Day 10: Action in Both Houses on Education Bills
by Jim Puckett on 2/2/2010

As the 2010 session of the General Assembly reached the one-quarter mark, both the House and Senate passed education-related bills on this 10th day.  As predicted, the House approved four education bills:

HB 905 Extends the sunset provision on the capital outlay law to June 30, 2015;

HB 906 Extends for three years the deadline for notification of certificated personnel of the intention to issue contracts to May 15

HB 907 Allows a school to qualify for middle school funding even if one or more of grades 6, 7, or 8 is housed in a separate facility

HB 923 Provides that educators working on a leadership certificate as of April 1, 2009 who finish that program by July 1, 2013 to receive pay on the leadership certificate even in not working in a leadership position

The Senate passed SB 319 which expands the definition of textbook to include computer hardware and technical equipment used to support the use of nonprint content.

Committee action:

The House Non-Civil Judiciary subcommittee gave a do pass to HB 927.  The bill expands the definition of bullying, requires local systems to adopt policies that prohibit bullying in grades K-12, authorizes local boards to transfer a student who has committed bullying offenses to another school, and requires the Department of Education to develop a model policy related to bullying.

The Senate Committee on Education and Youth held hearings on SB 299 which lessens the legal penalty for juveniles who bring weapons other than firearms to school, and SB 332 which requires local districts to report annually to the Department of Education actions taken against students that have brought weapons to school.

The Committee also held a lengthy discussion on potential legislation that would provide flexibility to local school systems during this time of budget difficulties, particularly as related to the impact of such legislation on state standards and SACS accreditation.  Clara Keith and Andrew Broy answered questions from the state perspective and Mark Elgart answered questions from the SACS perspective.  Each indicated that schools would be monitored for "substantive change" in the quality of educational services offered and student achievement results.

Upcoming committee meetings:

Thursday, February 4
1:00 p.m. House Education Committee, 506 CLOB -- SB 84 School governance; HB 908 flexibility in expenditure controls and 20 day program expenditures
1:00 p.m.  Senate Education and Youth Committee, 310 CLOB -- Agenda TBA
1:30 p.m. House Non-Civil Judiciary Committee, 132 Capitol  -- HB 927, anti bullying.