Committee 15-0. It will now be voted upon by the full Senate.
Student Discipline and Conduct
- SB1545 – Alternative Student Discipline Process
Allows 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 process between the involved parties as an alternative to reporting such incident to law enforcement. The bill provides that a principal in a school division with such an alternative accountability process may attempt to engage the parties involved in such an incident in the process prior to reporting such incident to the local law-enforcement agency and prohibits, if provided for by the school board, a principal from reporting a party who successfully completes the alternative accountability process.
- This bill was passed by the Senate 40-0 and is now being considered by the House Courts of Justice Committee.
- 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.
- 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 the Senate 40-0.
Graduation Requirements and Non-Traditional Learning Opportunities
- SB1532 – City of Richmond STEM Internship Tax Credit
Creates a pilot grant program 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 grant per student per semester. Participation in the program is limited to 25 students. The provisions of the bill are contingent on funding in a general appropriation act. RPS supports this legislation.
- SB1532 passed the Senate 40-0 and is now being 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 skill sets contained in such 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 was favorably reported by the Senate Education and Health Committee 14-0. It will now be voted upon by the full Senate.
- SB1348 passed the Senate 40-0 and the House 98-0.
- 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 the Senate 40-0.
- SB1434 passed the Senate 40-0 and the House 98-0.
- SB1218 – SOL Assessments and Requirements in US and Virginia History
The main impact of this legislation requires students to earn a verified credit in US and Virginia history and that the assessment may not be a performance-based assessment. Other provisions in the current version that passed the Senate are as follows (but the bill could be further amended):
- Requires the Standards of Learning assessments administered to students in grades nine through twelve to include reading, writing, mathematics, biology, and Virginia and U.S. history.
- The bill requires each such Standards of Learning assessment to consist of a Board-developed end-of-course assessment and prohibits such from being performance-based.
- The bill requires each school board to annually certify that it has provided instruction and administered an alternative assessment, consistent with Board guidelines, to students enrolled in a high school course in mathematics, science, or history and social science for which an end-of-course Standards of Learning assessment was administered prior to July 1, 2019 and was subsequently eliminated by the Board.
- The bill requires the Department of Education to perform reviews on such locally administered alternative assessments for high school courses and to report to such review based on the 2019-2020 school year outcomes to the Chairmen of the House Committee on Education and the Senate Committee on Education and Health by December 1, 2020.
- The bill requires the Board, in its graduation requirements, to require students to earn a verified unit of credit in reading, writing, mathematics, science, and Virginia and U.S. History.
- The bill requires each such verified credit to be earned only by (i) the successful completion of a Board-developed end-of-course Standards of Learning assessment; (ii) achievement of a passing score on a Board-approved standardized test administered on a statewide, multistate, or international basis that measures content that incorporates or exceeds the Standards of Learning content in the course for which the verified credit is given; or (iii) achievement of criteria for the receipt of a locally awarded verified credit from the local school board in accordance with criteria established in Board guidelines when the student has not passed the corresponding Standards of Learning assessment.
- The bill authorizes the Board to permit transfer students to graduate with a reduced number of credits.
- The provisions of the bill requiring certain verified credit become effective beginning with first-time ninth grade students in the 2019-2020 school year.
- SB1218 passed the Senate 40-0 and is now being 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) specify available options for students to participate in pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs at comprehensive community colleges concurrent with the pursuit of 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 Finance 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 is now being considered by the Senate Finance Committee.
- SB1590 – Virtual Virginia
Requires that the Virtual Virginia program, 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 Virtual Virginia course 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 is now being considered by the House Appropriations 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 passed the House 95-0.
- SB1502 – Elective Offering of Hebrew Scriptures/Old Testament/New Testament
Requires the Board of Education to authorize local 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, was favorably reported by the House Eduction Committee 13-9, and is now being considered by the House Appropriations Committee.
- HB1881 – Instruction on the Hazards of Nicotine Vapor Products
Requires 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 was favorably reported by the Senate Education and Health Committee 15-0.
- 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. The bill requires such policy to include adequate provisions for enforcement among students, employees, and visitors, including the enumeration of possible sanctions or disciplinary action consistent with state or federal law, and referrals to resources to help staff and students overcome tobacco addiction.
- HB2384 passed the House 83-15 and was favorably reported by the Senate Education and Health Committee 15-0.
- SB1295 passed the Senate 37-1 and the House 85-14.
- HB1930 – Biannual 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 the Senate 40-0.
- 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 40-0 and the Senate 96-0.
- SB1632 passed the Senate 40-0 and will now be considered by the House Courts of Justice Committee.
- These bills are in slightly different forms and a conference committee will negotiate any final differences.
- HB2318 – School Nurses Ability to Administer Naloxone
Adds school nurses and local health department employees that are assigned to a public school 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 the Senate 40-0.
- HB2215 – Student Immunizations; acellular pertussis booster
Extends the time by which an acellular pertussis booster shall be administered from prior to entry into the sixth grade to prior to entry into the seventh grade.
- This bill passed the House 99-0 and the Senate 40-0.
- SB1195 – Children’s Cabinet to Study School-Based Health Centers
Directs the Virginia's Children's Cabinet 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 DMAS and DBHDS, 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; (iii) evaluating options for billing public and private insurance for school-based health services; and (iv) developing a plan for establishing a Virginia affiliate member organization, recognized by the national School-Based Health Alliance, to provide 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 the House 91-6.
- 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.
- HB2037 / SB1397 – Diversifying Teacher Workforce Act
Eliminates 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 was favorably reported by the Senate Education and Health Committee 14-0. It will now be voted upon by the full Senate.
- SB1397 passed the Senate 40-0 and the House 99-0.
- HB2589 / SB1575 – Licensure of Higher Education Instructors for Dual Enrollment Teachers
Grants to the Chancellor of the Virginia Community College System voting privileges as a member of the Advisory Board on Teacher Education and Licensure (the Advisory Board). The bill requires the Advisory Board 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.
- HB2589 bill passed the House 97-0 and was favorably reported by the Senate Education and Health Committee 15-0.
- SB1575 passed the Senate 40-0 and the House 98-0.
- HB2217 / SB1419 – Microcredential Program
Permits 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 passed the House 99-0 and the Senate 40-0.
- SB1419 passed the Senate 40-0 and the House 98-0.
- HB2325 – Private Reprimand of Employees
Requires 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 was favorably reported by the Senate Education and Health Committee 15-0.
School Operations / School Calendar
- HB2222 – Advertising on School Buses
Permits 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 but was defeated in the Senate Education and Health Committee 9-6.
- SB1629 – Reporting Lead Testing and Remediation Plans to VDH
Requires 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 is now being considered by the House Appropriations Committee.
- 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 was reported by the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee 7-5. It will now be voted upon by the full Senate.
- 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 passed the House 81-15 and the Senate 77-19.
- SB1005 passed the Senate 16-6 and the House 80-17.
- HB2192 / SB1331 – Modernization of Public School Buildings
Provides that it is the legislative intent that public school buildings and facilities be designed, constructed, maintained, and operated to generate more electricity than consumed, and allows local school boards to enter into leases with private developers to achieve that goal. The bill also provides that private developers that contract with local school boards to modernize public school buildings and facilities may receive financing from the Virginia Small Business Financing Authority.
- HB2192 passed the House 99-0 and was favorably reported by the Senate Education and Health Committee 13-1. It will now be voted upon by the full Senate.
- SB1331 passed the Senate 39-1 and was favorably reported by the House General Laws Committee 22-0. It will now be voted upon by the full House.
- SB1702 – Public School Assistance Fund for Capital Projects Related to School Roofs
Creates 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 Appropriations Committee.
- HB2168 – Commission on School Innovation, Modernization, and Competitiveness
Establishes 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 Notices
- HB2107 - Parental Review of Anti-Bullying and Suicide Prevention Materials
Requires 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 was favorably reported by the Senate Education and Health Committee 13-1.
- 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 was favorably reported by the Senate Education and Health Committee 15-0. It will now be voted upon by the full Senate.
- 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 was favorably reported by the House Education Committee 20-2. It will now be voted upon by the full House.
- SB1159 – Family Life Education Curriculum to Include Female Genital Mutilation
Requires 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 was favorably reported by the House Eduction Committee 19-3. It will now be voted upon by the full House.
- SB1595 – Inclusion of Sexual Health, Self-Restraint, and Privacy Instruction in IEPs
Requires 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 was favorably reported by the House Education Committee 12-10. It will now be voted upon by the full House.
- SB1574 – Revenue from Gaming
Creates 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 is now being considered by the House Appropriations Committee.
- 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.
- SB1095 was amended into a study and passed the Senate 37-2-1. It is now being considered by the House Appropriations Committee.