May 15 Legislative Update

Today concludes the third week of the 2009 Regular Legislative Session of the Louisiana Legislature. The Cowen Institute is pleased to share with you updates from the Senate and House Education Committees, including a recap of the bills that came up this week and information on what is scheduled for next week’s meetings. We will also keep you posted on hot issues affecting education that arise during the session.

This week’s update includes information on the following:
House Education Committee
Senate Education Committee

If you would like more information on specific bills, please contact Nash Molpus at nmolpus@tulane.edu.

House Committee on Education

Last week
On May 12, the House Committee on Education met at 9:00 a.m. to consider seven bills. The following bills were passed favorably out of the committee:

HB 187 (P. Smith) – This bill is relative to the creation of Type 3 or Type 4 charter schools by means of converting preexisting public schools. It permits, rather than requires, the approval by members of the faculty and staff of the preexisting school of charter proposals and retains processes and guidelines for obtaining such approvals.

HB 570 (Hoffman) – This bill requires that the governing authority at public elementary and secondary schools establish the policies, procedures, and practices concerning electronic communications by an employee at a school to a student at that school.

HB 590 (Barrow) – This bill requires public school governing authorities to ensure that a child in foster care is allowed to remain enrolled in the same school in which he was enrolled upon entering foster care. It also requires such governing authorities and Department of Social Services (DSS) to provide for transportation if foster care placement is beyond school’s jurisdictional boundaries.

HB 612 (Fannin) – This bill provides for separate high school diplomas for the academic major and the career major. It also provides for required courses in the career major for students in 9th and 10th grades.

HB 686 (Carmody) – This bill requires authorizing entities to engage in an application review process for the creation of a charter school that complies with specified principles and standards. It will also allow for the independent evaluation of a qualified third party.

HB 771 (Hutter) – This bill authorizes Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS) to set a uniform tuition amount for all online courses offered by institutions under its jurisdiction.

HB 821 (S. Carter) – This bill requires BESE to require public school boards to allocate and report certain education funding in certain ways.

Next week
The House Education Committee will meet on Monday, May 18 and Tuesday, May 19 at 9:00 a.m. in House Committee Room 1. The committee agenda includes:

Monday, May 18

HB 246 (McVea) – This bill permits, with voter approval, certain school systems created by the legislature after Jan. 1, 1999, to incur bonded debt that exceeds 10% but does not exceed 50% of the assessed valuation of the taxable property within the geographic boundaries of the school system.

HB 319 (Willmott) – This bill proposes that the governing body of schools with grades 10 and/or 12 shall provide for the students enrolled in those grades at least thirty minutes of age and grade appropriate instruction relative to the state’s safe haven relinquishment law.

HB 576 (Johnson) – This bill authorizes the state superintendent of education, with BESE approval, to set certain rates and fees for the Cecil J. Picard Educational and Recreational Center in Bunkie, Louisiana.

HB 721 (Johnson) – This bill is relative to the funding of special education and related services for students living in private residential facilities who are neither Louisiana residents nor in the permanent custody of a Louisiana state agency.

HB 741 (Badon) – This bill provides relative to the hiring of employees by local public school boards and the disclosure of information of certain instances of sexual misconduct, abuse, and neglect relative thereto.

HB 848 (P. Smith) – This bill provides for certain reductions to the Recovery School District’s (RSD) annual appropriation with regard to certain retiree health care costs of a school system in which one or more of its schools has been transferred to the RSD and for allocations of such amount to the prior school system.

HCR 45 (Willmott) – This resolution requests nonpublic schools with grades ten and twelve to provide students enrolled in such grades at least thirty minutes of classroom instruction pertaining to the Safe Haven Law.

Tuesday, May 19

HB 179 (Stiaes) – This bill prohibits the use of test scores, including LEAP test scores, as the sole determinant of student promotion to the succeeding grade.

HB 209 (Williams) – This bill proposes that LEAP test requirements for 4th and 8th grade students to be promoted to the 5th and 9th grades shall not apply to students with exceptionalities.

HB 308 (LeBas) – This bill serves to allow eligible students in Louisiana nonpublic high schools or home study programs to participate in dual enrollment program at postsecondary education institutions as applicable to a student in a Louisiana public high school.

HB 400 (Williams) – This bill requires public schools to provide at least 60 minutes of physical activity each school day for students in kindergarten through 8th grade and instruction in physical education as a prerequisite to high school graduation.

HB 496 (Harrison) – This bill abolishes BESE, transfers its functions to the state superintendent of education, provides for appointment of superintendent by governor, provides for proposal of the Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) formula by superintendent, and permits legislative amendment of MFP formula.

HB 568 (Hutter) – This bill provides certain guarantees to students with associate degrees who seek to enroll in public postsecondary education institutions that offer baccalaureate degrees.

HB 602 (LeBas) – This bill allows public school students to carry and self-administer certain medications under certain conditions.

HB 616 (Honey) – This bill permits students not initially eligible for Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) award to be eligible for the award based on the student meeting all requirements established for a person who initially receives the program award.

HB 731 (Downs) – This bill is relative to the habitual absence and tardiness of students, and serves to include penalties for violations by parents and legal guardians/custodians of such students.

HB 767 (Williams) – This bill is relative to beverages offered for sale to students in public high schools. It deletes the requirement that the beverages offered for sale to public high school students shall be comprised of no less than 50% for approved beverages.

HB 794 (Tucker) – This bill requires the Board of Regents to establish the Postsecondary Education Review Commission to review all aspects of postsecondary education and report to the legislature.

HB 808 (S. Carter) – This bill provides relative to compensation and benefits for local school board members.

HB 851 (S. Carter) – This bill is relative to the powers, duties, functions, and responsibilities of city, parish, and other local public school boards including prohibitions on the involvement of members of local school boards in certain administrative matters. It provides for the vote required for hiring and removal of a local school superintendent.

Both HB 808 and HB 851 are part of a package of four bills that deal with School Board Reforms. The first two bills in this package, HB 371 and HB 664, were considered by the House & Governmental Affairs Committee on April 29. HB 371 was voluntarily deferred by the author and HB 664 was involuntarily deferred.

A summary of each of these bills can be found by clicking here.

Senate Committee on Education

On May 14, the Senate Committee on Education met at 9:00 a.m. in the John J. Hainkel, Jr. Room to consider four bills. The following bills were passed favorably out of the committee:

SB 90 (Gray-Evans) – This bill creates the Louisiana Statewide Education Facilities Authority within the Department of Education. The purpose of the authority is to provide funding, coordination, assistance, and oversight for the repair, renovation, and construction of public school facilities.

SB 182 (Crowe) – This bill authorizes the Board of Supervisors of Community and Technical Colleges to transfer specified state properties to the St. Tammany Parish School Board.

SB 324 (LaFleur) – This bill authorizes school districts under the Evangeline Parish School Board to increase the sales tax, not to exceed one percent.

The following bill was deferred until next week’s meeting:

SB 223 (Claitor) – This bill provides relative to the removal of students from the classroom for certain inappropriate behavior and for parental notification and involvement.

Next week
The Senate Education Committee will meet on Thursday, May 21 at 9:00 a.m. in the John J. Hainkel, Jr. Room. The committee agenda has not been posted.

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