Legislative Update -May 16, 2014

The Senate gave third reading to their budget this week and it now goes back to the House for their consideration.  If the House does not agree with the Senate budget adjustments, then each body will appoint budget conferees and we will begin the conference committee.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

On Tuesday, May 13th, the full House Education Committee met to review two bills.

S.516 (Read to Succeed).The key provisions of S.516 are nearly identical to H.3994.  The amendment addresses the following:

New language combining the House and Senate versions of summer reading camps is used.  Senate language regarding transportation is removed.  Senate language requiring the Read to Succeed Office to assist districts in finding summer camp instructors is included.  Additionally, language that better explains that reading camps are designed primarily for students who are reading below grade level and do not meet an exemption is inserted. There is no cost for the camps for students who are in grades one through three.

House language requiring timely reporting to parents and supplemental instruction is reinserted.  Parents or guardians must be notified in a timely manner that a student will be retained, and may appeal the decision to retain.  A process for notifying and conferencing with parents about the possibility of retention is included.

Language from the original bill regarding add-on endorsements is incorporated.  New language recommended by the EOC stating that individuals who have completed a professional development course such as Reading Recovery, Project Read, the South Carolina Reading Initiative, or another program can submit transcripts to the Office of Educator Licensure to determine if they have the required coursework for the add-on certificate is incorporated.

Early middle and secondary education teachers must take at least one course or three credit hours, or the equivalent professional development hours as determined by the Read to Succeed Office, every five year.  Early childhood and elementary education teaches must earn a literacy teacher add-on endorsement within 10 years of their most recent certification by taking at least two courses or six credit hours, or the professional development hours as determined by the Read to Succeed Office, every five years. House language requiring literacy courses for school psychologists is reinserted.

The Senate codifies the Child Development Education Pilot Program (CDEPP).  The bill provides that the act is subject to the availability of state funding.   The bill received a favorable report and is now on the House floor.

S.160 (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) The bill requires high schools to provide students, beginning with the 2015-2016 school year, hands on instruction in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) at least once as part of the state’s Health and Safety Education Curriculum Standards.   Also included in the bill, school districts must adopt policies providing a waiver for students absent on the day the instruction occurred, a student with a disability whose individualized education program (IEP) indicates that the students is unable to complete all or a portion of the hands-only CPR requirement or a student whose parent or legal guardian completes, in writing, a form approved by the school district opting-out of the hand-only CPR and AED instruction. The bill received a favorable report as amended.

On Wednesday, May 14th, the full House Ways and Means Committee met and reviewed the following bill:

S.940 (Education Capital Improvements Sales and Use Tax) The bill allows a county that does not collect a certain amount in accommodations tax to impose the sales tax so long as no portion of the county area is subject to more than two percent total sales tax.  Currently, the Education Capital Improvements Sales and Use Tax is limited to use by only Horry County and Charleston County school districts.  The bill was amended in the Senate to include 11 additional districts. The House Subcommittee amended it to include multi-district counties.  The bill was amended to include only multi-district counties that have a county board of education. The bill received a favorable report and now goes to the House floor.

 Bills on the House Floor:

S.1219 ((Negotiated salaries)  The joint resolution allow school districts to uniformly negotiate salaries below the school district salary schedule for 2014-15 through the 2019-2020 school year for retired teachers who are not participants in the Teacher and Employee Retention Incentive program. The provisions of this section expire on July 1, 2020. The bill was recalled from House Education and sent to Ways and Means.

S.1194 (Summer Reading Camps) The joint resolution allows districts to meet the requirements of the 2014 summer reading camps by using summer reading program funds in the current budget year to partner with the State Department of Education’s Summer Reader Loss Prevention Project.  The partnership must provide school districts with books to set up free book fairs for summer reading camp-identified students.  The students must be allowed to select eight books based on their reading ability level and interest.  The book fair must be held at the end of the school year with students taking their books home for the summer accompanied with a reading log to be completed by the student.  Also, a school district that uses these funds for the partnership may carry forward any unexpended funds to be used for summer reading camp programs. The joint resolution was ratified and sent to Governor Haley for her signature.

H.3893 (Common Core) The bill received second reading and requires the following:

Standards

Continued implementation of Common Core State Standards in ELA and math in 2014-15

Requires cyclical review of Common Core on or before January 1, 2015 for purpose of adopting SC college and career readiness state standards in 2015-2016. (Review will seek input on additions, changes, etc. to Common Core)

Assessments

  • Removes SC from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and Smarter Balanced Assessment and prevents SC from administering Smarter Balanced Assessment
  • Continues WorkKeys and college and career readiness assessment in grade 11
  • Amends administration of PASS in science and social studies to all students in grades 4 through 8 beginning 2014-15
  • Establishes process for moving forward with state assessment in grades 3 through 8 in ELA and math for all students in grades 3 through 8 and for students in grades 9 and 10, if funds are available:

2014-15           Paper and pencil format

2015-16           Paper and pencil or computer format

2016-17           Computer format for all students

Executive Director of the Budget and Control Board will handle procurement that must be completed by September 30, 2014 for all assessments including the college and career readiness assessment. Neither the EOC nor State Board of Education will approve the assessment. Instead, a special panel composed of the following persons or their designee to provide input:

  • § chairman of the State Board of Education;
  • § chairman of the Education Oversight Committee;
  • § chairman of the Board of Directors for the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce;
  • § chairman of the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education;
  • § chairman of the South Carolina Technical College System Board; and
  • § State Superintendent of Education.

Accountability

  • New Assessments implemented in 2014-15 and 2015-16 cannot be used to determine state ratings. Instead, the report cards issued for 2014-15 and 2015-16 will report on results only.
  • EOC will also recommend one system for state and federal accountability by fall of 2016.

Student Privacy

  • Establishes Data Use and Governance Policy to guarantee student privacy

SENATE

The Senate adopted their budget on Thursday.  The adopted budget should be up on the website for review sometime this weekend. It is my understanding that there are no significant changes for K-12 education.  However, more information will be included next week.  The base student cost for 2014-2015 is $2120.

On Wednesday, May 14th, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee met on the following bill:

H.3024 (Child abuse) The bill defines the reporting requirements for suspected child abuse or neglect and outlines consequences for individuals who fail to comply with the reporting requirements.  The bill received a favorable report as amended.

On Thursday, May 15th, the Senate K-12 Education Subcommittee met to consider the following bills:

H. 3905 (Back to Basics in Education Act of 2013) The bill requires that students are taught cursive writing and memorization of multiplication tables by the end of fifth grade.  The bill was amended to add cursive writing materials to the instructional materials adoption list. The bill received a favorable report.

H.3435 (Comprehensive Health Education Act) The bill greatly alters the comprehensive health education programs implemented by school districts. The bill would require reproductive health instruction to be medically accurate, while changing the grade levels at which this instruction would be offered. Under the bill, students must receive 12.5 hours of health education instruction during the ninth or tenth grade. The State Board of Education would be required to develop a health instruction unit every two years, and districts would be required to use the unit unless the district develops its own health instruction unit annually. Additional changes include the teaching of contraceptive methods in relation to pregnancy and disease prevention, rather than just future family planning. Also, the bill would remove the restriction that male and female students must be taught this information separately. In order to ensure compliance, each district would have to send an annual report to the State Department of Education by June 15. The bill received a favorable report.

H. 4840 (High School Equivalency Diploma Accessibility Act) The bill requires that the State Board of Education to offer an alternative to the GED for individuals looking to receive a high school equivalency diploma. The bill was amended to include language that the test may be computer-based or offered in paper and pencil form. The bill received a favorable report.

H. 4061 (Sexual Abuse and Assault Awareness) The bill requires the State Board of Education to select or develop instructional units in sexual abuse and sexual assault awareness and prevention with separate units appropriate for each age level from four-year old kindergarten through twelfth grade.   The bill received a favorable report.

H. 4914 (Students with a seizure condition) The bill authorizes certain school personnel to administer midazolam intranasally to students with a seizure condition. The bill also provides for immunity from liability with regard to administration of midazolam. The bill received a favorable report.

Senate Floor Actions:

H. 4921 (Negotiated salaries)  The joint resolution allow school districts to uniformly negotiate salaries below the school district salary schedule for the 2014-15 school year for retired teachers who are not participants in the Teacher and Employee Retention Incentive program. The joint resolution was ratified and sent to Governor Haley for her signature.

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