As the legislative session begins to wind down, here is an update on what K-12 education bills have been signed by Governor Ducey.
HB 2026 county school superintendent; services; entities (Boyer)
This law grants County School Superintendents the ability to accept and expend public funds on behalf of nonprofit and public libraries, tribal libraries, private schools, and tribal schools.
HB 2036 substitute teachers; experience; certification (Carter)
This bill enables substitute teachers who have demonstrated primary teaching responsibility in a classroom as defined by the State Board of Education to use that time toward the required capstone experience for standard teaching certification.
HB 2085 schools; emergency epinephrine admin (Carter)
Eliminates the requirement for the Department of Education to include funding for epinephrine auto-injectors in its budget request each year and removes the requirement that schools stock two or more doses of juvenile and adult epinephrine auto-injectors if the state appropriates sufficient funds.
HB 2115 bonds; ballot language; procedures (Mitchell)
This law adds the requirement that a school district submit the proposed ballot language for a school bond election to the County School Superintendent. Prior to this the district only had to submit the language to the director of the Arizona legislative council.
HB 2185 school districts; tax levy; circulation (Norgaard)
This law makes multiple changes to how school districts can tax and alters what the County School Superintendent must include in their annual estimate on the amount of funds required by each district for the ensuing school year.
HB 2460 charter schools; vacant building; equipment (Leach)
This law 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.
HB 2461 zoning regulations; private schools (Leach)
This law prohibits a municipality or a county from adopting or enforcing a land use regulation that requires the property on which a nongovernment primary or secondary school operates to be larger than one acre.
HB 2477 high school mathematics; proficiency; notification (Udall)
This bill prescribes that if the statewide assessment results are available before the start of each school year, that school districts and charter schools must provide notification no later than the first half of the second quarter of the school year to parents of 6th-8th graders who failed to demonstrate proficiency in grade-level mathematics.
HB 2536 dual enrollment; homeschooled children (Bowers)
This bill allows homeschooled students to fully participate in dual enrollment programs and exempts them from the requirement that enrollees be full-time students in a full-time instructional program in a school district.
HB 2561 schools; civics literacy state seal (Boyer)
This bill requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction to establish a State Seal of Civics Literacy Program, which will recognize students who graduate from an Arizona district or charter school with a high level of proficiency in Civics and an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale or the equivalent.
SB 1055 charter schools; rulemaking exemption (Allen S.)
This law exempts the State Board for Charter Schools from rulemaking procedures in the same manner the State Board of Education currently enjoys and conforms language regarding its powers and duties to match that of the State Board of Education.
SB 1057 county school superintendent; report; approval (Burges)
Removes the requirement for county school superintendents to approve school districts’ annual financial reports.
SB 1082 full-day kindergarten; instruction requirements (Allen S)
Outlines requirements for school districts and charter schools that offer more than 2.5 hours of voluntary tuition-free kindergarten instruction per day to children younger than six years old. These programs must meet or exceed academic standards for teaching kindergarten as prescribed by the State Board of Education, be academically meaningful, provide an active learning environment, and incorporate play as an instructional strategy. Parents may choose either half or full day kindergarten instruction.
SB 1083 schools; recess periods (Allen S)
This bill requires school districts and charter schools to provide recess periods as follows:
• At least two recess periods during the school day for students in grades K-3 until August 1, 2019, at which point two recess periods will be provided for grades K-5.
• At least one recess period during the school day for students in half-day kindergarten programs
• Participation in a physical education course and time during a scheduled lunch period may count as recess periods
School districts and charter schools are not required to extend the school day to meet these requirements. Middle schools, high schools, online schools, and schools where the lowest grade taught is fifth grade are exempt from these requirements.
SB 1159 schools; employee leasing firms; wages (Allen S.)
This bill allows employee leasing firms that contract with a school district to withhold wages for up to seven business days during their normal two-week payroll processing cycle and applies to those firms the same payroll policies that districts follow.
SB 1205 unemployment insurance; educational employers; interest (Fann)
This bill establishes that if an individual provides services to multiple educational employers, then unemployment insurance benefits are not payable if there is a contract or reasonable assurance of work between or within terms of service. It also establishes that any interest on a fraud overpayment that has been waived will be treated as though it had been recovered and that fraud overpayments and penalties cannot be waived unless good cause is shown. DES cannot collect an overpayment amount or interest amount that has been waived.
SB 1255 teachers; alternative performance evaluations (Allen S.)
This bill enables a school district to use an alternative performance evaluation cycle for teachers who have been formally evaluated and designated in the highest performance classification for at least three consecutive years by the same school district.
SB 1256 school bus definitions; vans (Allen S.)
This bill enables school districts to include any vehicle that meets the statutory definition of “school bus” in the calculation of daily route mileage.
SB 1423 common school districts; lapsing; procedure (Griffin)
This bill requires that a district have less than 8 students between the ages of 6 and 21 for one school year before the county school superintendent can suspend the district and report the suspension and reasons for it to the district and its board of supervisors at its next meeting. The superintendent may provide the district with additional time to recruit more students. If the district fails to recruit more students, then the board can declare that the district has lapsed.
Governor Ducey’s School Safety Plan
The Legislature could take up Gov. Ducey’s school safety plan next week. Watch this week’s advocacy update for a brief summary. One issue we’ve heard some members pushing for is a so-called “school marshal” program. A couple of other states (like Texas), have some version of this, and it involves storing a firearm and perhaps body armor on the school campus, to be accessed by school staff who have undergone training in how to use it.
ASBA has maintained that arming school staff is not an appropriate method to provide additional security because in general, weapons on campus run contrary to the educational mission. ASBA has been supportive of the ability to increase the number of available school resource officers at a board’s discretion. If you wish to make your feelings on the matter known, click here to contact your legislators.
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