‹ Back to List

Legislative Update, March 17

Committee action will pick up as the deadline to move bills out of committee nears.

If you haven't yet, be sure to take action on a bill that is a direct assault on ISTA and our members.

Below are the top education-related bills ISTA is tracking, which saw action in the General Assembly this week. For daily updates from the Statehouse, read our posts on Twitter at @ISTAmembers.

SB 248 (Sen. Raatz - Centerville) Consolidation of School Corporations 
SB 248 would allow the consolidation of administrative functions between school districts and clear debt service levy obligations prior to the consolidation, with debt remaining with the original subunit district. It includes language that would allow the subunits to retain their school name or attendance areas. It would also permit the consolidation to apply to administrative functions only.

ISTA remains concerned that there appear to be fewer protections against eliminating positions that directly impact student learning. 

The bill was amended Thursday to allow a school corporation formed from consolidation to apply for a one-time efficiency grant.

Status: The bill is eligible for a final vote in the House as early as next week.

HB 1003 (Rep. Behning, R - Indianapolis) Student Assessments
This bill would extend the replacement of ISTEP until June 30, 2018, when a new statewide test will be known as Indiana's Learning Evaluation Assessment Readiness Network (ILEARN).

The bill was heard Wednesday in the Senate Education Committee. ISTA raised concerns that the bill continues to base teacher evaluations and school accountability grades on standardized test scores. The bill also does not go far enough to reduce student testing time or provide a meaningful assessment for teachers to improve instructional practices in the classroom or to tailor instruction.

Superintendent Dr. Jennifer McCormick testified for the first time as state superintendent on HB 1003.

Status: The bill is eligible to be heard in the Senate Education Committee for amendment and vote next week.

HB 1004 (Rep. Behning, R - Indianapolis) Pre-K and Voucher Expansion
HB 1004 would expand access to pre-K education, but would create a pipeline of new students into the state's already costly private school voucher program by allowing them to automatically become eligible for a voucher.

During its meeting Wednesday, the Senate Education Committee amended HB 1004 to remove the bill's language and insert the Senate's pre-K bill language. The amended bill passed the committee 8-1.

ISTA had encouraged members and advocates to urge members of the Senate Education Committee to remove the voucher language in HB 1004. ISTA thanks everyone that took part in communicating this important message with committee members. ISTA also thanks Senate Education Committee Chair Sen. Dennis Kruse and members of the committee for listening to constituents' concerns with this bill.

Status: HB 1004 has been assigned to the Senate Appropriations committee for consideration.

HB 1007 (Rep. Cook, R - Cicero) Education Course Access Program 
HB 1007 is an American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) model bill that would create a course-by-course voucher program to enable students to pay for online courses, funded through the allotment of funds attributable to a student's public school corporation.

ISTA opposes any further diversions of funds from local, community public schools to fund these experiments.

The bill was heard in the Senate Education Committee Wednesday where testimony mostly centered around what benefits this program could have for adults seeking a high school diploma, specifically those attempting to enter military service.

Status: The bill is eligible to be heard in the Senate Education Committee for amendment and vote next week.

HB 1384 (Rep. Behning, R - Indianapolis) High School Graduation/Removal of Accountability for Voucher Schools 
This bill originally focused on the calculation of graduation rates, but an amendment was added in committee that would enable D and F private, voucher schools to skirt the existing accountability standards. Under current law, if a private voucher school has two consecutive years as a D or F school, it loses its right to receive vouchers. Under this amendment, the State Board of Education would be allowed to annually grant a waiver or a delay of that accountability sanction as long as, "a majority of students demonstrated academic improvement," from the prior year. 

ISTA opposes this bill as amended.

The bill was heard in the Senate Education Committee Wednesday. Most testimony from witnesses addressed the bill's language on graduation rate calculation, in addition to the voucher accountability language.

Status: The bill is eligible to be heard in the Senate Education Committee for amendment and vote next week.



House Education - Tuesday, March 21, 2017, 8:30 a.m. ET, House Chamber

SB 407 - Education Matters

SB 409 - Collective Bargaining

SB 498 - Teacher Compensation


Senate Pensions and Labor - Wednesday, March 22, 2017, 10:00 a.m. ET, Rm. 233

HB 1463 - Teachers' Defined Contribution Plan

HB 1537 - Pension Thirteenth Checks

Senate Education and Career Development - Wednesday, March 22, 2017, 1:30 p.m. ET, Senate Chamber

HB 1003 - Student Assessments

HB 1007 - Education Course Access Program

HB 1024 - Prayer in Schools

HB 1130 - Protections for Student Journalists

HB 1281 - Various Higher Education Matters

HB 1382 - Charter Schools

HB 1383 - Elementary School Teachers

HB 1384 - Various Education Matters

HB 1386 - Competency Based Education

HB 1449 - Teacher Induction Pilot Program