February 23, 2016 – Important reminders from Superintendent Hirase:
We are just 18 days away from the end of this year’s session. Legislation should begin to be finalized at a fairly rapid rate. It is extremely important that you contact your legislators soon if you wish to have any impact on any of the bills that are currently being considered.
Filed Bills with education impact that may be of interest to you …
HB110 S2 Election Law Changes – C. Hall
Repeals provisions relating to the Nominating and Recruiting Committee for the State Board. Provides that candidates for the office of State Board member participate in a nonpartisan primary election to narrow the number of candidates to two candidates who participate in the general election. (Otherwise, without a prescribed method, any candidate that signs up will appear on the ballot.) Stipulates methods of declaration of candidacy, qualifications, filing, fees, and form requirements. Permits a county clerk to list a voter as inactive if the county clerk receives a returned voter identification card, determines that there was no clerical error causing the card to be returned, and has no further information to contact the voter.
Comment: This would allow any interested party to run for the state school board. The current system (which was ruled unconstitutional) provided a nominating committee that would forward to the governor. The governor would then select two candidates that would appear on the ballot.
HB164 S1 Educational Testing Amendments – K. Powell, A. Millner
Requires the State Board to establish conditions under which incentives or rewards may be offered to a student for taking an assessment that is federally or state-mandated or is an end of grade level assessment that is part of the state assessment system. An LEA may not penalize a student who is exempted from taking an assessment but may require the student to complete an alternate assignment if the alternate assignment is not more rigorous than the state’s content or end of grade level assessment. Scores on the tests and assessments that are federally or state-mandated or an end of grade level assessment, or the alternate assignments given in their place, may be considered in determining a student’s academic grade for the course. High school graduation or promotion to another grade may not be based solely on a student’s performance on any state or federally-mandated test.
Comment: A similar bill was considered last week in the education standing committee. It was narrowly defeated when a number of very conservative parents testified on the bill. Most of the testimony involved “opt out” provisions that were never part of the modifications in the bill.
HB201 S1 Student Testing Amendments – M. Poulson
Omits and prohibits the use of the end-of-level scores in educator and school and district administrator evaluations. School employee compensation may not be based on end-of-level assessment scores.
HB277 S1 Personalized Learning and Teaching Amendments – J. Knotwell
Creates the Digital Teaching and Learning Grant Program to improve educational outcomes in public schools by effectively incorporating comprehensive digital teaching and learning technology. The bill is patterned after Utah’s Master Plan: Essential Elements for Technology Powered Learning, a plan created by some technology business leaders, state board leaders, school superintendents, and some legislative technology leaders. The bill stipulates an advisory committee, digital readiness assessments, high quality professional learning standards, and LEA plans requirements. LEA plan requirements include measures to ensure the LEA monitors and implements technology with best practices, robust goals for learning outcomes and measurement for those outcomes, and financial statements to demonstrate that the plan can be fully funded through grant and local funds. The State Board shall establish an interactive dashboard available to each LEA that is awarded a grant for the LEA to track and report the LEA’s long-term, intermediate, and direct outcomes in real time for customized reports. Each school shall submit a report to the LEA and each LEA shall submit a report to the Board. The Board shall establish interventions for an LEA that does not make progress on implementation of the plan. The Board shall contract for an annual evaluator of the entire program and work closely with the Utah Education Technology Network (UETN).
Requests: $750,000 one-time from Education Fund to the State Board
$47,500,000 ongoing from Education Fund to State Board
$24,250,000 one-time from Education Fund to State Board
$23,000,000 one-time to UETN and $500,000 ongoing from Education Fund
Coordinates with HB28, Grants for Professional Learning and also adds language related to economic opportunity from GOED.
SB163 Kindergarten Age Exception Amendments – H. Stephenson
Requires the state board to make rules that provide for a school district or charter school to enroll in kindergarten a student who is younger than five years old on September 2 or the year the child seeks to enroll if, 1) the child turns five on or before December 31 of that year, 2) the child’s parent or guardian requests to enroll the child, and 3) the LEA determines that the child is ready for kindergarten based on the child’s score on a kindergarten entry assessment, and other factors related to kindergarten readiness, as determine by the LEA in accordance with state board rules. An LEA may charge a parent or guardian a fee to administer the assessment. If both SB163 and HB42 pass and become law, the intent shall read as follows: “A school district or charter school shall use the kindergarten entry assessment developed by the State Board of Education for the assessment described (herein).” The Senate Committee amendment limits enrollment in 2016-17 to .5% of children enrolled in kindergarten in a school district or charter school or 1% of children enrolled in kindergarten in a school district or charter school each year after the 2016- 17 school year, but allows each school district or charter school to enroll at least one student who is younger than five years old in kindergarten.
SJR4 Proposal to Amend Utah Constitution – Education Funding – J. Dabakis
This joint resolution repeals the 1996 voter decision to include higher education as a recipient of income tax revenue. This bill proposes to amend the Utah Constitution to exclude the higher education system from a provision limiting how revenue from taxes on intangible property or income is to be used, so that the revenue may be used to support the public education system only. The bill must pass each house with at least a two-thirds vote as well as majority support in a public vote. Directs the lieutenant governor to submit this proposed amendment to the voters of the state in the next regular general election. If passed, the amendment shall take effect on January 1, 2018.
Comment: This would allow voters to determine whether to allocate all of the income tax revenue to public education and exclude colleges and universities.
Links for Legislative Information:
Access to the Utah Legislative Website for General Information
Access various types of information about the Utah Legislature, past and present, including a list of legislators and their contact information at the Utah.
Legislative website: www.le.utah.gov
Access to the Weekly Schedule of Meetings
To attend a standing committee meeting of the House or Senate, go to: http://le.utah.gov/~2016/schedule/schedule.htm
Murray Legislators Contact Information:
Rep Johnny Anderson
Rep Bruce Cutler
Senator Gene Davis
Rep Jamie Iwamoto
Rep Carol Spackman Moss
Rep Marie Poulsen
Senator Brian Shiozawa
Rep Mark Wheatley