New state education laws effective July 1
This past legislative session, more than 250 laws were passed. With this session being proclaimed an "education session", many dealt with education on some level. We want to make you aware of some of the most pertinent of these new laws that went into effect as of July 1. Should you have a question about these or any other new laws, feel free to contact the ISTA Member Resource Center.
New Laws Effective July 1
The following new education laws will impact Indiana educators
School funding formula (HEA 1001)
The state's funding formula was updated this year to provide a 2.3 percent statewide average increase for FY 2016 and FY 2017. Full-day kindergarten is now fixed into the funding formula instead of funded as a separate grant to schools.
Educator Tax Credit (HEA 1001)
The state's budget includes a new state income tax credit for teachers who spend their own money to pay for classroom supplies currently deductible under federal tax laws. The credit, a direct dollar-for-dollar offset of your state income tax liability, is capped at the lesser amount of what you spend on qualifying supplies or $100 each taxable year. Beginning Jan. 1, 2015, members should retain appropriate receipts for tax purposes.
Defining Dyslexia (HEA 1108)
Dyslexia now has a definition in Indiana law. It also requires that teacher preparation programs must inform teachers about making referrals to the school's multidisciplinary team to determine a student's special needs, which may include learning needs to address dyslexia.
Student Teaching (HEA 1188)
A student teacher must now be under the supervision of a certificated employee who has been rated either "highly effective" or "effective" on the most recent performance evaluation.
School Safety Drills (HEA 1414)
A local school may now substitute either a tornado drill or a manmade occurrence drill for up to two fire drills per semester.
Standardized Testing (SEA 62)
A summer study committee will explore the possibility of replacing ISTEP.
State Board of Ed Governance (SEA 1)
The SBOE will now have additional powers and its own executive director. The appointment of board members has changed to include two members appointed by House and Senate leaders. The current state superintendent remains the SBOE chairperson until December 31, 2016. However, the agenda will be jointly established by the chairperson and the vice-chairperson of the SBOE.
Innovation Network Schools (HEA 1009)
Another new governance model has been created, Innovation Network Schools (INS). Option one allows for at least two teachers plus a principal and/or a superintendent to create a school within a school. Option two allows for a school board to solely make the decision. INS' local bargaining agent can be separate from the existing local association, thereby fracturing the unit.
Remediation (HEA 1637)
The State Board of Education has been charged with developing guidelines to help schools identify students who might need remedial work in college.
High School Diplomas (HEA 1194)
A legislative study committee has been assigned to examine legislative changes necessary for students with disabilities as it relates to these students' appropriate diploma track starting in eighth grade.
School Data (SEA 500)
SEA 500 began as a huge bill filled with as many substantive policy changes as it did deregulation. The bill was pared down. However, a part that remained includes the establishment of a legislative study committee to evaluate the types of data reporting required of schools and their impact.