Interestingly, the pace of the session remains slow. The House Education Committee heard two bills late Tuesday afternoon:
SB 159 – The alternate transportation bill allowing local districts to opt in and provide transportation in a vehicle with 8 persons or less but must be clearly marked as a school district transport vehicle. One change is that the rideshare option has been permitted. (Uber and Lyft etc.) (Passed the committee)
SB 59 – This bill addresses local charter schools in several areas. Some good, some not so good. The good: The local charter school supplement gets an increase and healthcare allowance is broadened for charter employees. The bad/unclear: Title I, II, and III through ESSA and IDEA is to be proportionately shared with the local charter school. A facility stipend is to be paid by the local school district to the local charter annually up to $25,000. There was a lot of questions and discussion during the hearing on the bad parts of the bill. Mainly focused on the stipend and facility issues. The bill is being held for language changes. It is likely to reappear this Thursday at the next House Ed meeting.
Wednesday-Saint Patrick’s Day ushers in Legislative Day 34 at the Gold Dome and I anticipate a continuation of the slower pace based on the published schedule. There is always a sense of “on-guard” for us in the K-12 education since SB 47 the Special Needs expansion voucher bill lurks in the shadows of the legislative final push to the 40th day March 31. Please remain alert with us as we continue to stand vigilant against the potential last minute legislative mischief. I want to extend a thank you for everyone’s assistance in reaching out to your local representatives to keep SB 47 off the floor of the House. Keep the gentle pressure on. It appears to be making a difference.