Legislative Recap: Week 5

This week was the second-to-last week to hear bills in their chamber of origin, so we saw some longer agendas and next week should be even busier. In House Education on Monday, HB 2319 JTED satellite campuses; letter grades (Bowers) passed 10-0. This bill was subject to a strike-everything amendment that prohibits JTEDs from being assigned an A-F letter grade. ASBA supports. HB 2460 charter schools; vacant buildings; equipment (Leach) passed 7-4. This bill specifies that if a school district is selling or leasing a vacant or unused building, they are prohibited from accepting an offer from a potential buyer or lessee that’s less than an offer from a charter or private school. School districts are also prohibited from withdrawing the property from sale solely because a charter or private school is the highest bidder. ASBA is opposed.

The Arizona Department of Education gave their budget presentation in both the House and Senate Appropriations committees, and presented an overview of ADE administrative issues in the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, which you can view here.

In Senate Education on Thursday, we supported three bills that passed. SB 1254 special education; cost study (S. Allen) passed 7-0. This bill requires the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) to conduct an audit and cost study of special education programs. SB 1291 schools; pupil assessment data (Brophy McGee) passed 7-0. This bill requires the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) to fulfill a local education agency’s (LEA) request for a raw data file of assessment data and allows LEAs to share the assessment data with the LEA’s governing body. It also requires, by the end of this year, that ADE issues an RFP for the purchase of a new statewide assessment exam. SB 1411 schools; annual achievement profiles (S. Allen) passed 7-0. This bill modifies annual achievement profiles to include an educational dashboard. The dashboard assigns A-F letter grades on multiple academic and educational performance indicators, which then go towards providing an overall letter grade.

Bills to Watch for Next Week
We have very full agendas next week! Here are a few important bills to watch for. In the House, we’ll hear HB 2489 and HB 2502, which both deal with child abuse prevention. We’ll also hear HB 2377 from Appropriations this week and HB 2373, which both offer support to teachers for classroom supplies.

In House Education Appropriations, there will be a discussion on Proposition 301. In the Senate Education committee, we have a few strike-everything amendments and several bills about academic distinctions, including for civics and personal finance.

Federal Advocacy Institute
On Tuesday, following the conclusion of NSBA’s federal advocacy institute, ASBA’s officers and several other board members from Tolleson Union, Mesa USD, and Cartwright ESD made their way to Capitol Hill in DC to lobby for federal priorities of importance to Arizona districts.

ASBA was able to visit all Congressional offices but one (Sen. Flake), and met with members and staff to emphasize the importance of specific programs and policies to Arizona, including as Perkins CTE funding, raising the federal IDEA amount to its full share of 40%, preserving Impact Aid, and reauthorizing the Secure Rural Schools Act. A copy of the handout provided to Congress can be viewed here.

The goal of this visit is to impress on Arizona’s delegation how their actions can make a difference for districts, and establish ASBA members as a resource for information on what is happening in their schools back home.

AZ Schools Now Rally

On February 14 at 4pm, please join us for the L.O.V.E. rally! AZ Schools Now is organizing events at the Capitol in Phoenix, as well as events in Tucson and Prescott. The rally falls during School Choice Week, so please consider coming out to tell your legislators how much you love choosing public education! Click here for more information on each of the events.