ISTA Government Relations – Bill update for January 21
HB 1210 (Rep. Justin Moed, D-Indianapolis)
A bill that would establish a teacher loan repayment program with the intent of attracting high-quality candidates into the profession. Applicants would be eligible if:
- The candidate graduated from an accredited high school after June 30, 2014
- The candidate was in the highest 20 percent of students in the graduating class
- The candidate received SAT/ACT scores in the top 20th percentile
- The candidate graduated from a 4-year post-secondary institution with at least a 3.5 GPA
- The candidate teaches for 3 consecutive years in a public school in Indiana in STEM, special education or a critical shortage area
The amount would be up to $9,000.
Ideally, the program would be expanded to include subjects other than STEM for critical needs areas. However, the program would help beginning teachers and potentially attract candidates into the profession.
The bill passed 9-0.
HB 1047 (Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour)
ISTA testified in opposition to this bill that would allow a high school student who attends a charter school that is not a member of an athletic association to participate at a public school that is located in the legal settlement of the student.
The bill was amended in committee to include only virtual charter students, which narrows down the pool of students who could participate. Originally, the bill included all charter students.
ISTA expressed several concerns. First, the bill shows charter school favoritism by allowing charter students to pick and choose services cafeteria style. Public school students are not awarded the same luxury to shop around at various schools for services. School choice is frequently brought up, but parents and students knowingly accepted the services offered at a charter school when the enrollment decision was made.
Rep. Kreg Battles (D-Vincennes) echoed these concerns, arguing that this sends the wrong message to students that they can jump around schools.
Additionally, it is unclear who would bear the cost burden for extracurricular activity fees.
The bill could also potentially take away opportunities from existing public school students and lead to recruitment problems.
The bill passed 7-2.
HB 1204 (Rep. Todd Huston, R-Fishers) authored a bill that would allow a health provider, with written consent by the parent or guardian, to provide a school principal with information related to the student’s mental health. The intent is to identify at-risk students and improve school safety.
ISTA recognizes the importance of ensuring school safety. However, assurances must be made that information will remain confidential and that the information may not be abused when determining enrollment decisions. The bill as drafted does allow a superintendent to exclude or excuse a student found mentally or physically unfit for attendance unless a physician, psychologist or psychiatrist certifies that a student is in fact fit to attend.
A school employee would be compensated for time during a regular school day if the employee is required to testify as a witness to a civil or criminal action occurring at school. Additionally, a school, school employee, or school board would not be liable for civil damages as a result of an injury to a child or family members if the parent or guardian failed to notify the school about a student’s mental health issues.
Rep. Huston held the bill for a later vote to address some concerns.