ISTA Legislative Update
Yesterday was the last day for third reading of bills. In the next several days, House and Senate leaders will decide on how to dispense the bills by:
- Agreeing with changes made and sending them to the governor.
- Working out differences in conference committees.
- Letting bills die.
The legislature now has up to two weeks to complete its work. Please know that things can change very quickly in these last few days. Please watch your email and our blog for updates. Your efforts have made a difference and we need you to continue contacting policymakers as the session winds down. More focused and concerted efforts will be made to resurrect issues, good and bad. Nothing is over until it is over.
HB 1001 Biennial Budget (Rep. Tim Brown, R-Crawfordville)
The Senate version of the school funding formula retained the House overall numbers—proposing a 2.3 percent increase for K-12 education both years of the budget. Check out the Senate’s proposed school formula searchable by home district.
Special Education Funding
Both House and Senate versions offer increases in special education funding and increases to English Learner programs.
Career and Technical Assistance
The House version creates a new career and technical education funding formula in the second year of the biennium.
The Senate version continues the existing formula but provides funding increases for courses leading to potentially moderate to high wages for in demand jobs.
Teacher Bonus Pay
Teacher bonus pay is treated differently in each version.
The House version adds administrators to the recipients and maintains the current appropriation level.
The Senate version maintains teachers as the recipients and increases the appropriation by $10 million each of the next two years (to $40 million). The Senate version also includes language that allows for master’s degree supplements to salary.
Both versions prohibit these monies to be collectively bargained—even though they are clearly wage and salary issues. ISTA continues to oppose their non-bargainability.
Charter Schools and Voucher School Provisions
Both versions remove the K-8 per voucher cap of $4,800 creating equal funding among all voucher grade levels.
The Senate version denied the charter schools’ requests to receive $1,500 more per student and the request from virtual charter schools to receive the same per student funding as traditional public schools, despite charters’ poor record.
The House version provided a charter school subsidy grant program that would allow charter schools up to $1,500 in additional grants and provided virtual charter schools 100 percent funding as traditional public schools.
The Senate version denied voucher school supporters’ request to increase the current state income tax credit available to taxpayers for contributions made to scholarship granting organizations that fund private school tuition to students. The request was to increase the state cap from $7.5 million in lost revenue each year to $12 million each year. Also, it included an automatic multiplier of 120 percent of the prior year cap—providing a seemingly endless stream of private school tuition “scholarships” at the expense of taxpayer revenue available to help all Hoosiers.
Status: Returned to the House with amendments. Conference committee will begin working on differences.
SB 1 Changes Board Composition/Removal of State Superintendent as Chair of State Board of Education (Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle)
This bill allows the State Board of Education (SBOE) to annually elect its own chair which will likely result in the removal of Glenda Ritz as state superintendent. The superintendent remains a member of the SBOE. The composition of the SBOE changes.
Status: Passed third reading in House. The Senate has dissented on accepting all changes made to the bill. It will now go to a conference committee to work out the differences.
HB 1009 (Rep. Bob Behning, R-Indianapolis)
The original SB 566 was inserted into this bill which creates:
- The BEST test and maintains locally developed teacher evaluation.
- Recognizes non-negotiated pay for master’s degrees in education, advanced placement, dual credit or content area that relates.
- Provides for innovation network schools so that they are not limited to just D and F schools.
- Requires IEERB to review contracts for compliance and requires IDOE to establish a program that permits an individual with a STEM degree, and minor in education to obtain a teacher’s license.
HB 1009 was originally the governor’s Freedom to Teach bill that would have created yet another new governance model and would have split the bargaining unit. Freedom to Teach was removed in the Senate but is still eligible to be resurrected since it passed the House.
Status: Passed third reading in the Senate. All provisions in HB 1009 as it passed the House are eligible for reinsertion should a conference committee on this bill be convened.
HB 1483 Various Education Matters (Rep. Jeff Thompson, R-Lizton)
This bill was positively amended in Senate Education Committee.
- Language was removed that would have allowed proportionate representation of non-members on discussion teams.
- School psychologist was added to the list of those defined on a teacher contract.
- Moves the date for informal bargaining to begin prior to July 1 and formal bargaining to begin July 1.
- Students are required to have 180 instructional days and at least the equivalent number of hours, and so this impacts two-hour delays for some schools.
Status: Passed third reading in the Senate. However, all provisions in the House version, including the proportionate membership for discussion teams, are eligible to be reinserted should a conference committee be convened on this bill.
HB 1638 School Transformation Zones/Takeover (Rep. Bob Behning, R-Indianapolis)
This bill was positively amended in Senate Education.
- The vote to close a school by the SBOE must be a two-thirds majority.
- The timeline for takeovers was shortened from six to four years, but “safe harbor” was added so that schools showing progress can be given a suspended year from takeover.
- Makes positive changes to the management of turnaround schools and prevents a school from offering monetary incentives to parents or student to encourage enrollment in a school.
- The "transformation zone" model language was removed altogether.
- Clarifies certain roles of the IDOE and SBOE.
Status: Passed third reading in the Senate. However, all provisions in the House version, including the transformation zone governance model—again fracturing the collective voice of teachers—remain eligible to be reinserted should a conference committee be convened on this bill.
SB 566 Testing/Evaluation/Bonus Pay/Bargaining/Innovative Network Schools
ISTA negotiated the removal of the negative provisions of SB 538 that were amended into SB 566 during the House Education Committee meeting. Substantial opposition by our members encouraged House Republicans to work with ISTA to improve this bill. Most importantly was the pledge from the House not to allow what has been deleted to be reinserted in other bills, nor what has been limited to expand again. ISTA now holds a neutral position on the House’s version of SB 566. The following were agreed upon:
- Deletion of allowing Professional Employee Organizations equal access to employees and equal treatment to which the exclusive representative is entitled.
- Deletion of a state-level, top-down route to challenge the existing exclusive representative.
- Protection of personal teacher data with data shared between IDOE and the attorney general. Data would not become the subject of a public records request.
- Timelines for IEERB to review terms of examining collective bargaining agreements for legal compliance.
Status: Passed third reading in the House. Other provisions passed in the Senate version remain eligible to be reinserted should a conference committee be convened on this bill.