In This Issue
State Legislative Session Outlook
2016 Legislators
Governor's Proposals
Federal Policy Update
Important Dates
Legislation

Quick Links

January 15, 2016  

The Iowa Afterschool Alliance regularly monitors policy at the federal, state, and local levels to encourage supportive practices and policies for afterschool at all levels. This bi-weekly publication will keep you up-to-date on the activities of the Iowa legislature, as well as federal legislation, throughout the Iowa legislative session from January 11, 2016 until the scheduled adjournment date of April 19, 2016. We hope this communication is beneficial to you as you seek to advocate for and support your program at home. 
State Legislative Session Outlook
With another tight budget, a contentious 2015 session, and an election looming for most legislators, the 2016 legislative session is predicted to be a difficult one. Education funding, Medicaid managed care, and property taxes are among the big issues this year. The target adjournment date is April 19th, when the per-diem expense payments will end.  
2016 Legislators
The 2016 session of the 86th Iowa General Assembly began on Monday, January 12th. Despite two special elections in November and December, the balance of power remains the same as last year, with a Democratic majority in the Senate and a Republican majority in the House of Representatives. Democrats continue to have a narrow majority in the Senate with 26 seats to the Republicans' 24. Republicans increased their majority in the House by one seat, with a total of 57 seats to Democrats' 43.
 
The two new legislators are Representative Charles Holz, a Republican from LeMars in House District 5 (Plymouth and Woodbury counties), and Representative Tom Moore, a Republican from Griswold in House District 21 (Pottwattamie and Cass counties). These districts were previously represented by Chuck Soderberg (R) and Jack Drake (R), respectively.
 
Most importantly, House leadership has changed. Representative Linda Upmeyer (R - Clear Lake) replaced Representative Kraig Paulsen (R - Hiawatha) as Speaker of the House. For a full list of Senate and House leadership, click here.
 
To find bios, contact information, and photos of the legislators, go to the Legislators page on the Iowa Legislature website. Select either "Senators" or "Representatives" on the left-side menu to see a complete list of all members, including links to their information page and district map. You can also filter the list by party and chamber, and sort by name, district, and county. 

Governor's Proposals
On Tuesday, January 12, 2016, Governor Branstad proposed several afterschool- and education-related initiatives during his 2016 Condition of the State address and in his budget recommendations.
 
Governor Branstad is asking the legislature to extend the Secure and Advanced Education (SAVE) fund for 20 years. This program currently supports school infrastructure needs and school district property tax relief and is set to expire on December 31, 2029.  The Governor proposes including this fund as a long-term funding source for statewide water quality efforts as well, and extending the expiration date of the fund to December 31, 2049. The Governor's office estimates that, if extended, $20.7 billion would be made available to local schools for infrastructure. Schools would receive the first $10 million in annual growth in addition to what they are already receiving, and the remaining growth would provide $4.7 billion to fund water quality.
 
Additionally, the Governor proposes several changes in appropriations for the biennial budget.
Economic Development Authority:
  • $1.0 million from the SWJCF for the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Internship Scholarship Program.
Department of Education
  • Elimination of funding for the Iowa Learning Online (ILO) Initiative for FY17. This program received $1.5 million in FY16 appropriations.
  • General Fund appropriation of $3.099 billion for state aid to schools in FY17, estimating a state percent growth rate of 2.45%. The Governor does not make a recommendation for FY18 state aid amount.
Budget Links
Federal Policy Update
On December 10, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This law replaces the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), or No Child Left Behind. The new law gives states a lot of discretion over policy; from accountability measures to how Title programs are run. Some highlights of the new law:
  • A new $1.6 billion block grant consolidates dozens of programs, including some involving physical education, Advanced Placement, school counseling, and education technology.
  • Districts that get more than $30,000 will have to spend at least 20 percent of their funding on at least one activity that helps students become well-rounded, and another 20 percent on at least one activity that helps students be safe and healthy.
  • Some programs live on as separate line items, including the 21st Century Community Learning Centers, as well as Promise Neighborhoods, and a full-service community schools program.
  • States can pick their own accountability goals, both a big long-term goal, and smaller, interim goals. These goals must address: proficiency on tests, English-language proficiency, and graduation rates.
  • For elementary and middle school, states will need to incorporate at least four indicators into their accountability systems. The menu would include three academic indicators: proficiency on state tests, English-language proficiency, plus some other academic factor. States are required to add at least one additional indicator of a very different kind. Possibilities include: student engagement, educator engagement, access to and completion of advanced coursework, postsecondary readiness, school climate/safety, or whatever else the state thinks makes sense.
  • States must identify and intervene in high schools where the graduation rate is 67 percent or less.
  • Schools will have to come up with an evidence-based plan to help particular groups of students who are falling behind, such as minority students or those in special education.
  • In general, ESSA would apply to any competitive federal grants given out after Oct. 1, 2016, so most grants would still be under the NCLB version of the law for the rest of this school year.
  • ESSA enshrines the Preschool Development Grant program in law and focuses it on program coordination, quality, and broadening access to early-childhood education. But the program is housed at the Department of Health and Human Services, jointly administered by the Education Department.
For more information on the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, visit the Education Week website here. For the full bill, visit the federal Department of Education's website here.
 
Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise comments on ESSA: "As I look back on 2015 and ahead to 2016, the most significant development in education for both Iowa and the nation is the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as the Every Student Succeeds Act. This federal legislation maintains a focus on transparency and accountability while returning more authority to states and local school districts to set goals and design interventions that will improve student achievement. The Department is already gearing up to provide important information to school districts on the details of this new law and will work with stakeholders to ensure effective planning and implementation."
 
The Iowa Afterschool Alliance will monitor implementation of the new law closely and advocate for ways that afterschool programs can be a resource for student success across the provisions of the law.

Important Dates
January 11        First Day of Session

January 28       IAA Legislative Reception
                           7:00-9:00 a.m.
                           Legislative Dining Room, State Capitol 

January 28       IAA Afterschool Snack
                           3:00-4:30 p.m.
                           First Floor Rotunda, State Capitol

February 19     First Funnel
Final date for House bills to be reported out of House committees, and Senate bills out of Senate committees, to stay alive.

March 11         Second Funnel
Final date for Senate bills to be reported out of House committees, and House bills out of Senate committees, to stay alive.

April 19           Target Adjournment Date
100th calendar day of the session and the date per-diem expenses will end.
Legislation
Senate File 2017 Makes a standing appropriation to the Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE) fund. Sponsored by Senator Chelgren. Referred to Senate Education Committee and assigned to subcommittee with Dvorsky, Quirmbach, and Zaun.
 
Senate File 2011 Provides for additional weighting for eligible students identified as limited English proficient who are enrolled in the statewide preschool program for four-year-old children. Sponsored by Senator Petersen. Referred to Senate Education Committee and assigned to subcommittee with Mathis, Hart, and Johnson.
 
Senate File 2010 Modifies supplementary weighting for limited English proficient students and including effective date and applicability provisions. Sponsored by Senator Petersen. Referred to Senate Education Committee and assigned to subcommittee with Mathis, Johnson, and Schoenjahn.
 
Senate File 2009 Expands statewide preschool program to include certain five-year-old children. Sponsored by Senator Hart. Referred to Senate Education Committee and assigned to subcommittee with Hart, Kraayenbrink, and Wilhelm.  
 
House File 2034 Relates to the permissible uses of supplemental aid for professional development paid to school districts and AEAs under the state school foundation program. Sponsored by Representative Grassley. Referred to House Education Committee and assigned to subcommittee with Gassman, Dolecheck, and Staed.
 
House File 2009 Would require the Department of Education to distribute a handbook of educational options. Sponsored by Representative Wills. Referred to House Education Committee and assigned to subcommittee with Sieck, Byrnes, and Hanson.
 
House File 2008 Relates to the exercise, by school districts, of any broad and implied powers not inconsistent with the laws of the general assembly, and to the construction of statutes related to school district boards and school districts. Sponsored by Representative Paulsen. Referred to House Education Committee and assigned to subcommittee with Byrnes, Highfill, and Mascher.
 
House Joint Resolution 2002 Proposes an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Iowa to provide home rule for school districts.  Sponsored by Representative Paulsen. Referred to Education and assigned to subcommittee with Byrnes, Highfill, and Steckman. 

This update is a bi-weekly publication intended to share information and resources regarding legislative activities, events, and bills related to workforce issues in Iowa. If you have questions or need more information, please contact Natalie Koerber at nkoerber@sppg.com
or 515-237-0338.