May 8 Legislative Update

Today concludes the second 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
Cowen Institute’s Presentation to the House Education Committee
Senate Education Committee

Federal Update on Stimulus Funding from the ARRA

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 5, the House Committee on Education met to consider seven bills. The following bills were passed out of the committee:

HB 176 (Pope) – This bill allows a student, at least in ninth grade and less than fifteen years old, to participate in the classroom instruction component of driver education and training, as operated by Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE).

HB 461 (Aubert) – This bill requires the dissemination of information concerning consumer credit cards to undergraduate students be restricted by the public postsecondary school. It provides an exception for information concerning consumer credit cards provided to an undergraduate student when such information is a component of the student’s course of study.

HB 752 (Badon) – This bill allows the Recovery School District (RSD) to enroll certain students in a virtual or cyber school or educational program under certain circumstances.

The following bills were voluntarily deferred:

HB 495 (Dixon) – This bill exempts a school that meets specified criteria from being removed from the jurisdiction of the local school board and transferred to the Recovery School District (RSD).

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.

The following bills were involuntarily deferred:

HB 498 (Doerge) – This bill permits a local superintendent of schools to provide services, contractual or otherwise, to the state Department of Education, BESE, or the RSD, or any combination of such entities.

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.

Next week
The House Education Committee will meet on Tuesday, May 12 at 9:00 a.m. in House Committee Room 1.

The committee agenda includes:

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 187 (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 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 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 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 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 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 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 808 (Carter) – This bill provides relative to compensation and benefits for local school board members.

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

HB 839 (Smith) – This bill requires state superintendent to possess specific minimum qualifications provided by law at the time of appointment. It also authorizes BESE to establish by rule minimum qualifications not inconsistent with those required by law.

HB 851 (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.

Cowen Institute Presentation to the House Committee on Education

After the close of the consideration of the bills, the House Committee on Education heard a presentation from two Cowen Institute staff members, Nash Molpus, Associate Director, and Michael Schwam-Baird, Assistant Director of Research. The team presented information to the committee on several issues affecting education in Louisiana, including governance, demographics and enrollment, public school funding, public school performance, the Recovery School District, charter schools, and public school facilities. The purpose of the meeting was to inform legislators on these key issues. Click here to view a copy of this presentation.

Senate Committee on Education

On May 7, the Senate Committee on Education met to consider seven bills. The following bills were heard by the committee:

SB 120 (Erdey) – This bill allows the Livingston Parish School Board to create new school districts that overlap the boundaries of existing school districts.

SB 146 (Duplessis) – This bill requires BESE and local school boards to follow the charter school application review process set out by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers and to provide an independent evaluation of charter school proposals by a qualified third party. Additionally, it allows charter schools to give preference to siblings submitting applications to enroll and removes the prohibition of support and affiliation with religion or religious organizations.

SB 259 (Kostelka) – This bill requires that each major have a corresponding diploma, that the academic major diploma be adopted by BESE and offered by each public school board, that the career major diploma be developed and proposed by each public school board, and that BESE have final approval of each career major and corresponding diploma.

SB 281 (Appel) – This bill establishes the Schepis Museum as a facility in the town of Columbia, parish of Caldwell, under the overall jurisdiction of the Department of State.

SB 316 (Nevers) – This bill provides for a comprehensive approach to improve graduation rates and ensure college and career readiness for high school students.

The following resolutions were considered by the committee:

SCR 9 (Nevers) – This resolution requests city, parish, and other local public school boards to include student representation to such local boards in an advisory, non-voting capacity.

SCR 13 (Broome) – Requests Southern University to establish a plan and recommend policies that support university-private sector partnerships in renewable energy.

Next week
The Senate Education Committee will meet on Thursday, May 14 at 9:00 a.m. in the John J. Hainkel, Jr. Room. The committee agenda will include:

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.

Federal Update on Stimulus Funding from the ARRA

The U.S. Department of Education continues to distribute funds to the states under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). As of May 1, 2009, Louisiana’s cumulative outlay total is $3,790,849.21.

To see the U.S. Department of Education’s full spending report with a state-by-state breakdown, please click here.

To review the U.S. Department of Education’s weekly report, please click here.

Additionally, Louisiana received $4,056,510 through the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems Grant Program to create the Louisiana Education Data Repository System (LEDRS). To view the project abstract for the LEDRS, please click here.

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